Raising head high and slightly twisting head to one side, plus hollowing back when trotting on longe (my mare had avery bad case) or when being ridden. Turning head and neck around to one side and holding it there a minute or more after exercise or riding, trying to get relief from the back discomfort. Twisting hip toward the side of the most pain, so isisue seems to be in a hind leg, or the opposite foreleg.
Shock Wave may help. My mare had 3 spines touching and has surgery to remove the center one, which gave instant relief.
I dop not remember obvious lback soreness. X-rays of her back found it.
Hollowing back especially at canter and in transitions, unwilliing to get to a close distance to a jump. He is very girthy also.
Mild kissing spine at T18 detected with bone scan, but he also has arthritic changes in spinal joint at T18/L1 detected by ultrasound. I injected kissing spine area with good results about a year ago, and recently injected joint to compare results.
After reading the above, it is interesting to me that I don't notice too much lateral difference, except maybe more reluctant at left canter. Arthritic issue is on left side of spine. As far as symptoms, it is the extreme girthiness that is making me want to help him so badly.
My horse was diagnosed during the prepurchase exam. Vet noticed a hotspot around T17, xrays confirmed overriding processes and inflammation. Watching him knowing the problem, you notice very little rise and fall of his back and he moved like a board in tight circles. He is girthy and would squirt forward when mounted. He jumps flat. I attributed all these symptoms to lack of physical conditioning, training and manners. I'm sure that's part of it too. Prior to the exam there was nothing that screamed kissing spines.
He is 14 and his various owners tell me that he has been girthy all his known life, which is since he was off the track at about 3 or 4 I think. When you approach with the saddle, he will get a hard look in his eyes and hold his breath. Once you place the saddle on his back and fasten the girth (even ever so loosely), he will raise his head and get stuck in place. When you ask him to go forward, he will grunt and hop. He has no sensitivity to touch on his back, although he can be tickle-ish sometimes in the girth area. We originally thought he might have a neck or wither problem, but bone scans showed the hotspot at T18. Ultrasound shows arthritis in the joint at the same place.
"Plumcreek sounds like your mare was really sore. Was she able to full recover and go back to work after the surgery?"
Yes, I cut a pad away over the surgery site for awhile. I'd say 4 months until you could push down hard on the site without reaction, but now years later, with considerable time out for sprained hips, etc. from getting cast, good as new in that spot, under the saddle at T16-17.
My vet has a good success rate with Shock Wave for milder kissing spines.