View Full Version : Kissing spine!!!

13-12-05, 10:23 PM
I am really heartbroken at the moment as my 6 year old warmblood has today been diagnosed with kissing spine. The last few weeks he has been getting really resistant going into canter and completely backing off. After having the back lady look at him i was not convinced he was suffering just general tightness and took him to the vets today for scans and x rays. He is going to be opperated on, on monday and the vet says very good prognosis for him. Anybody got any information on this or previous experiences? Many thanks in advance!!!

13-12-05, 10:26 PM
a while ago i heard alot about it and the prognosis is generally good.
don't worry

he should be fine

13-12-05, 10:28 PM
Katy had an eventer for a while who had kissing spine. As long as we warmed him up slowly and did loads of long and low work he was fabulous and jumped XC like a stag
Good luck

14-12-05, 10:30 AM
I dont really know anything about kissing spine but i know how you are feeling so i just wanted to offer you my sympathys and wish you and your boy good luck.

Keep us informed of how he is x

14-12-05, 11:00 AM
oh my god ,fingers crossed for the opp

14-12-05, 03:32 PM
TBH do you mind if I give you my personal opinion..I dont know the situation but it looks as though your vet is really rushing into things? If your horse has been going badly for just a few weeks then maybe you should have a good go with some physio/chiropractor/osteopath/remedial farrier etc before you resort to the op. I feel the op should only be something that is done 'as a last resort' when all other avenues have been extensively explored.
Your vet is prob making a good few grand out of doing this operation!

Happy Horse
14-12-05, 03:40 PM
It depends on the severity of the impingement. If it is onl very mild then osteo or steroids can help. If it is severe, the only permanent solution is surgery.

14-12-05, 03:48 PM
I have to agree with you Seabiscuit. My vet and farrier recently did a study into horses with negative sole planes and their findings showed that the angle of the subject animals hips could be corrected by balancing their skeletal alignment through proper trimming / shoeing, taking pressure off the spine, and allowing the psoas (sp) major ligament to function correctly. They believe it could be a major factor in many horses diagnosed with kissing spines.

14-12-05, 05:52 PM
I quite agree that this could be a major cause for kissing spines sally, or any other major lameness. Im certain that my horse developed kissing spines through bad farriery. Farrier just let the heel become lower and lower and the toe longer and longer. He has long pasterns so the collapsed heel was causing a lot of strain on the pasterns and therefore the rest of the body. He could hardly move properley after being shod and this would have all caused him to 'hold' his back and cause tension in his body ,eventually showing severe symptons of kissing spines. I now box him over to be shod by a remedial farrier every week costing over 100 every 5 weeks, because he has to undo all the damage done by the previous farrier, and get those heels up and toes shorter to take the pressure of the whole body.Now all the spasm in his back has completley gone.(with the help of physio/chiro etc as well to undo rest of damage)
They do say, no foot, no horse, nobody should ever forget that!!

H's mum
15-12-05, 08:38 AM
Hi Caritas
Please don't panic - I know of lots of horses who are now happily competing following KS surgery - My own tb was the first KS op at Liverpool - (this is going back a LONG time and you can imagine how much surgery/procedure has changed since) but let me tell you - he COMPLETELY changed (He was always a sweet horse but he appeared "psycho" when ridden) - Horses with KS struggle going into canter from trot - they are usually lame in more than one leg as they compensate for their pain - Jasper (my tb) plaited his hind legs instead of trotting straight - KS horses tend to be "explosive" too - complete spasm's of bucking etc but following his operation he was a dream to ride - totally happy!

I will wish you all the best for the operation on Monday - I will be thinking of you.
Kate x

15-12-05, 08:51 AM
Hi Seabiscuit. It's so good to hear that your boy is improving under the care and attention he's being given. If only more people realised the damage that can be done by bad farriery, and not just to the feet! Too few realised just how foot imbalance affects the entire horse.

