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Keywords:

  • horse;
  • navicular bursa;
  • analgesia;
  • lameness

Summary

We hypothesised that analgesia of the navicular bursa is not selective for the navicular apparatus; and that solar pain in some horses can be temporarily abolished or attenuated by analgesia of the navicular bursa. To test this hypothesis, we caused lameness in horses by inducing pain in the dorsal margin or the angles of the sole and then evaluated the ability of a local analgesic solution administered into the navicular bursa to attenuate lameness.

The response of horses with solar pain in the dorsal or palmar aspect of the foot to 3.5 ml local analgesic solution administered into the navicular bursa was examined. Lameness was induced in 6 horses by creating solar pain in the dorsal aspect of one forefoot and, at another time, the palmar aspect of the other forefoot, with set-screws inserted into a custom-made shoe. Horses were videotaped trotting before and after application of set-screws and after administering 3.5 ml local analgesic solution into the navicular bursa. Lameness scores were assigned by examining videotaped gaits. Scores were significantly lower (P<0.05) for all horses with set-screws applied to the dorsal margin of the sole after administration of local analgesic solution into the navicular bursa. In conclusion, analgesia of the navicular bursa was less effective in desensitising the angles of the sole than in desensitising the dorsal margin of the sole. Pain arising from the sole should not be excluded as a cause of lameness when lameness is attenuated by analgesia of the navicular bursa.