In a pioneering effort to alleviate the debilitating effects of Kissing Spine in horses, a surgical veterinarian in Ithaca, New York, performed a novel, minimally invasive surgery on an off-track Thoroughbred suffering with the condition.
Dr. Christy Cable, DVM, DACVS, performed surgery on Heartly Smart, a beautiful gray mare, on Feb. 18. If it proves effective, it will offer a whole new world of possibilities for treating Kissing Spine, she says.
“Historically, the surgical treatment for Kissing Spine in Western Europe was to cut the dorsal spines out with a bone saw,” Cable says, noting that the procedure was both expensive and invasive. “The procedure could change the shape of the horse’s back and require an extensive recovery.”
But the minimally invasive procedure she performed during a two-and-a-half-hour operation last month could finally offer a far less costly and invasive option, if all goes well, she says.
The procedure, which was first tried in England on 35 horses diagnosed with Kissing Spine, was reported on recently in a paper published in Veterinary Surgery. English veterinarian Richard Coomer, the lead author on a paper on the surgery reports that 95 percent of the equines who underwent the procedure recovered.
Race name: Heartly Smart
Sire: Lion Hearted
Dam: Refined’n’smart, by Dance Brightly
Foal date: March 9 2007“The study intrigued me because (surgeons) had done a number of horses, 35 to be exact, and by making minimally invasive keyhole incisions … removed the pain and increased the horse’s mobility,” Cable says.
The surgery on Heartly Smart went as follows:
Radiographs of the mare’s spine were taken, and four areas of kissing spine identified and marked with metal tags. An ultrasound was also used to pinpoint the exact location of the “kissing” or touching spine.
After the mare was prepped and given a sedation regimen, similar to what is prescribed for a horse undergoing a dental procedure, incisions were made at the trouble spots, and an interspinous ligament desmotomy, or cutting of ligaments, was performed.
The theory behind the procedure, initially put forth by the British veterinarians, was that the small incisions cutting the ligaments would alleviate the pain, Cable explains.
But the results have been even more promising.
Radiographs taken of European horses six weeks after surgery indicate that space, which was so lacking between points on the spine, was actually opening up, apparently reversing the “kissing” syndrome, Cable says.
If all goes well with the New York Thoroughbred, who has been donated to ReRun, Inc., the surgery could represent a break-through in the treatment of a syndrome that has often sidelined horses, she notes.
“If the surgery is a success, it will open doors” for horses and owners facing the worst cases of Kissing Spine. “It’s very promising.”
Small animal veterinarian Julianne Ragone originally purchased the mare as a cross-country and eventing prospect in October 2011.
The pair went to work right away, and all was well for about a year.
Then, in February 2012, Heartly Smart started exhibiting signs of acute soreness in her back.
“She was grumpy when I saddled her and when I mounted her, she would crumble to the ground as if I weighed 3,000 pounds,” Ragone says. “My weight was stable, so I knew there was another problem.”
After extensive diagnosis, followed by a regimen of acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, medication and saddle fittings, Heartly Smart showed some improvement, but eventually worsened.
It got to the point that when she was ridden, she would invert her back, trying to escape pressure on her topline, Ragone adds.
Ragone connected with the fellow veterinarian and donated her lovely mare so that the novel procedure could be tried, and the possibility of a better treatment for Kissing Spine found.
It is too soon to say whether the procedure has worked, the mare’s surgeon says.
After a regimen of hand walking for two weeks, Heartly Smart will be given physical therapy exercises to encourage her to stretch and mobilize her back. At the six-week point, new radiographs will be taken to determine whether the points in her back that were “kissing” have moved.
If they have, and if she continues do well, the prognosis is that she will once again make an excellent riding horse!
And there to help her recuperate is Susan Swart, director of the New York chapter of ReRun, Inc.
Swart was understandably excited when she spoke of her decision to partner in an ongoing effort to help not just one Thoroughbred, but all who are severely affected by Kissing Spine.
“Dr. Cable is my vet as well as our ReRun chapter vet. When she was offered the opportunity to perform the surgery and found out that the horse was an OTTB, she contacted me immediately,” Swart says. “She asked if I’d be willing to take the horse and rehabilitate her.
“I was honored she would ask.”