We have a livery at our yard whose horse is struggling to cope and is clearly in pain. It's toes are so long and heels so low that it stands like a laminitic. The damage being done has been carefully explained to her on several occasions but her attitude is one of "well he's getting on bit now and I don't want to change anything". Just because he's a teenager does he not feel pain? Breaks my heart.

15-12-05, 11:21 AM
Hi there, and thankyou all so far for your replys. My horse is already shod by a remedial farrier and has had two sessions with a physio. After owning him for three years and knowing his quirks!! You know deep down when there is something more going on. Does anyone have any experiences of post op and the general outcome. Thanks again!!!

15-12-05, 11:24 AM
Thankyou personnally for your reply. My horse has been stuffy in canter transitions for weeks and really holding his back, real look of pain, humping and almost bronking when asked to canter, I knew the result before he was even x rayed, thanks for your kind words and thought, any more info please mail me.

H's mum
15-12-05, 02:08 PM
Not a problem - that's the good thing about this forum - there's always someone who has been through the same thing and understands how you feel - With me it was almost relief that there was a problem which could be rectified - and which transformed my horse into a wonderful ride! http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Any questions at all - just ask! http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
Kate x

15-12-05, 08:34 PM
Thankyou so much for your kind words, by the way, how is your boy doing?

17-01-07, 04:59 PM
my friends horse has just been diagnosed with the same thing! he is young and she noticed him becoming increasingly more reluctant to go forwards. He wasnt actually lame so she kept on getting his back done and he would improve for about 2 weeks and this went on for about 8 months. The vets couldnt find anything as the horse wasnt lame so he went for a scan and it was from that the horse was diagnosed with kissing spine. Aparantly there are different grades and there are injections to move the 2bones wider apart so the horse can lead a normal life. It may be the injection is only needed the once in the horses lifetime, so keep ypur hopes up. Also there is a 5star eventer with kissing spine, so that just proves horses with this can lead normal and even competition lives.

19-06-07, 12:32 PM
Hi everyone

Sorry to drag this post up again, I was googling "kissing spines operations" and it came up as one of the results.

My horse has recently been diagnosed with Kissing spines. He was treated originally at a vet centre (I won't name it for legal reasons!) and I wasn't happy with the treatment I was given. His back was injected with Marcain (muscles surrounding spine) and his spine was injected with steroids. He was then further manupilated by an osteopath to increase his range of movement as he was very stiff through the back and reluctant to "bounce" or lift his back when working.

I was not happy with the outcome of the treatment as I felt I had been given no long term prognosis or route of improvement, more a "this is the problem, we can't fix it".

I took him for a second opinion at Willesley Equine Centre with Dr Svend E. Kold, some of you may know him - he is a specialist in backs and especially kissing spines surgery.

At this point the problem had run over a good few months.

They carried out a second opinion, taking more xrays and radiography to back up the original basic assesment they carried out (lunging/trotting up/visual assesment).

His prognosis was that there was an impingement of the dorsal vertebrae (T14 - T18) which at present was just performance limiting, but would soon become painful.

He reccomended going away and lunging in the pessoa for 6 weeks and then coming back to be reassesed. The most likely outcome is that he will have surgery to remove the proximal (top half) of proccesses T15 abd T17.

He said after care included 12 weeks box rest, the latter 6 introducing pessoa work.

To those who have undergone the surgery - how did you find the aftercare and how long did it take for your horse to return to full fitness?
I appreciate that every horse is different, I would just like a general idea and any other comments on the operation that you would be willing to give.

Thanks for reading my little essay!!!

27-06-07, 06:42 PM
so relieved to read your messages. my exracer is only 5 and after a few months of nappy behaviour out and in school has had xrays and scans which reveal kissing spine. I think I would be happier for him to have the op as he started to behave quite dangerously throwing me right in the air! he has had injections and lots of physio and shock wave but this only seems temporary. Am I being unfair..is there still a chance that he wont be able to be ridden.. like all of you I have a lovely horse who has only changed through pain.

