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Nerving the Event Horse

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  • Nerving the Event Horse

    I've got a friend whose vet is recommending that they nerve her daughters event horse (lower level event horse) for navicular issues. The vet told them that 6 horses ran this past rolex that were nerved, but I've never heard of any that were. What is everybody elses thoughts, concerns, ideas, etc. on it??
    www.MelissaMillerEventing.com

  • #2
    I haven't either. Have they done an MRI? Do they know exactly what is wrong?
    SportHorseRiders.com
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    *T3DE 2010 Pact*

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      From what I've been told, the horse had navicular change in x-rays. He's been chronically lame in his front end, they have done all of the corrective shoeing as well. And he just recently came up with suspensory issues that they saw on an ultrasound. But I don't think they have done an MRI.
      www.MelissaMillerEventing.com

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      • #4
        What! And who is this vet that he would know who has been nerved?

        Somehow I doubt that many people would want to run a nerved, navicular horse at a 4*. Is is even allowed in the rules?
        HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
        www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog

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        • #5
          I had always heard that it was a huge no-no to jump nerved horses (for safety reasons I thought they were mostly flatwork in a nice even ring after that).

          Maybe the procedure has advanced?

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            That is what my thoughts were. But I thought maybe I was uneducated in the whole nerving process now, if it has advanced. So thought I would see what everybody elses ideas were.
            www.MelissaMillerEventing.com

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            • #7
              MRIs are expensive, so many people don't have the option to do them. But, according to this article, MRIs give a lot more information that can indicate how a case should be treated:
              In earlier years, a diagnosis of navicular disease was often considered career-ending for a horse. Chronic lameness was typical, in spite of therapeutic shoeing, medication, etc., and sometimes the only option to help the horse travel sound was a neurectomy (the cutting of nerves leading to the foot), which meant he would no longer feel pain (or anything else) in the foot. Today we realize that what we earlier called navicular disease (the horse showing palmar--toward the back of the foot--foot pain, positive to hoof testers over the navicular area, and going sound after a posterior digital nerve block) includes a host of different problems within the foot, some of which are unrelated to the navicular bone and/or bursa (the fluid-filled sac that cushions the navicular bone against the pressure of the deep digital flexor tendon). The term navicular syndrome or palmar foot pain is now used instead.
              Some cases of navicular syndrome have a good prognosis for healing and full recovery, if given time and proper treatment.
              SportHorseRiders.com
              Taco Blog
              *T3DE 2010 Pact*

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              • #8
                Originally posted by HorsesinHaiti View Post
                What! And who is this vet that he would know who has been nerved?

                Somehow I doubt that many people would want to run a nerved, navicular horse at a 4*. Is is even allowed in the rules?

                Oh you would be suprised. There are definitely some top level horses out there (and some very well known Rolex horses as a matter of fact ) that have been low nerved (back half of the foot only).
                http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

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                • #9
                  I would never jump a horse that was nerved. But I did know a guy that did that and played polo on the mare. I always thought you could not compete a nerved horse.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Oh you would be surprised. There are definitely some top level horses out there (and some very well known Rolex horses as a matter of fact ) that have been low nerved (back half of the foot only).

                    Ditto above statement. have been for years.
                    Shop online at
                    www.KoperEquine.com
                    http://sweetolivefarm.com/services.php

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                    • #11
                      it is against FEI rules i believe but it is very difficult to prove short of sticking needles in horses feet and it certainly goes on.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Navicular is a degenerative problem, nerving will take the pain away but the horse wills till deteriorate, especially if its being jumped and galloped. So, you gain a couple years competing, but the horse likely loses some years of its life as competing will only cause the horse to deteriorate faster. Seems incredibly irresponsible and selfish to me.

                        The horse has navicular and suspensory issues, when are these people going to realize its not designed for its job and retire the poor thing?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There was a horse at my barn in high school that was nerved. He was raced after that, if I remember correctly (not saying that's the best thing to do). He would also jump the four foot paddock fences routinely (he really believed that whole 'grass is greener on the other side' adage).

