This section lists medications that have been used to treat navicular disease, all of these should be used only with the recommendation and guidance from your veterinarian.
Phenylbutazone (Bute) is an NSAID (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) which is often used to temporarily relieve pain while giving time for other treatments to work. Bute should not be used long term as it can lead to ulcers and other digestive problems.
Isoxsuprine is a drug that dilates blood vessels allowing more circulation to the foot. It has been effective for some horses, although other treatments are more often used these days. Isoxsuprine does have side effects so should be used with caution. Personal Note: When my horse first came up lame we tried this drug for about a month and saw no improvement.
Tilduronate (Tildren) is an osteoporosis drug that has been used mostly in Europe to stop the degeneration of the navicular bone. There has been some success with this drug especially with horses in early stages of navicular disease. This drug must be administered by a veterinarian intravenously and can be quite expensive. There are reports on horse forums suggesting that this treatment may be linked to fractures, there are similar reports of fractures in women who have been on other osteoporosis drugs. This link is not certain but is has been suggested that these drugs inhibit normal breakdown and remodeling of bone that happens as a result of stress, therefore the bone may be gradually weakened.
Corticosteroids can be injected directly into the navicular bursa to relieve inflammation for several months. This procedure is discussed on its own page. Personal Note: I have used this procedure with success on my horse, Bo.
Adequan or hyaluronic acid can also be injected into the joint, this is generally used for arthritic conditions. A 2009 study by Bell, et al found little benefit from injecting this drug in the navicular bursa, though injection of corticosteroids did have a positive effect.
Some supplements can be helpful in alleviating pain associated with navicular syndrome, these are discussed on their own Supplements page. Also TLC, the makers of EquiBone claim that their product can help to improve the bone mineralization process and stop or slow the degeneration of the navicular bone.
Equi-bone: The makers of Equi-bone claim that this supplement provides minerals and vitamins that improve circulation and facilitate optimal blood chemistry to support healthy bone remodeling and reduce mineral loss from bone. The manufacturers recommend a loading period of 5-7 months, during which you feed double the maintenance amount. You can go to the maintenance dosage sooner than that if you see significant improvement. Below is the list of ingredients from the TLC website for the pellet version. The powder form is the same with the exception that it does not have MSM or Glucosamine. Equi-bone is more expensive than your usual supplement, but if it works as the makers claim it will be worth the price.
Equi-Bone Pellet Ingredients: Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Proteinate, Magnesium Proteinate, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Amino Acid Complex, Yeast Culture, Glucosamine Hcl, Methyl Sulfonyl Methane, Salt, Dehydrated Forage Products, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin B-12, Copper Proteinate, Choline Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Niacin, Potassium Sulphate, Calcium Pantothenate, Cane Molasses, Inositol, Linseed Meal, l-Lysine, dl-Methionine, l-Aspartic Acid, l-Arginine, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Wheat Bran, Wheat Middlings, Tocopherol (Source of Vitamin E), Biotin, Sodium Selenite, p-Aminobenzoic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin K, Cobalt Proteinate, Flavoring, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Pyridixoine HCl, Folic Acid, Thiamin, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Soybean Oil
*Equi-Bone Powder does not have Glucosamine or MSM added.
Updated September 1, 2014