ALWAYS go with your gut. Anyone with KS experiences?

Elvis

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So Elvis has just been diagnosed with KS, it's pretty mild and effects two vertebrae, but at both the top and bottom. Plan is 2 weeks field rest on bute to hopefully relieve the muscle which is in spasm. Then injections into the vertebrae. Then 4 more weeks on bute and field rest. Then walking in hand, and physio, then back to ridden work. Re-scan during ridden work and then continue to build fitness. Vet is hopeful of a full return to work- which was eventing at PN level. I asked about surgery but the vet believes the injections will be enough since the case is mild, but does expect he'll need yearly injections. Has anyone got experiences of KS without surgery.

Although obviously this is sad news, at least the bone scan, x-rays and ultrasound revealed that aside from 2 vertebrae, Elvis is in brilliant condition. Legs are fab, as is the rest of his back, so that's good. I have a 95% perfect horse physically!

Now the follow your gut bit; at the end of last summer I felt something wasn't right with Elvis, he was never lame, but I knew he wasn't 100% comfortable. I pursued every professional and Elvis was prodded and poked more times than most horses in their entire life. No-one could find anything of any note- it was concluded that I wasn't riding him forward enough and he was just weak behind. I keep pushing for more investigations- but over time started to doubt myself. The vets weren't finding anything, and my instructors were telling me I was searching for a problem that didn't exist. Elvis' increasingly naughty behaviour was put down to me backing off him, and that he was just a young bored TBx. After X-rays, my vet and instructors advised I just accepted that Elvis was physically fine and just wasn;t the right horse for me anymore, so I put him on sales livery, but even then at the back of my mind I knew there was a reason. So that's a lesson learned, we as owners know our horses best, if you are convinced all is not well keep pursuing it- if I had pushed for the next investigation- a bone scan it would have then been revealed. Instead my horse went on for another 6 weeks before the pro that was schooling him got the vet out.
 

Slightlyconfused

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My wb mare has KS. We brought her as seen from a feild as a project to bring on. She was a hat rack and scared of things round her head and didn't know how to pick her hooves up.
she was 9 at the time

took us a year to reback her, doing slow and never rushing. After some ridden time we gave her a few months off to just think and chill and then brought her back into work. During this time we had sorted ger head shyness and could get bridle on in her own way.
but she was always very tense to ride and would rear when under pressure or just out of the blue. She did get better but after a few falls and her not looking like she was progressing we decided to send her to a pro to carry on but first i got my vet to look at her just yo see if it was pain or fear of pain response.

he started with back xrays as its less invasive than scoping first. He felt along her back and cant remember what said but i knew then it would be KS.

she has four vertebrae completely fused under back of the saddle and four just before that that were just touching at the top so will prob be fused by now as its been a year and a half.
we along with the vets advise we haven't done surgery or injections as she is only in pain when she is ridden. She would not cope with the recovery and we think she would always remember the pain.

she is now happy as a feild ornament and will be doing some inhand showing this year.
she does ride and lead off my other boy well so she still gets to do something but she is happy with her life.

i hope the treatment works for your boy.
 

skint1

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My daughter had a similar feeling about her boy toward the back end of last year, she was actually accused of making it up by her sharer and some of the liveries, but it turned out he had some issues in his back and hocks, treatment and rehab was long and drawn out
 

Luce85

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We had one with severe kissing spines, and our vet still recommended the injections. He has the injections every 6 months or so, after being jabbed he would be on the walker and lunged for 4 days then would happily compete after that.

We knew when he needed jabbing again when his behaviour dipped slightly, would cost about £500 per time. He felt great, had no trouble, went back out jumping up to 125ms and felt good for it.

He is now happily retired in the field after being a fantastic boy!

I hope your boys treatment works well :)
 

Elvis

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We had one with severe kissing spines, and our vet still recommended the injections. He has the injections every 6 months or so, after being jabbed he would be on the walker and lunged for 4 days then would happily compete after that.

We knew when he needed jabbing again when his behaviour dipped slightly, would cost about £500 per time. He felt great, had no trouble, went back out jumping up to 125ms and felt good for it.

He is now happily retired in the field after being a fantastic boy!

I hope your boys treatment works well :)

Thank you, that sounds positive! I'm hoping because Elvis' case is mild he'll only need them once every 12 months. How long was your boy having the injections for? And did they decrease in effectiveness over time?
 

TarrSteps

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I'm sorry to hear you've had drama but it seems you might have a manageable situation, which is decent news. My experience with horses with KS and similar is, unhelpfully, varied. There are so many degrees and permutations, you really have to take it on a case by case business.

