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Would you buy a young horse with Navicular?

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  • vxf111
    Originally posted by NaturallyHappy View Post
    Osphos, of which I am decidedly NOT a fan, has been a game changer for those horses. If you really like him and recognize the long term potential problems and have a vet you have confidence in, he might be worth a look. You don’t mention how old you are, but you might be able to grow old comfortably together. I hope this perspective might be helpful. Poor pony.
    FWIW I used Osphos 2x and it was a MIRACLE DRUG for my horse. And then the 3rd and 4th time it did not work AT ALL. Now he's not young and he has various issues beyond bony changes. But I have talked with other people and I've heard from others too that Osphos may work for a period of time and then lose some/all efficacy. Just food for thought if you're considering a young horse with a degenerative condition and planning to maintain on Ospos.

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  • tabula rashah
    For me, it's a hard no. Regardless of the ad means by navicular, any horse I get is going be spending many miles traveling over hard ground at a decent pace. A horse with foot pain is not going to be a good candidate

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  • IndysMom
    Would I buy a horse who was dx with navicular? No, BTDT, too much money and heartache.

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  • maybesmom
    I would not buy a horse known to have navicular changes at the age of six. I would suggest to you that one reason he may seem dead quiet is that he is too sore to misbehave. Agree with others that navicular syndrome is progressive. You have to consider that if he has navicular syndrome he may become unstable I. His feet or sore enough that you cannot rude him safely, which I am assuming is a disappointment you don’t want. There are many nice, quiet, safe horses out there that are also serviceable sound without a progressive disabling issue like navicular syndrome. I would keep looking.

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  • summerfield
    I did, although I didn't know it at the time. The horse passed a PPE, although I wish at the time I had known what I know now about toe first landings.

    So many people IRL and online claim it is manageable, and maybe it is for some, but thousands of dollars spent on MRIs, osphos, injections, Equioxx, rads, special shoes of all kinds, bare foot trims...all I have is a halter and a tail, and a broken heart.

    If he is showing signs of heel pain....nope nope nope.

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  • joiedevie99
    Who knows what is actually wrong with the horse. Could be so very many things.

    That said, there is a big difference between making the best out of what you've got, and buying a problem. We have options for horses that used to be labeled as navicular - diagnostics like MRIs to find soft tissue injuries in the hoof, and stem cells to heal those injuries, drugs like Osphos and Tildren, etc. That is all great, but no reason to buy a problem.

    I have a policy of not doing any diagnostics on horses I don't own, outside of the ones I do as a standard part of a PPE. If the PPE finds a problem, it's up to the seller to diagnose it, fix it, and call me back.

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  • MsM
    With the type of horse you want, I dont think you need the gamble. I am also curious, though, about the "navicular" label. I would want to know if he is a sound horse who simply has radiographs that were analyzed as "navicular". Or is he a horse that has had classic symptoms. Perhaps he is only quiet for his age because he hurts!

    That said, I currently own a "navicular" horse. I didnt buy him that way, but when he was suddenly lame, radiographs suggested possible navicular changes. An MRI showed some disruption in the DDFT as well as some inflammation consistent with navicular syndrome. He was laid up, received corrective showing (previously barefoot!) and slowly rehabbed. A second MRI ($$) showed "profound improvement". Through it all he was only observably lame for maybe seven days! So I am hoping he will stay on the "with good management not impacted for many years" side of things.

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  • Gainer
    While I've been known to take on a free horse with some issues, I sure won't buy a known problem.

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  • Kyrabee
    Navicular, to me, doesn’t carry much meaning. I would want to know more specifically, what structures are affected which usually involves an MRI. Since you don’t have that, I would pass unless you want to pay for that post purchase which doesn’t seem to be the right sequence.

    Eons ago before fancy diagnostic equipment, I had a young (7 y.o.) Arab gelding diagnosed “navicular” on a PPE via x-rays. I had no baseline x-rays so what do you do? He had had some times of not quite rightness but I had him to the vet twice and they saw I had tried before I put him up for sale. Brought him home and ended up rehoming him with a friend with the deal that if he worsened, he would be euthanized. If he stabilized, he was hers. He stabilized with shoeing. People that had possession of him for the PPE pulled his shoes for x-rays and threw him back in a rocky pen barefoot. This was a horse that lived on irrigated pasture...of course he was lame. Anyway, I brought him home and got shoes back on him...I really don’t know why they didn’t put them back on. Within a couple weeks he was fine but the new caretaker had family issues come up over the winter and when she brought him out in the spring, he was off again but it seemed to be in the rear. She had him re-examined and lo and behold, he had early onset hock arthritis. So he never had ‘navicular’. However, I don’t think you would want to take on hock arthritis either. My friend judiciously worked him on trails. Buted him when she needed to and within a couple years, he was fused and was a wonderful mountain pony until he was in his mid 20’s when she retired him.