                          He became a school horse and we were NOT allowed to jump him more than an 18" crossrail. It did not have as much to do with repeated concussion on the horse's feet and a lot to do with the fact that the horse cannot feel his feet. There was concern for the horse, and if he were not nerved he may have been jumped more, with proper care, but my trainer at the time would not risk and accident due to the horse not realizing where his feet were. That is very likely in jumping. Tripping is much more likely as well as not quite knowing where his feet are over a jump until to late.

                          I would NEVER do it over any solid jump more than a log on the ground.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My guy was just recently diagnosed with navicular (as well as sidebone, and pedal osteitis ). The very well respected vet from Southern Pines asked me what I wanted the horse's career to be, and I told him I just wanted him to be able to compete at novice and he suggested we do a partial neurectomy. My horse has not been in work for over a year because of the lameness and is not even 9 years old- shoeing changes and NSAIDS haven't made him comfortable so I'm seriously considering it. He is uncomfortable just walking around in the pasture so if it makes his quality of life better than I'm all for it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The extent of the nerving makes a very big difference in what the horse can do after the procedure. Thus why there are some who can go around Rolex and some who can't walk across the pasture without tripping over their own feet. Finding out at what point exactly the vet intends to nerve this horse is definitely important in determining what he may be capable of doing in the future.

                              Also, navicular syndrome is not necessarily degenerative. As explained in an earlier post, navicular syndrome just means that the horse has pain in a specific part of his foot and that the pain goes away when the horse is blocked there. If the problem is because his navicular bone is degenerating? Then yes, likely to progress over time and become worse. However, there are also instances in which navicular syndrome is stemming from other underlying issues that may not get progressively worse with time if they are handled correctly.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Without going into too much detail, a horse very close to me was nerved a couple of years ago. He had suffered on and off for a few years with front end issues and EVERYTHING you could do he had done (special shoeing, coffin injections, navicular bursa injections, Tildren, etc, etc, etc). Every diagnostic tool available was used on him to monitor the extent of his issues (including MRI). The horse is much loved and is also a savage beast when not in work and charming when he is (this was actually a big factor in the decision. If he didn't make it so apparent that he liked to have a job, he might have been retired). When it became apparent the horse was not going to stay comfortable with less invasive procedures, it was decided (after much discussion with the vets, much debate, much reseach, etc) to nerve him. He has been happily jumping around training level and his vets feel that if he wants to do some prelim he should be able to. He is still monitored carefully with regular visits with the vets and careful shoeing (his angles have to be carefully dealt with and he MUST have pads).

                                The procedure has come VERY far. There was a point when the idea of jumping a nerved horse was just scary. However, they are able to be so accurate with what they do now that it is quite safe (this horse DEFINITELY can feel his legs and feet). The biggest worry is them stepping on something because they won't necessarily feel pain in their soles (hence, the pads).

                                All that being said, nerving should be a last ditch effort. Every avenue should be exhausted, in my book. The very best vets you can use should be consulted, and you need to be VERY sure what your horses issues are. A BIG thing that was stressed prior to this horse's surgery was that he could have NO soft tissue issues in his feet (lesions or tears or inflammation of things like DDFT etc). They really did not want to do it if those types of things were in a compromised state, since having a big issue with those can be very bad. I think the procedure is VERY useful and worth its weight in gold, but I really, really think it needs to be after everything else you can possibly do has been tried. There's a lot of stuff to do to before you get to that point.
                                Amanda

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Why are you not trying Isoxsuprine? It's an old drug, but was extremly effective for a horse I used for CTR and endurance. We caught it in the early stages, changed her shoeing and did a treatment of isox. She competed for years and very succesfully.
                                  RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

                                  "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."

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                                  • #18
                                    That is an excellent and accurate post, yellowbritches.
                                    Hindsight bad, foresight good.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      You need to give him stall rest and deal with the suspensory first.
                                      The suspensory runs across the navicular, the pain is probably not solely the navic.
                                      If they nerve him and don't treat the suspensory they will in all likely hood blow that ligament, as he won't feel the need to protect the leg, hence traveling lame.
                                      In all reality how many performance horse don't x-ray bad.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Thanks Amanda! That approach to nerving makes complete sense. Glad to see the technique has advanced.
                                        HAS provides hospital care to 340,000 people in Haiti's Artibonite Valley 24/7/365/earthquake/cholera/whatever.
                                        www.hashaiti.org blog:http://hashaiti.org/blog

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