Out of curiosity, if you don't mind me asking, did the instructors who dismissed your initial concerns ever ride the horse thoroughly? And what was it that led the pro who rode Elvis most recently to insist on a vet? I'm frankly amazed at the number of instructors (or others) who dismiss a rider/owner's.concern without putting their own seat in the saddle. True, skilled observation is very useful, but you can often feel things before you see them and a good trainer should be even better placed to contribute to this body of information. Not to mention that if the behaviour is difficult, it's much easier to assess from the saddle.
 

Luce85

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Ooh, he had them for about 4 or 5 years I think it was, he could happily still be going now but he has done more than enough for us so he is living the high life!

No not really, the one winter he had them slightly sooner than usual but nothing that serious. We didn't notice a decrease in the effectiveness of them anyway, I would really recommend them to anyone!
 

Pearlsasinger

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I have no experience of KS to my knowledge but am a firm believer in 'go with your gut'. I think that when we know an animal well we pick up on what they are trying to tell us. Then unfortunately our rational selves talk us out of that knowledge until the professionals prove it, often months down the line.
 

TandD

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Yes my boy has 6 vertebra touching, he has only had injections. His case is very bad, and they will in the end all fuse together. It took a good few months for me to convince anyone that anything was wrong, but when found everyone couldn't believe that I hadn't had a serious accident off of him due to the severity of the ks. This is coming up 3 years ago now, he only had 2 bouts of injections at the beginning and has not needed any since, but we do keep up VERY regular physio!!!

Here's a good part! Since being treated and diagnosed he has gone on to compete at BD regionals and area festivals, being well placed, has moved up and progressed in his training and is all round a much better horse. So don't loose hope, now you know what you are dealing with you can find ways of overcoming what he throws at you.

It is imperative you listen to him. He will tell you what he needs.
I have learnt with my horse that in winter he must have on two exercise sheets and a turnout hood if I want to ride him.....yes it seems extreme but it works for him....he also has to have at least 10mins walking on a long rein before anything else. He gets all food off the floor.

Well done for sticking by Elvis...... I know it's very hard when you have poured your heart and soul into a horse and it seems all is lost! Don't give up on him yet as it is possible to bring them back to what they have been doing!
 

Bernster

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Really good Facebook page if you're not on it already - horses with kissing spine
 

Elvis

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I'm sorry to hear you've had drama but it seems you might have a manageable situation, which is decent news. My experience with horses with KS and similar is, unhelpfully, varied. There are so many degrees and permutations, you really have to take it on a case by case business.

Out of curiosity, if you don't mind me asking, did the instructors who dismissed your initial concerns ever ride the horse thoroughly? And what was it that led the pro who rode Elvis most recently to insist on a vet? I'm frankly amazed at the number of instructors (or others) who dismiss a rider/owner's.concern without putting their own seat in the saddle. True, skilled observation is very useful, but you can often feel things before you see them and a good trainer should be even better placed to contribute to this body of information. Not to mention that if the behaviour is difficult, it's much easier to assess from the saddle.

Thank you, yes I've heard so many different outcomes, I'm just hoping mines a good one. The vet seems positive, and they are usually quite guarded in their prognosis.

My instructors never rode Elvis, one was pregnant so had stopped riding horses other than her own. And the other instructor who was more involved didn't sit on him, I did ask, she never really gave a reason why she wouldn't. Later when I asked the yard to school him for me, they used their working pupil, who wasn't a bad rider-better than me for sure, but still an amateur. She thought he felt fine but she wasn't the kind of rider to pick up on subtlety.

He just said one day he felt uncomfortable, and the next he was worse, luckily a vet stables at the same yard so he had a look at Elvis and we went from there. The pro did note that Elvis never really pushed from behind but he had no reason not to believe that this wasn't normal for Elvis. And I do think the fact that the pro rides very correctly had helped to mask some symptoms. I asked the vet why Elvis had suddenly become noticeably uncomfortable to the pro and he explained that the muscle had gone into spasm, which can happen at any point.
And yes I agree, from the ground Elvis did just look like a horse with a weak hind end that was lazy. To me under saddle, he felt cold backed when mounted, and then constantly reluctant to move forward. And extremely difficult to work correctly. I'm no great rider, but I couldn't get anything out of him, but could hope on other horses I didn't know and get better results out of them. It was also frustrating that his bad behaviour was blamed on him being naughty when I expect he was actually in pain. I feel very guilty about it all.
 