Swart has a particular love of rehab work, and as a dressage rider, is attuned to nuanced horse movements; she knows what to look for as Heartly Smart recovers.
If the surgery proves successful, the low-risk, relatively inexpensive surgery —about $1,000— could mark the beginning of a very hopeful future for horses and owners grappling with Kissing Spine, she adds.
“I think this could be a very big deal,” she says.
Off-TrackThoroughbreds.com will publish ongoing updates on this pioneering OTTB.
45 responses to “New Kissing Spine surgery done; hope for a cure”
Where can I find a doctor to perform this new surgery in Texas? My daughters is heart broken that her horse has KSD he is a sweet horse and innate to se him suffer. The shots helped but I fear it is not a good enough fix. He gets adjusted and the chiropractor said he has no good flow of blood to his hind end. After adjustment I see improvement but I still worry. I would love to have more info on the surgery.
Melissa, I am in So Calif. and had this surgery done on my gelding by Dr. Carter Judy at Alamo Pintado Veterinary Hospital. I don’t know if that is of any help for you. It was so successful, I might add, he became too much horse for me. I did find him a home with a rider who specializes in rehab and last I heard she loves him. I was brokenhearted, because I bred and raised him and had planned on him being my last horse. Keep looking with the vets at the larger hospitals in your area. It was an amazingly simple and quick surgery. Good Luck
My 17 year old Appy/Appendix Quarter Horse “Himself” has just had x-rays, confirming kissing spines – he had a reputation for rearing when he came to me in 2003 as a 5 year old – very steep TB wither running down into a short Quarter Horse back and a bit high in the croup. His symptoms were a 2/5 intermittent lameness in the right hind, and a general lack of power from his hind end. Sometimes he would scuff with his hind feet a bit.
He is the most wonderful jumping horse – perfect form. The first thing I noticed when riding him, was that he would simply come to a stop and i would feel his back falling away right underneath me. A Tad Coffin jumping saddle helped enormously – saved him from a life in the pasture. The flocking for the Tad Coffin saddles uses the same technology as the running shoe industry, so the underneath of the saddle moves with the movement of the back of the horse is the best way I can describe it – check with website tho for a better understanding. He would have good periods and bad periods. Through a careful and non-forceful training program, body work, chiropractic, regular courses of Legend, and a number of hock cortisone/HLA injections (by the way, much as I am so grateful to the wonderful veterinarians I have used, I could never get any of them to pay attention to this part of his back which I always felt was the true issue but he didn’t exhibit much on palpation except to me — i knew when his back was spasming – usually after a work session). we kept him in work and in competition for 8 years – we just had to pick and choose our times. When he was good and happy, we would jump and compete. When he wasn’t, we would go back to basics, do a lameness workup, usually do some joint injections, and start again. After 5 years of training and competing at around the 3ft to 3ft 3″ level, in 2009, I was warming up for the dressage phase of a horse trials in Longmont, CO, and suddenly he could not hold the right canter, the stride got very short and choppy, and he kept switching behind. He had a large sarcoid just in front of the girth on the right hand side behind the elbow so for a year I worked on getting rid of that, thinking that was perhaps causing the discomfort. It was cured using Virex Cream from Hilton Herbs – applied daily over a 3 month period. The right lead canter got a little better but it has bothered him on and off. From January 2013 he had very intermittent work as I was undergoing some health challenges, and from July 2013 he didn’t work at all until early Spring of this year, he was turned out in the big pasture. When I brought him back in to work I was shocked at how he had lost his top line and his back had swayed considerably (16 years old only). In retrospect, I think he may have exacerbated the as yet undiagnosed kissing spine syndrome and/or injured himself jumping irrigation ditches or perhaps falling into one or it was just he got atrophied from not being “in work.” The feeling of “falling away” under saddle had become much worse but he was still trying to do what we asked. Always the heart of a lion.
