Talk To Me About Nerving, Please - Pros and Cons

Discussion in 'Ask The (wannabe) Vets & Farriers' started by horsedreamin, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. horsedreamin

    horsedreamin Active Member

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    Title says it all.

    I just need to know about it, both sides. I have never felt I would do this, but I do still need to educate myself, as I feel I am possibly facing this decision with my 24 yo.QH.

    All I would hope to accomplish would be a short ride down the trail at a walk, maybe a little short trot. Nothing strenuous, nor long. Right now, he only gimps at the trot or canter. We'll see how he does this spring.

    ALL opinions welcome.
     
  2. lori

    lori New Member

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    Is this for a navicular horse?

    I don't know too much--just kind of trying to focus the discussion. This is something I'm curious about but haven't talked to a vet about.

    Assuming we are talking navicular... Is the bee/snake (what the heck is it?) venom an option? I was having a discussion with the farrier, who is NOT the vet, about how an injection of that can last for the bulk of the show season--I think he was saying 3 months. I know nerving isn't permanant either--but I think it can be, or it can last quite a bit longer. At least with the venom options you can re-evaluate your strategy after a couple of months.

    What about capsaicin ointments. Those block the pain receptors, right? so that's like a couple hours worth, right?

    I think... and this is just *think* because, like I said, I don't know, that the concern is you block pain, and you are blocking the horse's response to something going horribly wrong, and then you can have the catastrophic breakdowns. Not saying specifically the racetrack breakdowns, but I saw one of these happen in a barrel race one night... shiver.

    I guess my feeling is horses need to be used. I can see them drop off quickly when they get out of work. I think good physical condition is the secret to a long life, so if you want their company for the long term you need to keep them moving. We know that there aren't a lot of options out there for useless horses, either.

    I don't know a lot--would be curious to hear what the race horse people--photofinish, glf, etc., have to say about the procedure. Sorry if I end up sending this thread off on a tangent, but this has been something I'm turning over in my head trying to figure out when/how the different options come into play.
     

  3. MelW

    MelW New Member

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    i have worked with a couple of nerved horses on the street...1 had no probs for a long time, was an ott pacer...never had a problem. On had..alot of probs, started connecting with himself, tripping, just had no sense of where his feet were.
    For me this would be the very last option i would consider
     
  4. horsedreamin

    horsedreamin Active Member

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    Yes -- I had a hard time getting Isoxsuprine last summer. It seemed at one point to help. I originally hesitated to mention the isox because I don't want the discussion to go off topic.

    I never heard of this and would be interested in learning more. I would like to know all the options before I would ever do this.

    I was under the impression it is permanent.

    I was looking for something that would last a lot longer. I could also add bute.

    This is what I'm most afraid of. I don't ever want to do something that would potentially be catastrophic to the horse. I have no intention of using him hard or in extremes. My neighbor is a BM and one of their horses is nerved. She suggested I look into it. Initially, I was very very against this.

    Because of my own fears, they have not been used much. I would like to change that for both of them (gradually, of course). I plan on working on myself and with them both this spring.

    I'm also looking for a way to make him more comfortable in general. He trots with a slight gimp and does canter a bit, but again, with a gimp.

    I also have no had a chance to speak with my vet, yet. I figured I would try and get as many opinions and as much information as I could first.

    Hope this helps explain a little better.

    Linda

    MelW -- the one with a lot of problems, did he have more than one foot/leg nerved? I agree this is the last option.
     
  5. lori

    lori New Member

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    I'll throw in some comments, and by no means am I any expert--make sure you're talking to a good lameness/performance horse vet, and a good farrier who is capable of doing a lot for horses w/issues to make sure you are doing everything possible beforehand in terms of getting their angles right, being sure in the diagnosis, etc. There are about a bazillion different ways they can setup a navicular horse that will help some and not others so just make sure you're working with vet/farrier who have a bunch of ideas up their sleeves.

    I have heard nerving is supposed to be permanant, but some horses have had to go in to have it done again after a period of time. I get my info on the venom option from shady rodeo/racetrack types, so I'm not real sure... i.e. the people who have told me about it don't necessarily have their horse's best interest at heart, therefore I am definitely reserving judgement on whether it's something I would do or not, pending a talk with both the vets I use, but... at this point it's hypothetical for me, thankfully. From the info I gathered--it lasts for ~3 months, then the effects go away, which I think I would like assuming any problems go away as the positive effect of it goes away, too. That may be a false assumption.