02-08-07, 12:54 PM
I have just found this thread as I have just had my 8 year old horse referred to the Willesly Clinic following the back person and my vet not being able to find the causes of my horse's bad behaviour. He has bucked a little going into canter since I got him 6 months ago, and finds going up and down hill difficult, but only sometimes. He is an ex racer of only 3 races in Ireland and has been in private hands for 3 or 4 years. Now he has started bronking for no apparent reason, and is really serious about it, having had me and another better rider off in about 10 seconds. I am now afraid to get on. He hates being lunged or going in the round pen, and bucks, plunges and generally runs away until he finally settles down, then he goes nicely untill you change rein then the whole thing starts again. Some of this may be him being fresh but not all. He never moves on, as this behaviour is repeated every time, even though we end on a good note each time.
I really hope they find something tangible to explain his behaviour, as he is otherwise a lovely horse who deserves to have a settled and loving home.

04-08-07, 04:37 PM
Hello, Posting here from North Carolina, USA. I found your Forum through Google.

My horse has had a "floating lameness" from one leg to the next for 3-4 weeks, 10 days ago he became lame in the left hind but is only lame with a rider on him. At first it was a "2" on a 1-5 scale. Now he is a "5". He is unable to even put his foot down or pull his leg forward when turning left.

Friends have suggested Kissing Spine.

He has a new farrier (2 shoeings) who likes a long toe, low heel. His right foot is slightly clubby anyway and now there is an 11* difference between the 2 feet. http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif, mainly because of the lowering of the L front.

He has none of the rank behavior other horses seem to exhibit, though. He was chiropracted 3 weeks ago. Nothing wrong. He had deep tissue massage 2 weeks ago. Both of these ministrations occurred before the acute lameness set in.

He is 4 weeks post shoeing and is scheduled to be shod next week at 5 weeks. However, I need to find a new farrier. I am a wuss at these things, but the welfare of the horse comes before my wussiness at firing the farrier who is "2nd only unto God" around here.

Can anyone with experience with KS offer an opinion? I am in the country and my vet does not have a lot of background in this. I know he will send me to the state veterinary college for massive tests ($$$$$) automatically, and I would like to become informed ahead of time.

Thanks in advance from an overseas friend.

10-10-07, 07:47 PM
hi, my 8yr old T/B has kissing spines. he came out of work in may when i went to put a saddle on his back and went mad, sent him to leahurst where he ahd scans and allsorts to find he had KS, but also had a fractured rib to which i dont know how he got it as there was no wounds to say how he had done it.
so he was sent home to rest for the rib to repair which took 3 months, he still woundnt accept the saddle so went back to leahurst and they said he was just being sensative because he had got it into his head that it was just going to hurt him so we were then sent away with some medication to desensatize him which i was not happy about and i didnt give it to him as i thought that it was just masking what was there.
i got intouch with my own vet who then offered to give him a nerve block to see where the problem was which i kept telling them it was in the wither area because i couldnt girth him up, he showed me the xrays from leahurst and you could clearly see where the problem was but leahurst didnt even tell me the right area.
so he had his nerve block done and a sterid injection put in the affected area aswell, he still reacted as if he was in pain but he wasnt because of the nerve block so some of it is now in his head, bought him home for a month to lunge him and not touch his back at all to let him forget about it all. got a rug on him for the first time in ages and it didnt bother himm so the steriod has worked, hoorray. so we know the area is the T11, T12 and T13, he is going to be opperated on but im really worried about the after care how have people coped with it? would be gratefull to hear from anyone that has had a horse that has had the op, and any kind of advice you can give me. since having the steriod in his back he is lunging so nice and free at the moment he is a changed horse, but this isnt a long term fix. look forward to hearing from you all anita, and my lovely boy OZ x

