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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 26, 2005
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    1,457

    Default kissing spine vs. hormonal problems

    A little history - 11 year old pony mare always gets a little pissy in the winter. Behavior includes kicking out when you add leg, doesn't want to go forward, will get crooked to try to avoid an upward transition, etc. However, this behavior is not every ride and once you get her moving forward or lunge her first, behavior subsides and all is well. This has been going on for the past 3 winters. This winter the behavior is radically worse - kicks out all the time at your leg, doesn't want to go forward in any gait, bucks like mad, etc. However, the behavior isn't quite as bad if you lunge her first and if you can actually get her moving and ride through the antics, she settles into the gait and goes forward. If you take a walk break or stand, the behavior starts all over again. She's pretty much unrideable because of this. Doesn't do any of this on the lunge line or while being free lunged. She's happy to trot and canter.

    The pony is not lame. She is symmetrical, tracks up well and is happy and eager to jump once you can get through all of the other crap (and she had her hocks done in October). She was on 5 weeks of ranitidine with no change in behavior. Chatted with vet who suggested Robaxin. After 5 days of Robaxin, she was worse so we scheduled an evaluation with the vet and also gave her a depo injection. She was ridden on day 8 of Robaxin which was 1 day after the depo, and she was considerably better. Ridden again day 9 of Robaxin, day 2 after after depo and there was only 1 bronc episode and after standing for 10 minutes went happily back to work. All of this in 20 degree weather. Vet was out today and took back films and found 4 vertebrae in the saddle area with severe impingement - really no space in between the vertebrae. After discussion of the film results and the improved behavior, we have decided to take her off the Robaxin, put her on Regumate and see what happens before taking any action on the kissing spine.

    Has anyone had a situation like this, what did you do and what were the results?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    16,261

    Default

    Is she on grass during the summer?

    Vitamin E degrades very quickly in cut hay and also plays a role with neuro stuff.

    I would wonder if her kissing spines bother her more in the winter due to a Vit E deficit?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2001
    Posts
    15,232

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by skyy View Post
    Has anyone had a situation like this, what did you do and what were the results?
    Yes and you really don't want my answer.

    I have heard of people 'successfully' rehabing a horse through kissing spine but it takes very correct attention to detail in training and there is little down time.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 26, 2005
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    1,457

    Default

    I guess what I'm really asking is has anyone had a problem diagnosed as kissing spine related that actually turned out to be hormonal? Obviously, I'm hoping that it is hormonal but since we went looking for a back problem dumb luck had us find what could be a problem (kissing spine) or it could be totally unrelated.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2001
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    15,232

    Default

    well there are studies on race horses that show many have KS and perform just fine so it certainly could be...but 4 kissing vertebrae just under the saddle seems....like KS.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2004
    Posts
    2,631

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by skyy View Post
    I guess what I'm really asking is has anyone had a problem diagnosed as kissing spine related that actually turned out to be hormonal? Obviously, I'm hoping that it is hormonal but since we went looking for a back problem dumb luck had us find what could be a problem (kissing spine) or it could be totally unrelated.
    Your pony has Kissing Spines - based on the films your vet took. There are a lot of horses that can work through it but it takes a lot of work and there are others that get retired to pasture pet status. It can be extremely painful (ask my mare about it ). I too thought originally it was hormonal and took her in to be checked. Ended up doing a full lameness exam including xrays of the back - once we saw the xrays it all made sense - it was her back that was hurting her pretty badly when ridden (yet she is completely fine tearing around the field). I'd put the pony back on Robaxin to help relieve the muscle tightness which can happen with horses/ponies who have Kissing Spines. There are a lot of horses out there who with proper training are successful but there are others who no matter what are never comfortable. Your pony is clearly trying to tell you something isn't right...
    "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 27, 2000
    Location
    Southern California - on a freeway someplace
    Posts
    9,657

    Default

    My horse has what I suppose would be called kissing spine, though those words were not uttered at the vet clinic. The vet did say something along the lines of "horses with 'this condition' can suddenly explode" so maybe it is like referring to Macbeth in a theater?

    He also had more pressing issues in his neck vertebra near the shoulder and SI so we treated those, the idea being that if we allowed him to use the ends of the spine better, that we could bring the topline up so the spinous processes weren't as close. Once we were back to riding, the protocol consisted of riding him through (on the bit, with his back up, whatever you want to call it) to build and retain muscle that would allow the topline rounding. I also canter before I trot.

    There are still days that are better than others. Cold and/or damp weather, or our version of cold, seems to make it worse, but I figure that makes sense with arthritis in his neck (and likely elsewhere). He will still act grumpy about going forward at times, but it is not nearly as bad as before the treatment and rehab.

    The horse is never on fresh grass as we live in southern California which is essentially a desert. He does get supplemented with vitamin E.

    None of the above answers your most pressing question, I realize, as this is a gelding.
    The Evil Chem Prof



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 22, 2007
    Posts
    16

    Default

    I have more KS experience than I would like.
    1) It usually only gets worse - not intermittent or improved by lounging
    2) Behaviour when grooming and tacking up tends to be poor
    3) Robaxin doesn't help
    4) nSAIDs don't help much
    5) Hocks tend to be sore
    6) Injecting the KS locations followed by rehab can be successful
    7) I have not seen any seasonal effect

    If you want more treatment details, I'm happy to provide them



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2001
    Posts
    15,232

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    http://archive.constantcontact.com/f...LETTER.BLOCK20

    This may be helpful. Depending on where you live...he is located in Georgia



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

    Default

    In order to rule out a "hormone problem" one must first be clear about what that MEANS. What hormones, exactly? Even geldings have hormones. Is the mare showing signs of estrus? Has she had an exam to check and see if her ovaries are enlarged or sore? (which is an OVARY problem, not a "hormone" problem) Regumate or Depo Provera can suppress estrus behavior but an ovary that's enlarged, inflamed, or full of cysts is not going to shrink and be normal in a few days or even a few weeks.

    Just like a complex lameness presentation, one can't be accurate without looking at the whole picture. Just blaming everything on "hormones" is like saying "my horse is lame" with no specifics. Quite a difficult thing to figure in either case without a little more precision.
    Click here before you buy.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2002
    Posts
    1,984

    Default

    My gelding has had almost the exact behavior you describe, except for the part where you say you're able to work your mare through to jumping (sometimes), but my gelding pretty much shut down. We're treating a suspensory injury right now, which may or may not have contributed to his behavior in the past - we'll know when he goes back to work later this spring. We tried a whole bunch of things before we found the suspensory problem, with no real success, but never went as far as back xrays so I have no input on the kissing spines. I do know he's a much nicer horse to be around these days, after several months of lockdown, so I have hope that whatever was bothering him has had a chance to heal...



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