Navicular in Horses

Navicular syndrome in horses is a bit of an unclear issue which has vets disagreeing at times. Unfortunately when horse owners receive this diagnosis they are given little hope for recovery. Luckily Mother Nature has provided us with some wonderful herbs to help ease the symptoms.

Navicular in horses may initially present itself as intermittent lameness and your horse may stumble a lot when trotting. Diagnosis can be achieved with x-rays. The navicular bone is a small bone in the foot of the horse and it is part of the bony skeleton of the leg, It is held in place by ligaments.

Foot problems account for 90% of all lameness and it is extremely important to take good care of your horse’s feet. Navicular Syndrome can be caused by poor shoeing and weak circulation, correction of both is critical to the improvement of this condition.

When a horse is lame and the foot is thought to be the issue, it is important to eliminate other possible causes. A stone bruise or a crack in the coffin bone could be to blame and an x-ray will usually show the problem.

There are a few issues which may mean your horse has a stronger predisposition to navicular syndrome. Some breeds are more likely to get it and the size of the foot may have a bearing. The smaller the foot on a large horse, the more likelihood of problems. Also the type of activity the horse is involved in. Barrel racing can be particularly stressful on the foot.

If your horse is diagnosed with navicular, there are some very useful herbs you can easily feed. Inflammation is a particular problem so herbs such as Devil’s Claw are great for this. Devil’s Claw will help reduce inflammation and pain without giving a false impression to the horse so he won’t over exert himself.

Devil’s Claw is native to Africa. The root is used for arthritis as it relieves rheumatism and other painful joint disorders. It is also considered a painkiller and has proven to be comparable to cortisone and phenybutazone or bute which is commonly used in this situation. Do not give to mares in foal as it may induce contractions and do not use when gastric ulcers are present.

Circulation is another important issue with navicular and Hawthorn is a great herb for strengthening the heart muscle and increasing the circulation. In Germany Hawthorn is used extensively for heart problems as it is so effective in increasing blood circulation. It acts as a tonic, which widens the blood vessels and reduces high blood pressure.

Hawthorn is one of the oldest traditional medicines used for animals. It is said to be good luck and horses will happily eat it for self- medication if given free access to it. It is said to be one of the best heart tonics available and is beneficial on the circulatory system and blood pressure.

Buckwheat is another very effective herbs for this condition as it strengthens the vessels without affecting blood pressure. Buckwheat is rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium and trace elements.

Herbs that can be of benefit will work by helping the circulation and by reducing the inflammation and pain. It is also important to keep your horse moving which increases circulation and creates good blood flow to the foot.

As with all herbal remedies, concentrating on the whole body will allow your horse to maintain an improved standard of health.