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Navicular Syndrome

Clinical Signs - Gait

  • Characteristic change in gait
  • Lameness aggravated when walking on hard ground or trotting in circles

Consult with your veterinarian if you suspect your horse may have Navicular syndrome as the clinical signs can vary.

Podcast:  Navicular Syndrome Update

From initial diagnosis to hoof care and bisphosphonate use, find out the newest information about this debilitating condition.

Recorded at Ask TheHorse Live


Healthy Bone Remodeling

Healthy bone remodeling happens in response to normal mechanical stress. Ideally, the cycle of bone remodeling is balanced. Resorption and formation work together to maintain healthy bones.

Bone remodeling in navicular syndrome happens in response to excessive mechanical stress. Resorption outpaces formation, leading to bone lesions.

Bone Remodeling
(roll over the image to see the effect of Navicular Syndrome)


Bone Resorption

  1. Osteoclasts, which are responsible for bone lysis, attach to the bone matrix
  2. H+ ions create an acidic microenvironment
  3. Lysosomal enzymes are released from the osteoclast
  4. The acidic environment:
    • exposes the organic matrix of the bone
    • activates the proteolytic enzymes
  5. Proteolytic enzymes destroy the organic matrix

Bone Formation

  1. Osteoblasts, which are responsible for bone formation, arrive at the resorption site
  2. Osteoblasts fill the cavity with new bone tissue
  3. Osteoblasts produce factors that aid in the mineralization of the bone tissue

health jointJoint Health and Degeneration

A healthy joint environment has a balance between destruction and repair (damage & growth).

Osteoarthritis is a vicious cycle, starting with excess stress on the joint that tips the balance within and leads to increasing levels of inflammation, damage, and pain.


Pathogenic Factors in Osteoarthritis

Biophysical Changes

  • Collagen network fracture
  • Unraveling of proteoglycan

Biochemical Changes

  • Proteolytic enzymes increased

At the molecular level, osteoarthritis is an imbalance between the molecules in the joint.

Peptides that promote the synthesis cartilage.

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