Caudal Heel Pain & Navicular Syndrome

Thinking more broadly about caudal heel pain, rather than focusing solely on the navicular bone, can help the hoof-care team develop an appropriate treatment

When it comes to tackling caudal heel pain and navicular syndrome concerns, both farriers and vets got an in-depth lesson at a recent Iowa State University clinic on what the distinct differences can mean when treating horses with this ailment.

Geared toward both farriers and veterinarians, Kevin Kersh, DVM, of the Lloyd Veterinary Center at Iowa State, shared his way of viewing heel pain in horses as well as outlining its origin.

For farriers, hearing the diagnosis of navicular disease is often just as devastating for us as it is for our clients. There never seems to be a happy ending. We might help some improvement, and sometimes we even achieve a drastic improvement, but it’s always temporary. We seldom get to be the hero in the end.

Know The Anatomy

Before you jump for joy, I’m going to tell you we do not have the magic cure for navicular syndrome. However, we can better diagnose and treat it once we understand the structures involved. The point Kersh makes is that there are so many structures involved or affected by caudal heel pain that farriers and veterinarians can’t use a simple generic approach to treating caudal heel pain.

When it comes to shoeing these horses, there’s a whole bag of tricks we can choose from. The trick that works without causing unintended consequences to otherwise healthy areas of the foot or soft tissue is the right trick.

FARRIER TAKEAWAYS

Good foot care and vet treatments can prolong successful treatment of…

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