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ISO advice... broken navicular bone on nerved horse with arthritis.

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  • ISO advice... broken navicular bone on nerved horse with arthritis.

    Well the title basically covers it. This is the short version of this story as follows. Got this grade horse about a year ago (Winter 2018), did NOT do a vet PPE (which I am strongly regretting!). Horse is called Boomerang, grade paint gelding approx. 14 years old. When I got him I started working him 5 days a week and a few weeks after hard work he was sore on left front. Had a slight head bob at the trot. Thought it was an abscess, was given time off. Lameness came and went in summer and was really not noticeable, everyone at barn thought I was crazy. Later in summer (2018) brought him to a vet who thought he had navicular syndrome, but she did not want to take xrays. She did do a nerve block with lidocaine to come to this conclusion. Farrier that the vet recommended refused to shoe as a navicular horse without xrays, he didn't think horse looked lame enough and I was advised to ride him until he is noticeably lame and then to go from there. At this point with this horse I was upset that I had bought him and tried to sell him honestly. I only had sketchy people contact me and I figured he would be better dead than with sketchy people. My horse and I were moving to a bigger city in the spring so I waited over the winter to get better opinions. Now Summer 2019 the horse got settled in the new barn, had a vet out who did a lameness exam and Boom passed with flying colors (not lame). Vet offered xrays and I said yes, really wanted to get to the bottom of this. Vet found a fractured (in two places) navicular bone on front left hoof! Vet said this horse had been nerved before I got him, otherwise this fractured bone would be so painful he would be lame at a walk. According to the xray there are other structures that suffered from the break, and he developed arthritis and enthesophytes (bone response to stress). This is why he is sound from the fracture, but not hard work.

    I will state this horse and I have had a love-hate relationship from the beginning. Really just bought him because he was the first horse in my price range that did not buck in trial (NOT a good way to buy a horse!!). (He was my come-back horse after the passing of my first & heart horse). The only way this dummy would be safe for more beginner riders is if he is worked 5 days a week. Maybe 4 days.

    My question to you all is this: Do you think euthanasia is the most humane option? At this time I am thinking I will let him live out the summer and then put down in fall or donate to necropsy program.
    I am not in a position to own two horses (and really want to be riding), he should not be used in a therapy program (due to unruliness from lack of work), if he gets worked too hard his arthritis will flare up and will be sore. The only other option I can think of would be if someone just wants a pasture pet.* Something else the vet said was if and when the nerve grows back he will be in a lot of pain from the broken navicular bone. I have read online if you nerve a horse a second time (assuming he is on his first time) it is not as effective.

    *Yes, I am aware of kill buyers, and also that he is better off euthanized than in a crappy pasture pet home. If I were to pursue this option I would ask for references of good care.

    **Location is Midwest of United States.

  • #2
    Have you tried shoes now you have the X rays? He might be a lot more comfortable with stability.

    I personally have zero problems with you euthanizing a horse that can't stay sound in work, but I'd just experiment a little with shoes/pads first to see if you can get him to work for you.

    I would also see how he does with some daily bute.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Just had the xrays done two days ago, have not tried shoes/pads yet. Something to keep in mind, thanks!

      Comment


      • #4
        What an awful position to be in, I am so sorry!

        Is there any work that doesn't make him terribly sore? Could he fit into a trail riding program some where?

        It's hard to find the right pasture puff situation. That's what I would try to do.... He is sound at the walk... for now...

        PTS is going to be the option that closes all loose ends. You could also look at donating him to science. Certainly you can easily dump money into him for second opinions and potential treatment but there's likely not a whole lot that can be done, and that's not the option for you.

        Comment


        • #5
          I would 100% euthanize this horse. He's got a grievous injury than he can't really feel. Pasture life for a nerved horse is only appropriate with special attention...since they can't feel part of their foot, it's important to look at them daily. He's not a "toss out and let him be a lawnmower" horse with this condition, even IF you were able to find that kind of home.

          It sounds like he's had little kindness before landing with you. Giving him a bucket of carrots on a sunny day and letting him go is the best ending for him at this point ♥️

          Comment


          • #6
            Wholeheartedly agree with Simkie. It can be tricky finding the right shoeing setup for a horse with "just" navicular syndrome, never mind a broken navicular bone. Hugs to you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Endgame situation, IMO.
              www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by allthecritters View Post
                Just had the xrays done two days ago, have not tried shoes/pads yet. Something to keep in mind, thanks!
                I owned and showed a horse with a broken front navicular. With correct shoes and pads and injections, she showed for years at the 3'6" without issue. Never nerve blocked her. Just stayed really tuned into how she felt and always had her checked regularly by the vet to be sure she was ok.

