Back problems are a major cause of poor performance and gait abnormalities in sport and race horses. Although it is often possible with the history and clinical (physical and dynamic) examination to suspect functional abnormalities of the vertebral column, the definitive diagnosis of the cause of the pain is a challenge.
Once back pain is suspected or established in a horse, identification of the cause requires imaging procedures. In the last 20 yr, substantial improvement in the radiographic, ultrasonographic, and nuclear scintigraphic evaluation of the thoracolumbar and pelvic areas has been made, permitting identification of lesions that were not accessible before.
Last full review/revision March 2012 by Jean-Marie Denoix, DVM, PhD, Agregé