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Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract. 1989 Apr;5(1):109-29.

Pathophysiology of navicular syndrome.

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  • 1School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis.


Navicular syndrome is a degenerative disorder of the distal half of the flexor surface of the proximal sesamoid bone that is predisposed by faulty foot conformation. In horses that become symptomatic, the faulty conformation results in sustained application of nonphysiologic pressure by the deep digital flexor tendon against the flexor cortex of the bone. This force stimulates an intense bone remodeling response in order to attenuate the pressure. An unfortunate sequela of this response is active hyperemia and edema formation in the medullary cavity of the bone. The edema is organized by fibrous tissue resulting in venous entrapment, venous hypertension, vascular bone pain, and the onset of clinical signs.

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