In June I trailered him down to a horse show in Parker and he got a rough ride, a pile up in front of the rig caused the driver to have to slam on the brakes and there was a bit of a dust up in the rig. The next day he could barely walk under saddle, let alone trot. The vets there did a preliminary lameness work up and came up again with the same indeterminate 2/5 lameness in the right hind, maybe the stifles were a bit strained, let’s try to make him more comfortable with joint injections. We injected the stifles, with not much improvement, then the hocks in August, with some improvement, but still the slight spasming in the back (thoracic spine always) and the falling away. Then in September I took him to a riding clinic with Jean Luc Cornille (www.scienceofmotion.com) and he immediately upon hearing his history, palpating his back, etc., diagnosed kissing spines. Encouraged me to have it confirmed with x-rays if I thought it would help my approach, and gave me some very specific ridden exercises (like physical therapy exercises for an equine) that helped enormously for a number of months and gave me hope that I could find of way of keeping him strong and fit and pain free, but slowly the back spasms have been more and more noticeable, and he has begun pinning his ears and turning away from me when I go out to the field to pick him up for work . . . breaks my heart. This has led me to get the x-ray confirmation and today I am taking him for his first steroid injection. My hope is to cut down the inflammation and make him comfortable enough that he can return to jumping . . . that will be the best case scenario, but if I do not get a strongly good outcome from the cortisone, then I am not sure what I will do next. It is very heartwarming to read of the success stories of the new ligamentous surgery – I would not consider the bone sawing one on a 17 year old horse which comes with a one-year lay up, but I could perhaps envisage this new surgery if I cannot get him comfortable with the anti-inflammatory program of steroid injections, followed up with a routine administration of Previcoxx at the doggie dosage level over the next six months. I believe that putting him out into the retired field will cause his condition to deteriorate rapidly. But if I cannot get him comfortable to be in work, that will eventually be my only option.
I have written his story at some length in the hope that our experience will help other people and horses. This is a horse that definitely could have become absolutely 100% recalcitrant and dangerous but he never once bucked or offered to rear with me – but I always deferred to him and tried to understand that he was uncomfortable — encouraged by my trainer Bridget Strang who absolutely listened to what he was telling us and refused to allow me to browbeat him in anyway, shape or form. I regret deeply that I did not investigate earlier by x-ray or other means, his spine situation, because my intuition and my heart always told me that that was his issue but now with the incredibly good x-ray equipment available, it really is quite simple especially if the problem is more in the thoracic spine – the x-rays were clear as day. I do have some regret over the thousands of dollars in joint injections, lameness workups, loss of entry fees, cancelled events, etc. I feel that the joint injections alleviated some of the stress and pain in those joints, but the pain was caused by him being unable to carry himself properly because of the kissing spines and if I had pursued my belief more strongly I would have served Himself better.
I am so enormously glad that we didn’t ever beat him into submission – he did have years of great jumping rounds where he was honest as the day is long, saved my pathetic amateur butt countless times, jumped where he absolutely should not have, answered questions I didn’t even realize I was posing, and came up a champion over and over again, restored my confidence as a rider, taught me how to ride with a light hand, just GAVE me so much – such a Heart.
I’ll report in in six weeks.
Carolyn: If you can afford the $1500+/- for the surgery, do not delay. I too had an Appy gelding, my last homebred and raised baby. I went through a year of hospital visits keeping him alive before he was a year old. Then another year and a half letting him recoup and grow up. He ended up at 16.2h. Around two and a half, we broke him to ride and spent another year just doing easy arena stuff. At four we moved to an area with plenty of open riding space. 3 months later he began quitting on me. Labored in the hills, had real troubles with one lead but his reaction was never bad, he would just stop and refuse to go further. Months of vet examinations finally ended with a bone scan and back xrays. The result was kissing spine involving T10 thru T13. After another six months of messing with chiro, shots, shock wave, hand walking and I finally talked my vet into doing the surgery. It was amazingly straightforward. An hour or so after it was done he was in the trailer on the way home.
The surgery was a success. I wish I could say I am now back in the saddle. The better he felt, the bigger and stronger he became, the more unsafe he was for me. I finally threw in the towel and found a trainer who specializes in rehabbing. I sent him to her with a promise that if he did not work out that I would be notified and make new arrangements for him. I might also explain that I am 65 years old, 5’2″, so he was not an easy horse for me to handle. Were I me in the olden days, we would be galloping the hills behind my home. However, he is making great strides. I sent him off ready for ground work, which his owner did, then moved him on to driving, first with a buddy, and last I heard soon on his own. He is also back under saddles with no reported issues. I miss him terribly. It took months to find a new horse, but he will never replace Waylon completely. Much of my heart left with him. So go for it, the surgery is your best hope. Good Luck Jan McKinney
Janet, where are you located and who was your vet? I have a 7 year old thoroughbred with kissing spines.
