Navicular Syndrome is a term used to describe pain in the region of the distal sesamoid bone.
This ongoing trauma will have an inflammatory process on the soft tissue and this will modify the functioning of the foot during the horse moving or just standing. This inflammatory process places extreme pressure on the foot during movement and the navicular bone and deep flexor tendon become extremely sore and the horse changes it weight on the limb involved. This is usually due to bruising in this area internally and x-rays do not tend to show these signs, therefore it is hard to diagnose, and is given the term Navicular Syndrome.
However if not treated correctly and early, it could develop into Navicular Disease where the wearing surface of the navicular bone shows signs of the disease.
In the beginning the animal will start to show signs of behavioural changes and of not coping with the work load and you could notice things like: them not moving freely – reluctance to take weight on the involved limb – holding the involved limb or foot off the ground – having good days and other days when they cannot cope – swelling in the lower limb or signs that could be mistaken for an abscess.
What Can You Do?
View this syndrome as an early warning sign of imbalance in the equine and if not addressed correctly then long term problems will manifest throughout the horse's body. Have the foot x-rayed to rule out bone issues and have a competent consultant check the orthopaedic balance of the animal.
Please contact your consultant if you have any additional questions. Download Factsheet