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What Is Kissing The Spine?

What Is Kissing The Spine?

Kissing spines, sometimes called overlapping or impinging dorsal spinous processes, refers to the spine’s vertebrae from the withers to the hip’s point. These bones either touch or have less room between them in a kissing spine, which is painful. Common symptoms of back discomfort include feeling back or having the saddle on it when riding.

How Can I Recognize A Kissing Spine In My Horse?

Several various symptoms, such as the following, are clinical indicators of kissing spine:

  • Back discomfort caused by pressure on nearby muscles and the spine
  • Abnormalities in a horse’s behavior, such as refusing to move forward, hesitating when jumping, bucking, or generally poor performance.
  • We have weak back and hindquarters muscles.
  • Additional compensatory secondary problems can include slight hindlimb lameness or sacroiliac discomfort.

How Do You Make A Diagnosis?

This indicates any locations of bone reaction (whiter parts of bone) or bone contact that may be causing discomfort.

Do All Horses With Kissing Spines Experience Pain?

Not necessarily; some horses may not exhibit any symptoms of back pain or poor performance but may still have a restricted range of motion in that region, which may lead to additional problems.

What Other Factors Cause Back Pain?

Though kissing the spine is the most common cause of back discomfort, an uncomfortable saddle or compensatory soreness when hindlimb lameness is present can also produce muscular pain throughout the back.

What should be done about Kissing Spine?

The treatment is divided into two categories: medical management and surgery.

The goal of medical treatment is to make the horse comfortable by injecting steroids into the spaces between the spinous processes and the surrounding musculature.

Before introducing pole lunging and riding practice, we use a pessoa or a similar setup to improve back rounding and rising.

When medical therapy only modestly improves a patient’s health, or when X-rays or pain levels drastically change, surgery is frequently recommended.

The first procedure, known as an interspinous ligament dichotomy, decompresses or dissects the interspinous ligament, which connects the compression sites.

Horses’ Spines Being Kissed

In horses, back pain is very typical. It may be secondary, such as muscular pain brought on by an uncomfortable saddle, low-grade lameness that causes muscle strain, a limited gait, or a loss of top line, or it may be mainly, involving the bones in the spine.

Overriding or invading dorsal spinous processes, often referred to as Kissing Spines, induce primary back discomfort. Gaps between the spinous processes of the horse’s vertebral column are shortened by this disease. The disruption of the ligament between the processes and the bone-to-bone contact in some horses can cause pain.

What Symptoms Indicate Kissing Spines?

Their response can range from a very slight backward dip to full-blown bucking. A horse’s inability to lift its back and jump in an arc or outline may also contribute to poor performance.

A weak top line and undeveloped epaxial muscles are common in horses with kissing spines. A dipping back is the result of a bad top line. This causes the gaps between the dorsal spinous processes to further close, and a vicious cycle, therefore, begins to form.

How Is Kissing Spine Identified?

The diagnosis of impinging dorsal spinous processes requires a physical clinical examination and back X-rays. While some horses may protect their entire back, kissing spine horses tend to become reactive over specific parts of the back. As many horses will normally compete with a degree of bony remodeling present on radiographs. It is also crucial to evaluate the clinical significance of any radiographic changes by observing the horse’s response to either local anesthesia between the affected dorsal spinous processes or clinical improvement to the medication of the spinous methods with corticosteroids.

How Is Kissing Spine Handled?

The afflicted dorsal spinous processes will be medicated, and the top-line muscle will be strengthened and built through rehabilitation exercises and physiotherapy. It is possible to develop and strengthen the top-line muscle, which raises the back and enlarges the gaps between the spinous processes. By doing this, you lessen the pain that comes with kissing your spine, but you must also receive anti-inflammatory medication.

When back pain medications are ineffective or the effects of the treatment are transient, surgical solutions may be necessary. These can include an interspinous ligament dichotomy, a minimally invasive procedure that involves severing the ligament that runs through the dorsal spinous processes.

Because both procedures are performed while the patient is sedated and standing, your veterinarian can advise you on which is best for your horse. Similar to medical therapy, any surgical procedures also require post-operative rehabilitation to help strengthen and improve your horse’s topline.

What Is The Current Consensus Regarding Kissing Spines?

Kissing spines, often referred to as Dorsal Spinous Process (DSP) impingement or over-riding dorsal spinous processes, is a problem in horses that results in back pain, poor or diminished performance, and occasionally mild lameness. However, many horses might have kissing spines without any overt signs. The goal of this article is to discuss the most recent theories regarding the illness. 

On the horse’s back, there are six lumbar vertebrae in front of the pelvis, five fused sacral vertebrae, and often 18 thoracic vertebrae. Each of these vertebrae has a DSP that protrudes upward from the vertebral body. The DSP is what you feel when you touch the horse’s back along the midline. 

Depending on the location of the spine, the DSPs’ height might range from 2-3 inches to 9 inches. In typical horses, there should be a 3-6mm gap between the summits (the top) of these DSPs. A powerful interspinous ligament fills this gap. The supraspinatus ligament is a supplementary ligament that extends along the tops of the DSPs. 

In horses with kissing spinous processes, the vertebral tops are closer together than they should be. The seat of the saddle region is almost invariably the location of the damage, frequently near the fifteenth thoracic dorsal spinous process. Thoroughbreds appear to experience kissing spinous processes more frequently than any other breed. 

How Might Horses With Kissing Spinous Processes Present Themselves?

Poor performance is the most common finding. A horse’s reduced jumping ability, hesitancy to jump, lack of drive and impulsion, and slight hindlimb lameness may suggest this. Some horses (but not all) will exhibit back pain symptoms, while others may struggle or balk when saddled and occasionally rear and buck. Long-standing cases may cause some of the horse’s topline (muscles on either side of the spine) to vanish.

What Method Is Used To Make The Diagnosis?

All other possible causes of hindlimb lameness should be ruled out before diagnosing kissing spines. The results of a basis based entirely on palpation and resentment of manipulation of the horse’s back are frequently inaccurate.

Because abnormal radiography findings do not necessarily indicate that a horse has kissing spines, nuclear scintigraphy (bone scan) is recommended.

By doing this, it is also possible to ascertain whether there is concurrent articular facet disease. By administering local anesthesia to the affected area and watching the horse’s response, the veterinarian can verify radiographic characteristics and responsiveness.

Possibilities For Treatment.

Surgery and non-surgery are the two main types of treatment available for the illness. In either scenario, it’s critical to build up the horse’s topline to support the bony column.

Equine physiotherapy and activity modification that strengthens the topline are possible with this drug in place. 

Resecting the DSPs which entails removing the entire summit and transecting through the area between the kissing spines involves two popular techniques. Depending on how bad the illness is at the time of diagnosis, both operations have a variety of possible outcomes.

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