X-ray alterations on spinal processes of 295 warmblood horses without clinical findings
Röntgenveränderungen an den Dornfortsätzen von 295 klinisch rückengesunden Warmblutpferden
Holmer M, Wollanke B, Stadtbäumer G
The significance of X-ray alterations in the sense of „Kissing Spines“ for the usefulness of saddle horses is highly disputed. In spite of considerable x-ray results some horses show no clinical discomfort. On the other hand alterations on the spinal processes can cause pain and involve problems when riding the horse or make a horse even unridable. In order to being better equipped to assess the x-ray results on the spinal processes, a retrospective study was performed by way of analysis of spinal processes -x-rays of 295 clinically back sound warmblood horses. All horses of this study were x-rayed in „Tierklinik Telgte“. X-ray alterations on the spinal processes were diagnosed with 91,5% of the horses. The x-ray results were assessed according to localisation, character and degree of alteration. Most afflicted spinal processes were found to be vertebras T12 to T18. The most frequent results were diminished internal spaces of spinal processes including changes of the bone structure of the spinal processes. Only 8,5% of the tested horses showed no abnormality in the x-ray results. X-ray alterations thus are frequent even among clinically back healthy horses. If alterations occur almost always the spinal processes of the caudal saddle position are affected. Recent court decisions have ruled x-ray alterations not accompanied by clinical symptoms as not being material defects. Therefore it is worth discussing whether an x-ray exam as part of a general exam at the time of a purchase makes sense at all under these circumstances when x-rays are performed without a clinical suspicion of a dorsal ailment it would most probably be sufficient to perform a singular x-ray of the caudal saddle position allowing for radiation protection.