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Kissing Spines – Kiss of Death?

28 December 2011 One Comment

Kissing Spines

Kissing spines is a condition in which two or more vertebrae in a horse's back rub together and cause discomfort, and in some cases, extreme pain.

Does your horse have kissing spines?

The symptoms of kissing spines include a horse's reluctance to jump or round their back, unpredictable behavior, and extreme stiffness. The horse may show signs of discomfort when tightening the girth, putting on a saddle, or brushing or rubbing their spine.

How is it diagnosed?

Taking an x-ray image of your horse's back can confirm kissing spines. However, many horses may show physical signs of kissing spines while not always being bothered by them, so it is always difficult to tell if their kissing spines are the source of their problems. One way, although not completely fool-proof, of testing this is by injecting the area with cortisone and watching for improvement.

Can it be treated?

There are many ways in which kissing spines can be managed, and every horse is different. Some experts recommend prolonged rest. Others recommend constant cortisone injections. Some horse owners comment that lunging techniques like the Pessoa Lunging System help strengthen the back muscles along the vertebrae. Another option is surgery, where the doctor shaves down part of the vertebrae to where they're no longer touching. Surgery requires at least 6 months rest and rehab, but horses generally recover by to their old selves. Because a strong toppling is very important to dressage horses, surgery seems the most viable option.

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Time Remaining: 8h 40m
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Time Remaining: 8h 40m
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One Comment »

  • Carol said:

    My friend’s horse was recently diagnosed with kissing spines. It’s good to hear that there’s hope!

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