                Comment


                • #9
                  But this horse hasn’t been nerve blocked, she’s been nerved. Which means she can’t feel that foot. I would not ride, let alone jump, a horse like this. If she is under your care, you could try special shoes, but honestly, I wouldn’t have any problem euthanizing her.
                  We had one that was nerved and she suffered a catastrophic injury to that foot. Catching and euthanizing her was very traumatic.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Agree with Simkie. Euthanasia is NOT inhumane but pain is. Very sorry for your situation.
                    \"If you are going through hell, keep going.\" ~Churchill~

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      IMO, euthanasia is the most humane option for this horse.
                      "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                      ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Agreed - euthanasia is the best option for this horse.
                        Custom tack racks!
                        www.mmeqcenter.com/tacklove.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by allthecritters View Post
                          grade paint gelding approx. 14 years old.
                          Vet found a fractured (in two places) navicular bone on front left hoof! Vet said this horse had been nerved before I got him, otherwise this fractured bone would be so painful he would be lame at a walk. According to the xray there are other structures that suffered from the break, and he developed arthritis and enthesophytes (bone response to stress). This is why he is sound from the fracture, but not hard work.

                          The only way this dummy would be safe for more beginner riders is if he is worked 5 days a week. Maybe 4 days.

                          I am not in a position to own two horses (and really want to be riding),

                          if he gets worked too hard his arthritis will flare up and will be sore.

                          The only other option I can think of would be if someone just wants a pasture pet.
                          In this specific situation, I think euthanasia is the best option. He will still potentially be in pain as a pasture pet.

                          Your goals are important and if you need a riding horse and can only have one horse, then that's that.

                          It is never easy to make the decision to put one down but often times it is the best decision for the well-being of the horse.

                          Yes you could try shoes/pads but the difficult part of the situation here is that he has already been de-nerved. Yes, with time, nerves can grow back and they can regain some feeling to pain. So you are, to a degree, more limited on knowing how much the shoes/pads help. But, if he is not going to stand up to the type of riding you want to do, then there's no sense in putting time and money into shoes/pads when he still won't be able to do the type of physical activity you want.

                          It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree with euthanasia as well. No hoof. No horse.
                            It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Shame on the person who sold you this horse without disclosing the issue. Thank goodness he landed with you and not someone who would dump at an auction. I agree with everyone recommending euthanasia. That's the kindest thing you can do for him.

                              Hugs to you.
                              Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                              Quiet Miracle 2010 16.1h OTTB Bay Gelding
                              "Once you go off track, you never go back!"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                My best horse fractured his navicular bone due to a congenital cyst in the bone. The fracture healed but the calcification of the healing process interfered with the deep flexor tendon. The vet refused to nerve him as the tendon would wear through and the horse would end up down on his elbow. I loved this horse I could not face having him down in the field one day unable to get up. He was only 10 and I had owned him since he was two. Euthanasia was the only option.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Decades ago, we had a ten year old ranch horse turned out in the canyons early summer, that one day came in limping.
                                  Hauled him to vet, x-rays were showing a deep wing of coffin bone fracture.
                                  Vet was not very optimistic the outcome of that would be good.
                                  Vet put a cast on the foot and horse, a very quiet, calm one, was kept in a stall with a small pen.
                                  He loved all the attention and being kept where he didn't have to fend off nosey, pushy horses.

                                  After 30 days, cast was removed, no change, vet put another cast.
                                  After 60 days, same, horse still dead lame and vet decided euthanizing was in the best interest of the horse.
                                  With that kind of break, vet never even discussed nerving him.
                                  Nerving is a last resort try to keep a horse from hurting, after the fracture heals, not to get a fracture that doesn't heal to then magically heal by nerving the foot.
                                  Don't see where that protocol would have come from for the OP's horse?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                    Don't see where that protocol would have come from for the OP's horse?
                                    Get better quick so you can dump him and be done with it, most likely

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Simkie View Post

                                      Get better quick so you can dump him and be done with it, most likely
                                      It's entirely possible the horse was nerved for navicular or other foot pain before the fracture happened. There could have been bone cysts that causes bone the pain, and the subsequent fracture.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post

                                        It's entirely possible the horse was nerved for navicular or other foot pain before the fracture happened. There could have been bone cysts that causes bone the pain, and the subsequent fracture.
                                        Yes, that makes more sense.

                                        Comment

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