Back pain in horses is a difficult problem, because the symptoms can be so diverse.
You can read more detailed information about back pain on our “education” page.
In essence, any back pain evaluation is comparable to a full lameness exam. We will take 1-2 hours to fully asses your horse in stance, motion and sometimes under saddle. We will evaluate your tack and saddle fit to evaluate the possibility of interference of the tack with muscles and skeletal parts of the back.
The benefit of a full exam is that we will be able to determine if the back pain is a primary back pain, caused by a painful process in the spinal structures, or a secondary back pain, caused by an initial lameness of the limbs.
That means that sometimes we need diagnostic imaging of the limbs (X-ray and ultrasound), while in other cases just imaging of the spine will be sufficient.
In some cases we need more imaging than X-rays of ultrasound. In these cases we will use the imaging services of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of MSU, just 7 miles north of our location for scintigraphy (bone scan), CT or MRI. Of course we can refer you to any other facility with these modalities when you have a clear preference.
We will always discuss all imaging options, their costs and their benefits with you so you will be in charge of any decision to use more imaging techniques.