    Check with a good lameness vet--pretty sure Monfort, for example, can talk about the benefits/drawbacks of venom, nerving, etc. I guess I'm just saying I would try everything else first, probably would not compete on a nerved horse, but if it was a matter of keeping them happy I'd consider it.
     
  6. horsedreamin

    horsedreamin Active Member

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    I don't know where Dr. Montfort is. I do believe Dr. Heinze has a good lameness reputation, but if anyone knows different, please feel free to PM me.

    My farrier seems to have a good rep and does work with the vet. I believe he has good experience, too, and have tried a lot of different things. Some work a little better than others, but I'm open to keep trying.

    Thanks for your input. It gives me something to look into.
     
  7. monizzle

    monizzle New Member

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    This article is good but you need a membership to view it (it is free though).
    http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=642

    When I worked for a vet he greatly emphasized to his clients that a neurectomy (nerving) would be his last choice. We had one client that I remember that had had a neurectomy and the horse had several complications because of it. This was in 2006 so can't remember the specifics. As lori said the point is to be permanent but it is not uncommon for the nerves in that particular area to regenerate, therefore you would have to have another one done. Keep in mind that after the nerve is cut anything innervated by that nerve will lose all sensation. That means if the horse has any injury that you may not be able to see/identify right away combined with the horse not being able to feel pain itself you may end up with a greater problem than necessary. Coordination and gait may affected due to not feeling where his foot is, this would be particularly important while walking on uneven ground. Also like lori said an injury post-neurectomy can get ugly.

    Here is an article from UofI about navicular at the end they address neurectomy briefly.
    http://vetmed.illinois.edu/petcolumns/showarticle.cfm?id=28

    I would definitely put this at the very bottom of your lists of things to do but that is just my humble opinion. A neurectomy treats the symptoms but not the problem. If you do decide to do it, make sure the vet you choose has a bunch of experience in doing it, not just he's done a few.
     
  8. lori

    lori New Member

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    I forget where you're at, horsedreamin, or rather, I get you confused with horsefreak, who is kinda in my area.

    Monfort is in Farmer City, which is between Bloomington and Champaign. 309-928-2127 He gets people hauling in from all over though. Borero is the other vet I go to... one on my list, but I haven't needed yet--and would be a major haul is... uhm, help me Paige/Hooves, I can never remember that guy down in KY?
     
  9. MelW

    MelW New Member

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    the horse who didnt respone well had both forelegs done because of navicular
     
  10. horsedreamin

    horsedreamin Active Member

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    This is just confirming to me that I really don't want to do this. I have never been in favor of it from what little I knew before, but felt I at least needed to hear some opinions/experiences. I had heard ugly things can go wrong with it. I don't ever want to do that to any horse.

    Lori -- I am up by Horsefreak. Just a couple of miles away.

    Thanks, monizzle. I need to keeping reading about that, too.
     
  11. Pixin

    Pixin New Member

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    I have had two horses that were nerved. Both turned out fine. I was told that the nerve can grow back though.
     
  12. horsecrazier

    horsecrazier Senior Member

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    This happened to a friend's horse.
     
  13. cwgirllynne

    cwgirllynne New Member

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    I have never known a horse that was nerved, but I can give you some information from a medical perspective. I am NOT studying to be a vet, I am studying to be a surgical nurse so please understand that this is only an opinion based on studying human physiology and reading vet books. I know we have all heard of 'phantom pains' that occur when people have had limbs amputated. This is not just psychological, but physiological. The nerve receptor ending that used to travel to the missing limb is still very much intact, and will even contine to grow and curl up around itself. In that case, the person will experience pain or other sensations in the "missing limb". There is a procedure where that nerve is surgically cut and cauterized in order the help the person. Yes, peripheral nerves do, and will, grow back. I suffered painful PNS damage to my hand over a year ago, and I still have very, very limited mobility in my thumb and wrist. It will heal, but it may take many more years before the nerve repair is complete. Obviously, with the CNS this is not the case--these nerves will not regenerate (although alternate nerve pathways may compensate in some cases--i.e. "C. Reeve"). I don't know the process by which a horse is 'nerved', but it sounds dangerous. Pain exists for a reason, to warn us that something is wrong and that we need to stop doing whatever it is that is causing the pain. Pain medications only stop our perception of pain--the damage is still continuing. I am all for improving the quality of life for your horse, and don't believe that anyone should suffer chronic pain unnecessarily, but make sure you research the procedure carefully. It would scare me.