Navicular syndrome of the horse: is there a cure?

Horse's legs in the dust

Navicular syndrome is a disease that usually affects the horse’s forelimbs and derives from inflammation (or degeneration) of the navicular bone, a bone inside the hoof, and surrounding tissues.
For years, the navicular disease was thought to affect only the navicular bone. However, over time, Veterinarians started talking about a navicular syndrome, because it is a much more complex condition that may also involve soft tissue, especially the DDF tendon as well as the small ligaments on the navicular side.

A manifest symptom is lameness

Navicular syndrome can manifest itself through lameness, often characterized by alternating support from one limb to the other (if it affects both limbs) and brief supports mainly using the tip of the hoof. Lameness can be present both on hard and soft ground.

Although lameness is an obvious symptom, the important thing is first of all having the right diagnosis which must be done by a Veterinarian and then set the right treatment.

What causes navicular syndrome?

The various factors that can lead to navicular syndrome include genetic causes as a breed predisposition and limb conformation. Therefore, not only adult horses are subject to navicular syndrome.

Moreover, presence of “contributory factors” connected to horse’s day-to-day life, that can worsen the existing symptoms:

  • too much time in the box. The blood circulation (and microcirculation) in the hoof decreases when the horse is stationary and the pressure is constant on the navicular (the pressure is intermittent when in movement);
  • overweight;
  • too intense work;
  • incorrect trimming and shoeing;
  • concussion, i.e. repeatedly hitting the hoof on the ground;
  • ischemia and thrombosis.

Is there a cure for navicular syndrome?

Unfortunately, there is no final cure. Fortunately, there are medicines that help to remove and soothe the most acute inflammatory phase and manage the chronic pain, in accordance to the diagnosis and treatment established by the Veterinarian.

Navicular syndrome, however, is not always invalidating. There are several stages.
If the horse is taken care of and the condition is not so severe, the horse can continue with its normal activities, albeit trying to monitor some of the aspects of its work and day-to-day routine.

Here below some tips on what the horse’s owner can do to prevent the horse, in the chronic phase, from getting worse and ending up lame:

  • daily movement, avoid too much time in the box;
  • weight management and a balanced diet (a good nutrition benefits the horse’s foot);
  • warm up at pacing speed;
  • slowing down of the pace and workload of the animal and suitability of the terrain used for the horse;
  • correct trimming and shoeing.

Equibar Hemofluid, all-natural nutrition bar

When it comes to the management of navicular syndrome, and therefore the management of inflammation of the navicular bone and surrounding tissues, it is important to remember the importance of the proper functioning of the microcirculation in the horse’s hoof.

So it’s important the horse spends more time outside. Moreover can be useful to administer Equibar Hemofluid to the horse in order to promote the optimal functioning of the microcirculation and improved inflow and supply of blood to limbs and hoofs. Easy to administer thanks to its bar-shape, it’s a complementary feed prepared using medicinal herbs with effective antioxidant, blood fluidity and draining properties, which guarantee a gradual positive action on the animal’s microcirculatory system without placing strain on other organs, such as the liver.

Did you like our article? Read also the one concerning osteoarthritis of the horse.


Article made for information purposes, based on our experience. Not to be used as a substitute for the opinion of a Veterinarian.