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Back problem or hock problem

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  • Back problem or hock problem

    I have a ten year old TB who is acting strange about his back. He is very cranky and mean. This just started about a week ago. If I run my fingers along his back on either side of his withers he pins his ears and dances around. I have noticed the right side is worse he actually turns and tries to bite me. He also is always resting his right hind leg. He has been off work for about two weeks due to the holidays. He is not lame at all. Does anyone have any ideas or thoughts?
    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    This could be a "Which came first...the chicken or the egg?" scenario...

    He could be resting his leg to give some relief to his back.
    On the other hand if the leg is ouchy, this will cause back issues.

    If he's been off work for two weeks, how do you know he's not lame?

    If my horse presented with these symptoms, I'd call his chiro.


    • #3
      I'd call a vet and get a lameness exam. If the hocks are sore it should show up on flexions.

      Hock problems often lead to back problems.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Dini1 View Post
        I have a ten year old TB who is acting strange about his back. He is very cranky and mean. This just started about a week ago. If I run my fingers along his back on either side of his withers he pins his ears and dances around. I have noticed the right side is worse he actually turns and tries to bite me. He also is always resting his right hind leg. He has been off work for about two weeks due to the holidays. He is not lame at all. Does anyone have any ideas or thoughts?
        Thanks in advance
        i would check your saddle out as well, as this is painful on either side of his back and only started just over a week ago

        people often miss the obvious his saddle might need reflocking which should be done at least once a year if one is using ill fitting tack ie saddle in this case maybe then it can lead to a bad back and if continued to use the saddle thats needs flocking can result permenant back pain


        • #5
          And my first thought is wind up pain--quite treatable with gabapentin.

          Best best is to get a VERY thorough, comprehensive vet out. With a touchy TB...it could be anything. And is probably SEVERAL things.


          • #6
            Don't make the puzzle harder than it is

            Yes, back pain-- perhaps being muscular in this case-- can come from joint pain in the hocks.

            If this were my horse, I'd pretend I was treating either one or the other and see what happened.

            I'd start with back pain since that's the presenting problem. I'd evaluate my saddle's fit. Then I'd try a course of robaxin and some free lunging, free lunging in side reins followed by some good, old fashioned rolling opportunities. If I really loved him, I'd buy him a massage from a pro and be there to watch and learn. I'd also get out an anatomy book and figure out which muscles hurt and learn to feel their size and texture. If I only kind of loved the horse or was the broke, do-it-yourselfer that I am, I'd try my hand at the massaging without the pro.

            If I saw some improvement, or was still curious, I'd try a course of bute to try and cut down on hock pain. If I was sure my saddle fit, I'd keep the horse in work. I'd do long-n-low to help him out, perhaps go outside and walk up and down some hills to work his butt, but give him something other than pain to think about while at the gym.

            To me, it's a question of taking the kinds of pain apart as best you can, and then discovering which is primary.
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat


            • #7
              Love all the advice around here....

              please start with calling your vet... in the long run, you'll spend less time and money if you have someone who is knowledgeable take a look. Hocks can be ruled out rather quickly with a good lameness exam. Soreness over the withers and thoracic spine can indicate many things from poor saddle fit to stomach ulcers... so have someone knowledgeable take a look. It will be much less frustrating for you in the long run rather then throwing money at a random guesses that may or may not fix the supposed problem -supplements are not cheap - spend the money up front on the vet - you'll have your horse back to work and himself much sooner then if you go experimenting!


              • #8
                I agree with getting a vet out to take a look. However, I'll give you another take on WHY he might be sore. I know that when I have some time off (from riding, or exercise or whatever), I get very stiff and sore (I am right now, since I've been sitting on my butt eating for two days! ). Several of the horses in my care, especially the horses with some mileage and who are kept pretty fit, can get pretty grumpy and sore after a little time off. Most of the time the horses (and myself) usually work out of it over a few days of gentle legging up, and sometimes a little anti-inflammatories are used to help the process along (me included). Stretching and massage helps, too, for some.

                What you MIGHT be seeing is him just being stiff, sore, bored, and grumpy from his vacation. But since you are unaccustomed to the behavior, you'd be better off having him seen by the vet. I know which horses get sore, where they get sore, and how they get sore when they've had time off, but if I encountered the issue you're having with a horse who that was unusual for, I'd be getting them to the vet.