Myhorse.com - Full Article
Story by Frank Santos, DVM
"Navicular disease" is a very common and dreaded syndrome in the horse. It may be the most commonly diagnosed lameness in Western performance horses. The diagnosis and treatment of this problem has been controversial historically.
The diagnosis of navicular disease has traditionally been based on clinical observation, localizing the source of pain with diagnostic nerve blocks, and radiograph (X-ray) interpretation of the navicular bone. Through advanced imaging techniques, mainly MRI, the soft tissue structures in the navicular area have been shown to play a significant role in this syndrome.
There often are other sources of pain causing lameness in this area than just an affected navicular bone. In a recent column, I said colic was not a specific diagnosis, but just a term describing abdominal pain. I think we (veterinarians and horse owners) often use the singular term "navicular disease" for what is really a complex problem. The realization of the complexity of the problem seems to me to explain the differences we often encounter in the response to treatment. If there can be multiple causes for the symptoms, how can there be any one way to treat it?...
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