    I would probably pass. The unknown’s (structures affected and severity) would cause me to pass.


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  • findeight
    If you can afford additional diagnostics on a PPE including new rays and a look at the previous images to see if it has progressed. If you have the budget for specialized farrier work and meds. If you have an inexpensive place to keep him during flare ups or retire him for light work? Then maybe you could take a chance. But only if it really checks every box and the price is right.

    If you are on a budget, board out and an only afford one horse. NO.

    And ask me how I know that....twice. Don’t do it.

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  • Momateur
    It COULD be okay, but the odds are not in your favor. Horses are already such a risky purchase, I think going down this road is just a huge liability for you -- both financially and emotionally. Take it from someone who has been there. Keep looking.

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  • D. K. Goodman
    My first horse developed/was first diagnosed with navicular when he was just 6 yrs old. It ended out showing career and since I love my horses, I have them from the day they are born until the day they die. So,,,I had a lovely young seemingly healthy horse (who lived until 20 yrs old) who I could only ride lightly and he needed drugs to make him comfortable for those rides. So, my friends went out on lovely long rides and my boy and I stayed home.

    I understand that there is hope for these guys now, as this was 25 yrs ago. But I would warn you that you would be putting your heart (let alone you pocket book) in a very hard and sad place. I would not CHOOSE to have a horse with a life-long medical issue when there are so many who also need a great home and can fill your heart just as easily as this poor horse.

    I honor your choice and wish you and this horse only the best.

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  • goodhors
    DMK, I agree with your wanting to get a specific area of foot pain pinpointed. However we don't have those details here, just that all-pupose "navicular" diagnosis. And it may truly be navicular, not some other problem.

    I keep seeing here on COTH, the many CONSTANT posts about horse upkeep to allow use of them. These involve money, time, mental anguish, in trying to keep horses afflicted with problems, useful or even "kind of" less lame. He may have been ridable at purchase, but often quits being usable soon after. People keep paying, do not allow these horses be put down until way past "their time". I see these lame horses, hear the sad stories a lot! With husband working as a Farrier, maybe we hear more about all the ways navicular diagnosed horses can get worse. Obviously not all are lame with just navicular changes, so there are MANY things to try to aid him, but in the end he is NEVER cured. Just fixed for a time, until nothing works to aid him.

    I myself, want horses who are sound to use, without much extra work in care. I certainly am willing to do extra work, try some new ideas, on my older, used hard horses. Just not for a horse who never really worked, before starting to breakdown! So many of these navicular (have hoof pain) were broke in young, have navicular parents, then have MANY miles on them to reach the calm, quiet responses, smoothness, people like to ride.

    Not looking at horses who are heading down the breakdown route, saves lots of grief. I advise friends who ask, not to buy with their heart, the look in his eye, pretty faces. Start with the feet and work up, emphasizing soundness, in looking at potential purchases. Then decide if you like his gaits, training, manners to enjoy using him. This is not a fiction story, you have to live with what you buy.

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  • DMK
    goodhors because they used an outdated term I call the whole thing into question. It could be exactly as you say, it could also be something far more subtle and manageable. That said, it's all a question of price v. talent and there are a lot of horses for sale so three has to be a compelling reason to buy THIS one!

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  • StormyDay
    Originally posted by altermetoday View Post
    I've seen this nice quiet young large pony/small horse (can't remember the size) advertised for sale... I love his look and from the descriptions, he's dead quiet.. actually know people who know him and verified that as well. I'm older, really just want a nice quiet mount to play around with some low level dressage and trail riding... but its disclosed that he's got navicular. I have not seen the xrays... he seems to be sound though but he's under 6 years old. I had a quarter horse / paint years ago that had navicular and I was able to keep him sound with good front shoes and lots of dressage to keep him off his forehand.

    But this horse is considerably younger and I don't want a pasture pony. Pretty sure the answer is don't do it, but thought I'd throw it out there.. I'm kind of shocked at his sales price advertised for a known issue so makes me think it might not be that bad?

    Sounds like you might already pass, but ‘navicular’ encompasses a lot of different issues under the same diagnosis.
    Soft tissue injuries, coffin bone issues, actual navicular bone issues, even more, all can get diagnosed as navicular.
    My 20 year old jumper gelding was diagnosed with navicular at 8. He is still sound and competing. He does best barefoot or in glue on shoes. In the past year he has started equioxx but that was for his hocks, not his feet.

