KISSING SPINES TREATMENT OPTIONS
Back surgery is fairly common in people, but in horses surgical intervention is generally reserved for only one back-pain related diagnosis: “kissing” spines.
A condition in which arthritic changes or other injuries cause the dorsal (upright) processes of the vertebrae to come into contact with each other, kissing spines usually affects the thoracic vertebrae, which are located under the saddle area. However, it can be difficult to determine whether the bone contact actually causes pain— many horses whose x-rays show significant impingement may never show any indication of discomfort. In others, the pressure on the bones causes local muscle spasms and/or pinched nerves, resulting in excruciating pain for the horse.
A variety of treatments are used to relieve discomfort caused by kissing spines, including anti-inflammatory or analgesic injections, shockwave therapy and chiropractic manipulation. But in some cases surgery may be recommended. Currently, there are two basic types of kissing spines surgery: in one, portions of the overlapping/ impinging bone are removed, and in the other, called interspinous ligament desmopathy (ISLD), a spinal ligament is cut so that the vertebrae can ease apart. Both procedures are the subject of ongoing research but so far have produced promising results.
IMPINGEMENT: In kissing spines, portions of the vertebrae come into contact with each other.