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Kissing spine

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  • Kissing spine

    One of my horses has just been diagnosed with kissing spine. It looks relatively mild, but this poor guy has been through the ringer otherwise in terms of injuries.

    The vet gave him a shock wave treatment, and put him on methocarbomol (Robaxin) 750 mg, 10 tablets twice a day. I'm going to put shoes on all around (he's always been barefoot behind), to see if that helps at all. Years ago, I had an OTTB with kissing spine, and we injected his back once and that was it. I'm not familiar with these treatments that she's recommending--she even counseled me against injecting, saying there could be side effects from it.

    This vet is hard to get hold of, and I haven't yet been able to schedule a follow-up visit. I'm going to see about using someone else who can keep the shockwave treatments on a regular schedule, but in the meantime, I was curious to know if anyone had experience with rehabbing from it, and any suggestions. This guy is rather long-bodied, and long-backed, and had to endure stall rest for suspensory issues, so it's not a surprise that this developed.

    Thanks so much!

  • #2
    Kissing spine is a very, very controversial diagnosis with vets. Some vets seem to diagnose this left and right. Others say it is a joke that it is diagnosed so much. How was it diagnosed?

    I have teched for easily over 50,000 horse appointments and can only recall two horses that were diagnosed with this. It would seem strange that you have had two horses that have it? Was it the same vet that diagnosed them?
    For horses that truely do have kissing spine, chiropractic care is usually the best treatment long term for them to keep things moving.
    Just throwing that out there for what it's worth.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Both horses were diagnosed by x-ray. I thought the diagnosis was fairly common, at least both vets (I used someone different years ago, and the vet with the current diagnosis is someone I'd heard great things about, but only used the one time she looked at him) made me think so, anyway.

      May I ask why the diagnosis is actually rare?

      Thanks so much!

      Comment


      • #4
        Good question as to why it is actually rare. I honestly can't answer that. I can only speak from experience working with vets for years.

        I assume that both vets used digital xray? If not, I can't imagine any way it could be diagnosed with films.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Yes, both used digital x-rays. With the second horse, I could see it myself, even.

          I was just wondering whether it's a "false" diagnosis, and there's something else really going on, or whether it's a rare condition.

          Comment


          • #6
            OK, good.

            I'm not sure. There is a vet in Colorado that she diagnoses a lot of horses with kissing spine. Some of her clients go to others to get a second opinion and all the vets in the area make fun of her because she comes up with so many horses having it but no one seems to agree with her.

            Anyway, maybe someone else has some good input on the subject!

            Comment


            • #7
              Kissing spine is actually fairly common condition. What is controversial is whether it really bothers the horse or not. Necropsies on sound apparantly and pain free horses will show kissing spines. So it is not clear why some horses have pain from them and some do not.

              When they bother the horse, the gold standard treatment for them is to inject the back and put them in a progressive strengthening program, using correct flatwork and hills. The stronger the back muscles are, the more comfortable the horse will be. Mesotherapy can be really helpful as well.
              Last edited by lstevenson; Nov. 12, 2010, 01:29 AM.
              http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com

              Comment


              • #8
                I have a mare with kissing spines. She used to get the area injected, but now she gets 24/7 turnout, regular exercise, and I try to keep her back warm as possible. Excellent saddle fit (ideally custom) is essential.
                Kim
                'Like' my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calla...946873?sk=wall

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                • #9
                  My gelding had KS and with regular chiro and acupuncture work he was working great! My vet diagnosed it with digital x-rays, and recommended that he would only be good for a trail horse. I went to a different vet and she said that with chiro work there would be no reason for him not to event. He just had to strengthen his back and butt muscles. I recently put him down for a completely unrelated incident (punctured his hock) but before that he was jumping 2 ft easily, w/t/c in a frame and had just gone to his first jumper show.

                  I think it depends on what vet you use - some vets will write off horses with KS and others have actual ways to help them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm so sorry to hear that your horse has had some difficulties.

                    As with any condition in any species, the condition does not effect all afflicted individuals the same. KS is no exception. Depends on: location, severity, pain tollerance level, etc., etc., etc.

                    I had a horse with this condition. Unfortunately, at the time of diagnosis (Dr. Barry Grant), it was also discovered that he had wobblers, in addition to something else in his coccygeal region. He was never really ridable after I imported him as a 3 yr old, and made a gorgeous pasture ornament until I finally upped the anty when Dr. Barry Grant came to town.

                    True diagnosis of KS is only accomplished via xray, and preferably digital xrays. I don't know how controversial the KS diagnosis is to vets: if the xrays show it is there, then there you have it! What is there to question then?

