Posted by: forgingahead | December 2, 2009

Horse Foot Anatomy Lesson

The vet, Dr. Reynolds, arrived early yesterday morning at the barn. I trotted Now Voyager about 30 feet in one direction. Turned around. Trotted back.

“Hmmm,” said Dr. Reynolds.

He picked up the left front foot, squeezed it with the hoof testers, bent it this way and that. Set it down.

“Well, that’s not good.”

NV was more lame than the first time Dr. Reynolds saw him 2+ weeks ago. And still no heat. So our thoughts that this was an abscess were not looking good.

Dr. Reynolds did another test numbing the coffin joint (where the short pastern bone connects the coffin bone) in Now Voyager’s foot. It helped about 80% which leads him to think the impar ligament (connecting the navicular bone to the coffin bone) or the deep flexor tendon (where it connects to the bottom of the coffin bone) are torn or irritated. I got a whole anatomy lesson yesterday. There is a lot going on in a horse’s foot.

The treatment was injecting the coffin joint with a combination cortisone/hyaluronic acid to reduce inflammation. Just like people! Well, except people don’t get the hyaluronic acid part. Which is too bad because it’s wicked good stuff.

Here’s a look at the trouble spots:
Yellow = deep digital flexor tendon (could be this)
Blue = navicular bone
Orange = impar ligament (or could be this)
Red = intersection of ligament and tendon

So the plan is 30 days of rest (at least). Only hand walking. No pasture turnout. He’s already been off 6 weeks but was still running around in the pasture and hurting himself more. Silly horse.

I told the vet that Now Voyager is becoming a little hard to handle (he reared the other day when I was hand walking him) so he suggested a 30 day tranquilizer called Reserpine. It goes into the system and stays for 30 days. Just takes the edge off but I hope it helps.

Here’s hoping Plan B works.



  1. AWWW KATHLEEN!! 😦 I’m so sorry. Ohhh this really sucks. I hope this all helps and that it leads to some good healing. Hugs to you.

  2. So sorry to hear this about Now Voyager but hope that with some rest the hoof will heal. Sounds like a tough problem. Sending good thoughts your way.

  3. Poor NV…poor you too, that’s so hard to face; 30 more days of rest. It’s too bad he needs the tranquilizer too. I’m glad we don’t need that when we’re injured. Imagine that.
    All of that horsey hoof stuff is so interesting. I still think I would have loved to have been a vet…except I don’t like unhappy horses 😦 !
    Hang in there girl!

  4. Ohhhhh poor NV!

  5. Damn, you don’t need me to tell ya either one of those are bad injuries. Here’s hoping that NV beats the odds. [The eq med seminar I recently went to had lots of good info on the new stem cell treatments – you might want to look into it! If my son’s little mule had been 8 instead of 18 when she injured her suspensory, I would have gone all the way w/this…]

  6. Hi!!! well, I just read this because I’m going through the same situation that you went through with NV…. I hope he got better with Plan B. Do you mind writing me back to let me know if it worked and if you ever found out what it was?? How is NV doing now?? Thanks so much!!!!

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