Here at Battle Flatts Mike Jones BVetMed CertEP MRCVS has had considerable experience of manipulating horses’ backs and alleviating the discomfort caused by a range of problems.
Once back pain is diagnosed and concurrent conditions have been eliminated, it is often possible to manage back pain with a combination of controlled exercise, physiotherapy and, if required, anti-inflammatory medication. However successful management of these cases often requires close co-operation between the veterinary surgeon and the physiotherapist and/or chiropractor to ensure that any manipulation is not going to exacerbate the condition rather than cure it!
Back problems in horses can show themselves in a number of ways, from a general unwillingness to move in a certain way or to work “on the bit”, discomfort when fitting a saddle and even bucking and rearing when ridden. Head shaking can also be an indication that all is not well in a horses’ back
Whilst back pain is not the only disorder that can cause many of these symptoms, it is often worth exploring as one avenue of treatment.
Although it is impossible for a horse to “put out” part of its spinal column without causing major damage to the vertebrae, considerable pain can arise from entrapment of spinal nerves and ‘kissing spines’.
What should I do if I suspect my horse has a back problem?
Because of the wide range of clinical syndromes that can also manifest as perceived back problems, it is always wise to obtain veterinary advice before proceeding with investigation of back pain. Whilst there are a number of qualified and capable physiotherapists and chiropractors, certain conditions can be made considerably worse by the often unqualified and unskilled ministrations of “the back man”. There is no doubt that back pain in horses does exist and can cause considerable difficulties for both horse and rider, but it should always be assessed in parallel with any other clinical syndromes the animal may be suffering. If you have any concerns please contact us on 01759 371066.