Navicular disease is a broad term referring to any chronic disease which makes a horse’s foot hurt and swell to such an extent that it no longer works normally. Navicular disease is largely not understood, even by the most competent veterinarians. Many experts believe it is caused by the physical stress the horse goes through when they are ridden by people for extended periods. This riding puts an extra weight on the horse’s feet, which results in a lot of damage and pain to the navicular bones, hence the name navicular disease. It might also be possible that horses with certain nutrient deficiencies like calcium might be more susceptible to the disease.
It is incurable and many people with horses that suffer this disease become very frustrated. Traditionally, horses with navicular disease were killed as nothing could be done to end their suffering. These days however, a lot of research has gone into the disease and medical experts all over the world have formulated medicines to help a hose cope with it. They have also come up with practices that horse owners can take up to help the navicular horses live long with the disease. If your horse suffers from navicular disease, there is no need to panic. This article will discuss some steps you can take to keep your horse comfortable even if the disease has no cure.
The first step to take is to stop riding the horse completely. Horses with navicular disease suffer a lot of pain on their feet and putting extra weight on them does not help at all. It is what probably got the horse sick in the first place. Many people are very exploitative towards their horses. They put a lot of pressure and stress on the animal by riding it everyday. Horses travel at tremendous speeds which is a good thing however, it puts a lot of stress on their feet. Once a horse develops navicular disease, stop riding it immediately. It might help to take it for short walks if the condition is still mild. Taking corrective steps in the early stages of the disease could help save the horse’s life.
Another thing you should do is contact a veterinarian to come an examine the horse. As we discussed earlier, there are many variations of the navicular disease and each needs to be addressed differently. A veterinarian can examine the horse’s foot and establish the general cause of the disease and what type it is. This will help the vet choose the most appropriate drugs and therapy that the navicular horses can be taken through. The vet might recommend pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Lastly, put a horseshoe on the foot of the horse. Horse shoes have been known to help horses cope with the disease very well. A horseshoe reduces the strain the horse’s hoof has to undergo and helps ease the pain. It also reduces the chances of hoof cracks and infections which might worsen the situation.
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