Elvis

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Ooh, he had them for about 4 or 5 years I think it was, he could happily still be going now but he has done more than enough for us so he is living the high life!

No not really, the one winter he had them slightly sooner than usual but nothing that serious. We didn't notice a decrease in the effectiveness of them anyway, I would really recommend them to anyone!

Brilliant, thank you. Very pleased to hear that, Elvis is rising 8 so potentially has a long career ahead of him.
 

Elvis

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I have no experience of KS to my knowledge but am a firm believer in 'go with your gut'. I think that when we know an animal well we pick up on what they are trying to tell us. Then unfortunately our rational selves talk us out of that knowledge until the professionals prove it, often months down the line.

Yes, in future I'll always trust my gut. I may not be experienced, but I do know my horse better than anyone else.
 

Elvis

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Yes my boy has 6 vertebra touching, he has only had injections. His case is very bad, and they will in the end all fuse together. It took a good few months for me to convince anyone that anything was wrong, but when found everyone couldn't believe that I hadn't had a serious accident off of him due to the severity of the ks. This is coming up 3 years ago now, he only had 2 bouts of injections at the beginning and has not needed any since, but we do keep up VERY regular physio!!!

Here's a good part! Since being treated and diagnosed he has gone on to compete at BD regionals and area festivals, being well placed, has moved up and progressed in his training and is all round a much better horse. So don't loose hope, now you know what you are dealing with you can find ways of overcoming what he throws at you.

It is imperative you listen to him. He will tell you what he needs.
I have learnt with my horse that in winter he must have on two exercise sheets and a turnout hood if I want to ride him.....yes it seems extreme but it works for him....he also has to have at least 10mins walking on a long rein before anything else. He gets all food off the floor.

Well done for sticking by Elvis...... I know it's very hard when you have poured your heart and soul into a horse and it seems all is lost! Don't give up on him yet as it is possible to bring them back to what they have been doing!

Really glad to hear this, Elvis will definitely receive regular physio. There is a small part of me that thinks if he can do a PN event with untreated KS and do well, what could he do when he's comfortable!

Before we discovered the KS I had decided to sell him, because of his bad behaviour with no apparent medical reason. Now I'm thinking if he's comfortable maybe he'll behave better and I'll be able to keep him- I'd love that!
 

wench

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The bad point is now that you won't be able to sell him for along time... But guessing you know this anyway !
 

TarrSteps

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Thank you, yes I've heard so many different outcomes, I'm just hoping mines a good one. The vet seems positive, and they are usually quite guarded in their prognosis.

My instructors never rode Elvis, one was pregnant so had stopped riding horses other than her own. And the other instructor who was more involved didn't sit on him, I did ask, she never really gave a reason why she wouldn't. Later when I asked the yard to school him for me, they used their working pupil, who wasn't a bad rider-better than me for sure, but still an amateur. She thought he felt fine but she wasn't the kind of rider to pick up on subtlety.

He just said one day he felt uncomfortable, and the next he was worse, luckily a vet stables at the same yard so he had a look at Elvis and we went from there. The pro did note that Elvis never really pushed from behind but he had no reason not to believe that this wasn't normal for Elvis. And I do think the fact that the pro rides very correctly had helped to mask some symptoms. I asked the vet why Elvis had suddenly become noticeably uncomfortable to the pro and he explained that the muscle had gone into spasm, which can happen at any point.
And yes I agree, from the ground Elvis did just look like a horse with a weak hind end that was lazy. To me under saddle, he felt cold backed when mounted, and then constantly reluctant to move forward. And extremely difficult to work correctly. I'm no great rider, but I couldn't get anything out of him, but could hope on other horses I didn't know and get better results out of them. It was also frustrating that his bad behaviour was blamed on him being naughty when I expect he was actually in pain. I feel very guilty about it all.

Thanks very much for your considered reply. This is a bit of an 'area of professional interest' of mine. :)

I think the other issue with a horse of your own, especially in a progressive situation, is that both of you adapt and the horse can 'train' you a bit to accommodate the issue. I quite often get on horses that the regular rider can smooth over and go 'Ummmm, that's not really supposed to be like that!' Although I agree a very good, balanced rider can also make a horse look sounder, even be sounder, at least in short term.

Don't feel guilty, you did the best you could at the time and now, knowing more, you're able to do more. That's all any horse could ask.
 

TandD

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Really glad to hear this, Elvis will definitely receive regular physio. There is a small part of me that thinks if he can do a PN event with untreated KS and do well, what could he do when he's comfortable!

