Help! My horse has Navicular!

by Yvonne Welz ©2006

Your horse has just been diagnosed with navicular. What can you do?

Note: Please consult with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian should always be part of your horse's hoof care program, and should be working cooperatively with your hoofcare professional.

First, know that navicular is simply a symptom that your horse has hooves that are not functioning correctly -- the way that nature intended them to function. Many horses previously diagnosed with navicular have undergone a full hoof transformation to healthy bare hooves, and all their navicular pain has gone away!

Creating a functional hoof form is the key to relieving navicular symptoms. Often the cause of heel pain is simply overgrown bars. Removing that excess bar material can sometimes be enough to create immediate relief from heel pain, and there are quite a few dramatic stories where one trim "fixed" a navicular horse. Some horses with navicular also have severely deformed and contracted hooves, so they may take a few years to completely recover. Most horses with navicular pain will respond quite dramatically to a simple barefoot trim that lowers the heels, puts the frogs onto the ground, shortens the bars so they are not pinching or contacting the ground upon weightbearing, and backs up the breakover at the toe.

Click here to read Dr. Robert Bowker's recommendations for a barefoot trim that can help navicular horses.

Click here to read Arizona veterinarian Dr. Tom Teskey's information about navicular.

Click here for barefoot trimming instructions on Marjorie Smith's website, Barefoot for Soundness.

Read more about navicular, with lots of hoof and bar photos, on Gretchen Fathauer's web page, Treating NAVICULAR Syndrome without Horseshoes, :

©2006 by The Horse's Hoof. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced by any means whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher and/or authors. The information contained within these articles is intended for educational purposes only, and not for diagnosing or medicinally prescribing in any way. Readers are cautioned to seek expert advice from a qualified health professional before pursuing any form of treatment on their animals. Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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