                    Treatments include: Vertabral joint space injections, mesotherapy, shockwave, chiropractic, accupuncture.

                    Lots of horses respond well to treatment, but not all.

                    Best of luck for a happy recovery!

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thank you, everyone! I just had his shoes re-done yesterday, and will try to sit on him today to see if there's been any improvement after the shockwave and Robaxin and lunging for the past three weeks. If not, I might consider injecting instead. He does get regular chiropractic work, and is usually perfect for the first few days afterward. The vet wanted him on the lunge line rather than under saddle, but I'm not a fan of keeping him on circles for more than necessary, so I'll see what I can do under saddle at this point.

                      It's reassuring to know we're on the right track!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Fantastic View Post
                        I'm so sorry to hear that your horse has had some difficulties.

                        As with any condition in any species, the condition does not effect all afflicted individuals the same. KS is no exception. Depends on: location, severity, pain tollerance level, etc., etc., etc.

                        I had a horse with this condition. Unfortunately, at the time of diagnosis (Dr. Barry Grant), it was also discovered that he had wobblers, in addition to something else in his coccygeal region. He was never really ridable after I imported him as a 3 yr old, and made a gorgeous pasture ornament until I finally upped the anty when Dr. Barry Grant came to town.

                        True diagnosis of KS is only accomplished via xray, and preferably digital xrays. I don't know how controversial the KS diagnosis is to vets: if the xrays show it is there, then there you have it! What is there to question then?

                        Treatments include: Vertabral joint space injections, mesotherapy, shockwave, chiropractic, accupuncture.

                        Lots of horses respond well to treatment, but not all.

                        Best of luck for a happy recovery!
                        Great post Fantastic with a lot of good info. 12 years ago, one of my horses was diagnosed with KSS via xrays. Very clear indication that the spinous processes were touching close to his withers. He wasn't lame but just did not move right. The only thing that worked on him--and we tried every therapy available--was the back injections. They had to be done about every 10 weeks. The effect of KSS varies dramatically from one horse to another based on the location and the horse's disposition. And, it is probably why one therapy that is great on one horse is useless on another.

                        Meanwhile, I am always annoyed when I hear people dismissing KSS out of hand. It is quite real and can be anywhere from a little uncomfortable to the horse to extremely painful.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have one that just was diagnosed. Not good looking xrays at all. I've had others with very mild and it never was an issue...but this guy, it looks pretty bad on the xrays (digital).

                          Horse is currently competing at Training level eventing. Jumps 3'6" easily and is actually very round and soft in his back. But he started bucking when the dressage work increased and has always been a bit behind my leg. That is when I had my vet work him up.

                          I'm lunging him in a De Gauge to help strengthen his back. We injected and shockwaved.

                          I'm hopeful he can continue up the levels in eventing since he did so much before showing discomfort.

                          I'm also considering using Tildren for him. Has any one else used it?

                          It isn't an uncommon diagnosis. And there are a lot of competition horses at the highest levels of sport who have it. But what a horse can do or can't with it really depends on a lot of factors.

                          OP...doing things to slowly strengthen his back are most important. Unfortunately...lunging in a De Gauge like I'm doing for my guy isn't advisable for you with your horse's other injury! Lots of long and low sort of flat work....if you can get out--walk some hills. If you are stuck indoors like many of us will be soon...cavellettie work is good too.

                          Shockwave is less invasive than injecting...and if that is all your horse needs...then that is great. Some horses need more than that but if your horse's case is really mild, I could see why a vet may advise against injecting right away. If the Shockwave alone doesn't help...then you can always look at more aggressive treatment. Nothing is really going to fix it. Tildren (very expensive) is one of the few drugs that might do a bit more than just treat the pain.
                          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My horse has been treated for kissing spine. Also had other injuries which required stall rest(usually on pasture full time) and this is when the kissing spine became a real issue. I tried it all. Accupunture, red light, chiro(3 different), massage, exercises, saddle fit(3 different)muscle relaxers, previcox and bute. Have done shoeing and barefoot. Chiropractor helped short term but I finally tried tildren and shockwave and back injections. I noticed the most dramatic difference from tildren. The vet who diagnosed(after 3 others didn't over 2 years) and treated him is from Belguim and visits with my main vet regularly. They use tildren much more in Europe so it seems. My insurance covers tildren and shockwave so I feel fortunate. Finally riding with out a problem. I could barely get a saddle on him and he would buck suddenly and bolt on the ground(tried long-lining). He is far from perfect but I my vet says it is a matter of conditioning and she has seen horse much worse off improve with this treatment.

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