Before we discovered the KS I had decided to sell him, because of his bad behaviour with no apparent medical reason. Now I'm thinking if he's comfortable maybe he'll behave better and I'll be able to keep him- I'd love that!

Don't rush into things, but I hope you can! I've followed your posts and never thought that Elvis sounded like a badly behaved horse....just one trying to communicate something.

If you have an random questions, queries etc please just pm me! I know it can be quite daunting being faced with a problem like this and there are many things that just suddenly pop in your head!
 

Elvis

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The bad point is now that you won't be able to sell him for along time... But guessing you know this anyway !

Yes, it's fine. The most important thing was finding a good home, that's still the priority, whether he stays with me or goes elsewhere.
 

Elvis

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Thanks very much for your considered reply. This is a bit of an 'area of professional interest' of mine. :)

I think the other issue with a horse of your own, especially in a progressive situation, is that both of you adapt and the horse can 'train' you a bit to accommodate the issue. I quite often get on horses that the regular rider can smooth over and go 'Ummmm, that's not really supposed to be like that!' Although I agree a very good, balanced rider can also make a horse look sounder, even be sounder, at least in short term.

Don't feel guilty, you did the best you could at the time and now, knowing more, you're able to do more. That's all any horse could ask.

No problem.

It's very easy to be 'convinced' by others who are more experienced, but I think for issues that are very subtle the best person to explain them is the owner. The main thing that made me sure that something wasn't right was the change in him. I knew how good he could feel, and I just couldn't get my head around how he could become so reluctant to move forward and be 'cold backed' when he'd never been like that before.

But a very good rider can certainly make a horse more comfortable, especially I believe with back problems.
 

Elvis

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Don't rush into things, but I hope you can! I've followed your posts and never thought that Elvis sounded like a badly behaved horse....just one trying to communicate something.

If you have an random questions, queries etc please just pm me! I know it can be quite daunting being faced with a problem like this and there are many things that just suddenly pop in your head!

Thank you, I certainly will, I'm sure questions will pop up. That's the thing Elvis doesn't behave badly. In fact he's a very amenable horse. So his naughtiness was very out of character. I'm hoping if the injections are successful his naughty behaviour will dissapear.
 

cptrayes

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Unfortunately with mine the injections only lasted three weeks I think that's rare. And unfortunately, before the jabs he was only cold backed, after the pain was removed and then came back he bucked like stink.

If he doesn't cope, your horse sounds like a great case for the newer ligament cutting operation that mine had, which has a very short rehab.
 
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Pipistrelle

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I don't have experience of KS, but have had similar issues of just feeling that my boy isn't right. Over a course of a year and a half I've had numerous vets and physios look at him, but all have told me nothing is wrong. Like you Elvis, even my instructors more or less told me to shut up and get on with it because he was just 'lazy' or 'stubborn' or 'didn't like schooling'.

Last week, after being thrown off (very out of character for him), I finally found a vet who listened and next week he'll be having further tests for sacroiliac problems :( On the one hand I'm glad I went with my gut, stopped schooling and just hacked which he never seemed uncomfortable with, but on the other hand I wish I'd fought harder to be listened to in the beginning.

Best of luck with your horse's treatment. I know of a friend's horse who that option has worked well for :)

Pip.
 

Elvis

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Unfortunately with mine the injections only lasted three weeks I think that's rare. And unfortunately, before the jabs he was only cold backed, after the pain was removed and then came back he bucked like stink.

If he doesn't cope, your horse sounds like a great case for the newer ligament cutting operation that mine had, which has a very short rehab.

Thank you, I have heard of a few people who the injections haven't worked for. I did ask about the new ligament snip op, but the vet said that as the ligament on Elvis is entirely unaffected it wouldn't work. He also has the added complication of the bottom of the vertebrae being affected as well as the top.
 

Elvis

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I don't have experience of KS, but have had similar issues of just feeling that my boy isn't right. Over a course of a year and a half I've had numerous vets and physios look at him, but all have told me nothing is wrong. Like you Elvis, even my instructors more or less told me to shut up and get on with it because he was just 'lazy' or 'stubborn' or 'didn't like schooling'.

Last week, after being thrown off (very out of character for him), I finally found a vet who listened and next week he'll be having further tests for sacroiliac problems :( On the one hand I'm glad I went with my gut, stopped schooling and just hacked which he never seemed uncomfortable with, but on the other hand I wish I'd fought harder to be listened to in the beginning.

Best of luck with your horse's treatment. I know of a friend's horse who that option has worked well for :)

Pip.