01-04-09, 08:50 PM
Kaismom, I am in exactly the same position as you: my 6-year-old Akhal-Teke gelding has just been diagnosed with kissing spines and going to be referred to Dr Svend Kold. It looks like he will have to have surgery. A complete shock but all makes sense now - not wanting to go into canter in the school, backing off contact, trying to off-seat riders by making this weird bronking movement with his back. I wish I had him checked sooner, we were just attributing his behaviour to his temperament. Poor horse. He was only recently gelded and we had semen collected but now I am not sure if it is safe to breed from him. He is a lovely horse but if it is hereditary, it would be irresponsible to breed from him. Anyone knows whether kissing spines is passed on? (I am new to this forum, was looking for information about kissing spines and came across this very informative thread. At least, I know we are not alone).

08-06-09, 08:54 AM
hi my horse goes for op on the 10 june for kissing spine,
he goes to leahurst. im a nervous wreck, im so scared, i love my boy so much. he has a lot of bone to remove and the op is going to last about 2hrs, hopefully under sedation. please any one been through the same .
thx vicky

08-06-09, 09:14 AM
hi my boy goes to leahurst tom, his op is on 10 june im a nervous wreck. he has alot of bone to remove. the op will take about 2hrs hopefully under sedation. Any body else been to leahurst my vet is peter milnor. im so worried about the pain after ect, i love my horse so much.any help please.

27-09-10, 10:22 PM
Any updates on Kissing Spines ???

27-09-10, 11:27 PM
My 5yr old has just been diagnosed with KS. Just two bones, almost touching when at a stand still, and they are right under where the saddle sits.

She has been reluctant to go forward, walks down hills like a tin soldier but is only lame when ridden.

On the x-ray you could clearly see the two bits of spine too close together whereas the rest were equally spread apart.

The vet injected anaesthetic in between the 2 spiny processes and then I had to ride my mare again to see if she improved. She didn't. She was almost worse. She had always been happy to canter, and sound at that pace, but after the jab, getting canter was nigh on impossible on both reins, and she was clearly not happy.

She has never bronced on had any violent reaction to being ridden like most do who have Kissing Spine - bless her!

So, she's on a 10 day Bute trial now, to see whether the after-jab reluctance to go forward was memory related. I have only had time to ride her once since the first Bute sachet on Friday night, but that ride was a revelation. She had the spring in her step that she's never had before, could bend round the corners and stepped her hinds underneath rather than dragging them along.

Great! Except that I fear this means there is an added problem other than that one pair of Kissing Spines.

The vet said that the next move would be a Bone Scan... at a cost of 1k - gulp! Would this be the one where they inject them with a radioactive substance? Assume she will have to stay at the vets? Anyone know how long for? And whether this scan will scan the whole body or just parts of it?

At the moment we don't know whether the additional problem is in her back, neck or pelvis. I am very worried :(

07-01-11, 10:16 PM
Surely insurance company would pay for it ?

05-09-11, 11:26 PM
http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/picture.php?albumid=2212&pictureid=11806 This is my horse who had suspected kissing spines which turned out to be even worse - his spine is completely warped and twisted, they couldn't even operate. But with the correct work this is what he can do now! Amazing things can be achieved with the right exercises in-hand, on the lunge and eventually under saddle. Check out Straightness Training by Marijke de Jong. We also used Kavalkade Rein publicised by Laura Bechtolsheimer.

07-09-11, 12:52 AM
Wow what a great outcome and stunning horse.. This is an insperation to all horsey folk out there going through difficult times with our horses :D

07-09-11, 05:36 PM
Have a look on page 6 of this veterinary section . You will see that I made a post called kissing spine update.

My mare had her op just over a year ago and is absolutely fine now. Do not panic, this operation is becoming more routine now with great success. My mare had 4 dorsal spineous processes removed. If you would like any help or advice just pm me and I would be happy to tell you my experience.