If you're wondering what exactly this is, you're not the only person! I'll be describing what limited information I have about it via Digby's diagnosis here. This is NOT to be used as a veterinary diagnosis or for any use other than light reading. I am not a vet, a podiatrist, or an expert of any kind. This is just my very limited knowledge of a condition my horse has.
X-rays were taken June 2011 of Digby's left front hoof, after it was successfully nerve blocked sound by the vet. The x-rays were then looked at by the vet practice and sent out to Mid-Atlantic Equine Clinic and University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center for further clarification. All three diagnosis's pointed towards "congenital bipartite navicular."
Now, what exactly IS it? I have no idea. This I do know:
- Congenital means it's a birth defect
- Bipartite means it's in two pieces (there is tripartite, as well)
- It effects the navicular bone
- It's very rare
- It does not effect one certain breed (Like HYPP in Quarter Horses, for example)
- It can be in bilateral hooves or just one, though it is more commonly in both
- Bipartite and tripartite navicular bones are different on x-rays from fractured navicular bones in that they are symmetrical and have smooth edges
- It causes a chronic, slow onset lameness
- It will not fuse like a fracture
How does one go about treating it?
- No one really knows a treatment because it's so rare
- It was recommended by both Mid-Atlantic and New Bolton to give 30 days stall rest with Bute or an NSAID given for the first week, inject the coffin joint, give another 30 days stall rest and reintroduce into turnout and work slowly while simultaneously starting the horse on a regular Adqeuan injection program
- Digby was given stall rest, given Previcoxx (an NSAID, less likely to cause ulcers than bute), injected the coffin joint with Hyluronic acid, a corticosteroid and another drug used to prevent infection and 30 days stall rest
- He gradually returned to his normal turnout schedule and I began riding on a regimen of 30 minutes walking and trotting once around the ring. This was to be gradually increased by the day to longer and longer. He went lame again within 3 weeks
- The vet recommended giving him 6 months off in a field board situation based on his current lameness and my budget. He will be going back into work May 2012.
- In April 2012, Digby went lame (about a 1.5-2 on lameness scale) while being strictly on turnout 24/7 and not in work. After discussion with several vets, farriers and horse people I respect, I made the decision to retire him from work. There was several things involved in my decision but it boiled down to my financial status and wanting to keep Digby as happy and comfortable as possible. He is currently barefoot, living in a field 24/7, on 1/2 gram bute in the AM, and relatively sound again.
- Just kidding! :) He's been sound since May 2012 and my vet told me to "get off my butt and get to riding!" Digby is back in work officially as of December 1, 2012. No bute needed.
- In December 2013, after some lameness issues, I tried a new farrier who used bar shoes, a full pad and a wedge pad. This worked fantastic. After some hoof growth, he is the most comfortable he has been since the original lameness back in 2010.
- In the spring of 2014, we switched Digby into regular steel shoes with a wedge pad because he was pulling his bar shoes off on a regular basis. He is still in that type of shoeing today.
- Supplements for this? Digby does get supplements. He gets a joint supplement and flax, as omega 3's in flax are found to be "anti-inflammatory." He also gets Adequan shots, generally only once a year in the spring. I give one shot every 4 days for 28 days. It seems to really help him, especially when fed in combination with a feed through joint supplement. Feed through supplements in this area don't have much research but it does seem to help my horse so it's worth it to me. I'd love to save my money and use it on something that does have research but honestly, both my vet and I see a difference when he gets them.
If you have any information on congenital bipartite navicular or any treatments that are from a valid, respected source feel free to contact me! My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.