Kissing Spine: The Beginning

On February 17, 2020 Fiona was diagnosed with Kissing Spine.

When Fiona officially became my horse I started her on a regular training schedule. Occasionally while under saddle she would start bucking and throwing a fit so I had a saddle fitter come out to see if my saddle was causing any discomfort.  Low and behold, it was in fact causing some pinching. After looking into different options and trialing multiple saddles [shoutout to Sam’s Saddles – now located in Aiken, SC], I proceeded with having a custom saddle made in hopes her antics would cease with a proper fit.

They did not. 

They were getting worse the more she worked.

I decided it was time to do some investigating into what could be causing her severe reactions. The x-rays were clear, she had Kissing Spine.

I heavily weighed our options, injections vs. surgery. With Fiona’s long term comfort and happiness in mind, I decided surgery was the best route to take if she was a qualified candidate for the procedure.

I got her an appointment to see a highly recommended surgeon in our area for the following week. During the appointment her back pain was evident.  When the vet palpated her back she let out a series of squeals and her hind legs went flying in the vet’s direction.  Not my proudest moment as a horse mom but I tell myself it was good for the vet to see her true reactions.  To be on the safe side I also had the vet ultrasound her ovaries and send out bloodwork to ensure her hormone levels were normal and there were no cysts present.  Both those tests came back clear.

2.5 weeks later she went back for surgery.  It all went wel and she had a total of 6 spinous processes shaved down.  My fire breathing dragon even got a raving post op report from the vet and they said she’s acting like she didn’t just undergo surgery.

Rehab for kissing spine surgery is extensive and ongoing, it also varies depending on which surgery was performed – ligament snip or bone shave.  If you and your horse are also going through this, drop your story in the comments I would love to hear about it!  Please also keep in mind every rehab plan is slightly different and no two horses are the same.  I am not a vet, I’m simply following the plan given to me specifically for Fiona’s case.  Always stick to your vet and trainer’s recommendations during your horse’s rehab.

We have a ways to go but more than anything I’m so excited to see what Fiona can do and where she’ll be without the the pain in her back holding her talents at bay. 

Fiona’s first day back at the barn after surgery – 1 day post op

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