The New International Encyclopædia/Navicular Disease

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Edition of 1905.  See also Navicular syndrome on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

NAVICULAR DISEASE (Lat. navicularia, relating to ships, from navicula, diminutive of navis, ship). A disease of the horse, consisting in strain of the strong flexor tendon of the foot, at the point within the hollow of the fetlock where it passes over the navicular bone. It is most common among the lighter breeds of horses, and especially where the pasterns are upright, toes outturned, and work is early and severe on hard roads. It soon gives rise to a short tripping yet cautious gait, undue wear of the toe of the shoe, wasting of the muscles of the shoulder, and projecting or pointing of the a fleeted limb while standing. Give rest, remove the shoe, shorten the toe, and apply hot poultices, changed every few hours. Laxative medicine and bran mashes may be ordered. After a few days, and when the heat and tenderness abate, cold applications should be given; after another week the animal may be placed for two months in a grass field, where the ground is soft and moist; or, if sufficiently strong, at slow farm work on soft land. Division of the nerve going to the foot removes sensation, and consequently lameness, and hence is useful in relieving animals intended for breeding purposes or for slow work. The operation, however, is not to be recommended where fast work is required, for the animal, being insensible to pain, uses the limb as if nothing were amiss, and the disease rapidly becomes worse. See Horse.