Ask the Vet – Bone supplements for a horse with navicular

SARAH: "I was wondering what you thought about using bone health supplements on a horse with navicular Horse in question was first X-rayed in 2011

Since then has had a regular Osphos and has stayed sound for normal work Would a bone supplement help keep the horse sound as she gets older? Will one even help with a horse with navicular?" DR LYDIA GRAY: This was a great question Obviously, this person has done a lot of their homework, their research on navicular We have answered a navicular question in general on this So I would encourage you to look that one up

Because it delves more into the difference between navicular syndrome and navicular disease, and the diagnosing, and treating, and managing and farrier work and all that I think it's important to say here today that navicular now, with our enhanced imaging modalities, it used to be thought of as just a degenerative bone disease, there's a navicular bone And now we know that, with MRI and other techniques, that the navicular apparatus or all of the soft tissue in the bursas and joints that surround that bone, they can be affected too So it doesn't have to be bone that's the problem It can be the deep digital flexor tendon

It can be the navicular bursa, the impar ligaments There's a lot of other structures there SARAH: Which is why I think more people are starting to refer to it as caudal heel pain syndrome Because it just generally describes back of the heel is what we're dealing with DR LYDIA GRAY: Yep, yep

So in her case, it does sound like maybe they have either identified it as the bone itself– at least it's working SARAH: And she talks about the X-rays in 2011 DR LYDIA GRAY: And the Osphos is working SARAH: Right DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah

SARAH: And so it seems like they've identified and are monitoring bony changes DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, so the Osphos is a bisphosphonate, which is a bone– it keeps the bone from remodeling and turning over And the osteoclast, which tear down bone, it slows down that process And so the bone doesn't sort of dissolve, disintegrate away In that case, I think a bone health supplement might be appropriate

Because that's– having those ingredients on board, if this process is really going on, might be beneficial Because there's a couple of things The category of ingredients in bone health supplements are big macrominerals like calcium and phosphorus and magnesium that actually go into building the matrix of the bone, the mineralization phase of it But then there's microminerals and vitamins and other factors that are important in the actual construction of this scaffolding, you know, if you think of it, things like boron and silicone and strontium and manganese, copper, zinc, there's lots of little things that are important in the reactions and the actual building and construction of bone So I think it's a great question to ask your veterinarian because you're on a prescription medication and you have a diagnosed disease

That's a good question to ask your vet I think it does make sense Now for the ones that are navicular syndrome because of the soft tissue, it might not Because they probably wouldn't positively affect like a deep digital flexor tendon or an impar ligament or something, so SARAH: Right, but there certainly are supplements that can help with soft tissue health and normal function

DR LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, yeah, and medications too so once you've diagnosed it and you know what the tissue is that's the problem, bone, joint, soft tissue, then you can go down the path of, what does that particular tissue need for support? SARAH: Yeah If you are in the market for a bone health supplement, we do have a subcategory within our joint supplements category And you can find some of these products that I have behind me And you can always, of course, call our supplement experts for help, getting a list of options that you can then go over with your veterinarian, look at the ingredient list and figure out, is this going to be right for what we think the diagnosis and what your horse's situation is? DR LYDIA GRAY: Right, exactly

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