I'm sorry to hear you are having similar issues. It's very demoralising having your instructors fighting against you. I felt very down trodden after it all. But well done for sticking with your guns and finding a vet who is willing to investigate further. It's been a big relief for me to find a vet who was proactive from the offset, it was less than 4 days from initial assessment to diagnosis. Has your horse had a bone scan? This is what finally gave us a conclusive answer with Elvis.
 

Wagtail

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Thank you, I have heard of a few people who the injections haven't worked for. I did ask about the new ligament snip op, but the vet said that as the ligament on Elvis is entirely unaffected it wouldn't work. He also has the added complication of the bottom of the vertebrae being affected as well as the top.

I don't think that your vet understands the ligament snip op. It doesn't matter whether the ligament is affected or not. What it does is to snip the ligament in between the spinal processes, not all the way through, just enough to lengthen it and allow the processes to move further apart.

It I a relatively new procedure and many vets are still not aware of it. None of the four vets at my practice had heard of it when I was asking them about it three years ago. Very disappointing really!
 

Elvis

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I don't think that your vet understands the ligament snip op. It doesn't matter whether the ligament is affected or not. What it does is to snip the ligament in between the spinal processes, not all the way through, just enough to lengthen it and allow the processes to move further apart.

It I a relatively new procedure and many vets are still not aware of it. None of the four vets at my practice had heard of it when I was asking them about it three years ago. Very disappointing really!

Hmm, that's interesting. Maybe he meant it wouldn't work because Elvis also has the bottom of the vertebrae affected too. It's quite a lot to take in and I'm not sure if I've got everything 100% correct. Did you go straight for the surgery? Was it successful?
 

Wagtail

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Hmm, that's interesting. Maybe he meant it wouldn't work because Elvis also has the bottom of the vertebrae affected too. It's quite a lot to take in and I'm not sure if I've got everything 100% correct. Did you go straight for the surgery? Was it successful?

The ligament Op was not suitable for my horse. He had ten processes touching and some were fused. He had the op to remove five processes. Sadly it did not return him to being ridden. He is now retired age 12.
 

Pipistrelle

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I'm sorry to hear you are having similar issues. It's very demoralising having your instructors fighting against you. I felt very down trodden after it all. But well done for sticking with your guns and finding a vet who is willing to investigate further. It's been a big relief for me to find a vet who was proactive from the offset, it was less than 4 days from initial assessment to diagnosis. Has your horse had a bone scan? This is what finally gave us a conclusive answer with Elvis.

My vet has done an initial assessment and agrees there is some tenderness over one side of the SI joint and that he's not working well from behind. She's going to do some nerve blocking next week and the bone scan will be the next step to determine how bad it is.

I know what you mean about feeling relief, I was also starting to doubt myself and feel like I was just being a pessimistic nuisance so it's good to find someone who finally agrees with me. Someone else mentioned earlier on about instructors riding the horse themselves, but neither of mine did and in hindsight I think this would have made quite a difference to their opinions.

Never mind. We're on the right tracks now :)

Pip.
 

Red-1

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It was also frustrating that his bad behaviour was blamed on him being naughty when I expect he was actually in pain. I feel very guilty about it all.

Yes, in future I'll always trust my gut. I may not be experienced, but I do know my horse better than anyone else.

Really glad to hear this, Elvis will definitely receive regular physio. There is a small part of me that thinks if he can do a PN event with untreated KS and do well, what could he do when he's comfortable!

Before we discovered the KS I had decided to sell him, because of his bad behaviour with no apparent medical reason. Now I'm thinking if he's comfortable maybe he'll behave better and I'll be able to keep him- I'd love that!

Thank you, I certainly will, I'm sure questions will pop up. That's the thing Elvis doesn't behave badly. In fact he's a very amenable horse. So his naughtiness was very out of character. I'm hoping if the injections are successful his naughty behaviour will dissapear.

Hi,

I think you should congratulate yourself for seeing this through thick and thin. You knew something was wrong and got professional advice from 2 trainers, vet and physio, then you went with a pro to see if a professional rider would be the answer, which was a good example of a caring and thoughtful owner swallowing ego for the sake of your horse.

Now, after all was exciting and well with competitions looming, your horse is proven to have a physical problem, and still you have the welfare of your horse at heart. Again, I applaud you.

In reply to your later quotes I also hope that all is well, and Elvis turns out to be just the horse you always dreamed of. If not, then I know you will make the right decision. For the both of you.

Good luck with the future. X
 
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