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  • ASB Stars
    The best competitive dressage horse I ever had was an alleged TB (out of the West, by Truck) who had navicular changes, and hind end issues, as well. And, by the way, I've NEVER found one without the other. He was seven years old, and had qualified his rider for the Medal/MacClay finals for the prior two years. My Vet radiographed him, and told me to buy him. I didn't see those pictures. Today, you would sue her ass, and she is still practicing...

    I put the tricks on him through GP, although his trot was always pretty average. He had a nine walk and canter, however. I took him to NBC after I got him, and Dr. God, and the then blacksmith arranged a great shoeing program for him. We used Isoxsuprine, and Bute, ad Dr. God said that they had a synergistic effect, and I believed him.

    I also put the horse in a pool three days a week when I was competing him.

    After I retired him, I researched a drug that you could use to do a chemical neurotomy on a horses feet. It gave this horse a whole new life. He walked on his feet as he should have, which opened up his heels even more, and got his hind end going. THAT was a revelation in addressing issues with horses with complimetary lamenesses.

    If you like the horse, give it a shot. It's all about learning, anyway.

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  • goodhors
    Originally posted by SonnysMom View Post

    It is not a hard NO for me. Digital x-rays show so much more than old film x-rays.
    I am presuming here, that because the advertising mentions horse has navicular, that present owners have a firm diagnosis for navicular. My belief is that any X-rays will absolutely show degeneration. No guessing about the problem. If the horse could pass a PPE they never would have brought the navicular issue up!! Owners may already have horse in a maintenance program, new buyer would need to follow their program.

    Diagnosing now is a lot better than years ago. And that is why I would rule this horse off as a purchase. I would not even have called because the advertisement says horse has navicular! I am pretty hard minded about not looking at or contemplating a horse with navicular. I have seen too much heartbreak, tears, medical, Farrier costs, in trying to keep YOUNG, nice minded horses comfortable with this problem. Far better to go shop elsewhere.

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  • DMK
    I think if we are still calling it "navicular" the opportunity for a good discussion on caudal heel pain or podotrochleitis may be lost. Unfortunately "navicular" is a dated term with a dated understanding of a series of different conditions that impact the heel. It's like saying a horse has colic. That tells you something about the general area of the problem and very little about the appropriate treatment and expected outcome!

    Here's an article that helps explain a lot about our updated understanding of the problem:

    That said, years ago I had bought a young (giant) horse who had impressive lollipops on his radiographs. The PPE vet who was more familiar with QHs was freaking out about them. I sent the radiographs to my vet who was a lot more familiar with PPEs in Europe and he was utterly unphased by the lollipops, that as long as the horse was sound today, that was pretty standard for most large horse x-rays. This particular horse was a 17'3 hand TB just of the track, had platters for feet and was jogging sound without shoes on a gravel road. I had zero problems with his feet, lollipops notwithstanding! So it's a big picture kind of thing for me.

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  • SonnysMom
    Originally posted by goodhors View Post
    Navicular is a progressive, degenerative disease. You can't "fix it", ever. You may be able to make horse usable, comfortable with various shoes, trims, for a while. Consider every day of use a gift.

    Myself? I would not buy a navicular horse. I am unwilling to promote or participate in using a horse with this diagnosis, then decide when his shortened time has come to put him down. Bad enough choosing the end time with a horse who has lived a long and useful life.

    They keep breeding navicular horses because people keep buying and using them. This is a bad thing, no reason to quit making more of them!
    So many years ago I bought a 10 year old QH with navicular changes. We had him on isox and had his shoes on backwards (poor man's bar shoes). I had him for 8 years. I jumped him, trail rode with him, he was used in jumping lessons.
    Sold him to a teenager. She had him for a few years. Sold him to her trainer as lesson horse. He was still teaching lessons in his mid twenties as a w/t horse. They had stopping jumping and cantering a few years before due to hock issues. Never actually had navicular issues just ugly xrays.

    Now a friend looked at a 5 year old QH. He wasn't sound in the PPE trotting in a circle on hard ground. Xrays showed navicular. Since he also had symptoms she walked away and so would I.

    It is not a hard NO for me. Digital x-rays show so much more than old film x-rays.

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  • Pennywell Bay
    My question is does he have true navicular syndrome or navicular changes.

    I've had 2 horses that when I PPE xrayed them had "changes" from prior xrays I was given. My vet said the changes were minor. Farrier worked on their angles. One died sound and the other is still going (with shoes and maintenance and a good farrier).

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