Home › Treatment of Horses with Spinal Problems

Treatment of back problems is far more complicated than getting a few joints to pop and crack or soothing a tight muscle.

It involves identification of the major causes of the spinal soreness – the location of the affected vertebrae and/or muscles, and the determination of the cause of the soreness or restriction.

Once identified, the problem needs to be rectified as much as possible within the bounds of the associated arthritis. This often involves the use of chiropractic adjustment (a specific sort of manipulation of individual joints) and acupuncture, and may involve massage, exercises and other therapies.

The underlying cause of the problem may require changes to saddle fitting, hoof care, shoeing, dental care, horse’s posture, exercise regimes, diet, horse’s behaviour, rider’s posture and horse use.

In some cases drugs, which aid the healing of the cartilage of arthritic joints, may be indicated (eg Pentosan or Cartrophen).

Pentosan Sulfate (“Pentosan” and “Cartrophen”) is a drug that can be useful in treating spinal problems. It aids the healing of the joints by improving the health of the cartilage cells and increasing the water buffer between the collagen fibres that make up the cartilage of the joints. ie it adds to the spring and resilience of the joints. Improving the health of the joints helps to remove the pain coming from the joints of the spine and limbs and thus frees up the movement of the horse. Clinical impressions are that this drug is much more beneficial if the spinal mobility faults are improved before its use.