HI Janet thank you for your encouraging words – i am going to see how far I get with the anti-inflammatory process we have commenced, starting with the steroid injections into the ligaments. I am going to get in touch with Colorado State University, the teaching hospital in Fort Collins, and see if they are familiar with this approach. As Dr. Cable said above, the surgery shouod NOT be the first option and all the vets I have discussed this with have said the same thing. So I’m going to take this conservative approach. Someone locally has suggested medicinal mushrooms as an alternative to the use of the pharmaceutical drug Tildren which helps with bone remodeling and has side effects, I am almost sure . . . so Im going to research that. i will start riding Himself this Sunday and will have a better feel for how much relief he has received from the cortisone shots. great blog – how super to have all this information! Very comforting.
just a follow up to my post in Feb. I was finally able to convince Dr. Carter Judy at Alamo Pintado Veterinary Hospital in Los Olivos, CA, to do this surgery on my gelding. Though he was hesitant, we are 3 weeks post surgery and things seem to be going well. One thing I noticed from day one was that he was no longer dragging his toes in the rear, a noise that made me crazy. We are cautiously optimistic (his words), and I am seeing the first positive light since he was first diagnosed. We are starting lunge work tomorrow, yea! I am so sick of explaining why I am leading him, not riding him. I have enlisted the help of a trainer to help me get him to use his core and am also expecting some retraining of some learned bad behavior. I am hopeful that I will soon have my boy back under saddle and enjoying our time together.
ATT:-Stephne in. Namibia
Hi there I’m Janne Kirsten in South Africa(much closer to you than the US lol)
My horse was recently diagnosed with kissing spine (last yr Aug’13) was told NOooo work not even in hand walking for 4 months as he was very lame and saw literally choliced coz of pain but never developed bad manners towards me riding him(I trust him and he trusts me) he has learnt over the yrs that I know when he’s not “lekker” and fix him I’m his mommy so that’s what I’m doing he’d been diagnosed by Dr Roy Goshen(surname may be incorrectly spelt) but his Practice is Witbos veto nary Clinic in Midrand between Pretoria & jobur I’ve recently done a legend injection for pain and I’m going to have the chortisone injections too,and have a wonderful equine message therapist to help out too,however this is all just for the Interim as I’m saving for the new op to be done by Dr Roy(see above mentioned) he says would cost say R12000 to R20000 (cheaper than a cholic op)and so far his other previous patients have been doing well and all going to plan soI’m very exited but still have old fashioned detractors who don’t understand the new concept but his my horse I ride him,I know him and I love him, hope this helps.
my OTTB had this surgery Feb. 2013. He is now in full work… he may never event again, but he is out of pain and is working at 1st and 2nd level dressage. I know that I made the right decision… and who knows, if he continues on this path, he might just jump again.
As mentioned above I had put one horse down due to kissing spine, and ended up with another. I had the new minimally invasive surgery completed at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton center in Chester County, PA at the end of May 2013. My life and schedule have now allowed me to progress as quickly as I would like, but I can definitely say it has made a HUGE improvement. Weather and work permitting, I can ride her 3 days a week W-T-C, and she doesn’t show the same pain signs as before. I haven’t had a chance to do follow up x-rays, but I hope to be able to in the spring. I would recommend this surgery to anyone considering it. I think the level of relief for the horse depends how bad the kissing spine was in the first place, but my experience has been very positive. Good luck to others trying to find a place to get it done.
So excited, I can hardly wait for Monday to get on the phone to some of our finest West Coast Equine Hospitals, along with UC Davis, Univ. of Colorado all of whom have superior vet programs. I am more determined than ever that my gelding shall be considered for this procedure. One of them has to have done or wants to do it. Waylon will be my riding horse again. Don’t care if all we ever do is just walk through the foothills at a leisurely pace. Wish me luck.
Oh, I am so glad to hear this is now being done in the US. My Appaloosa gelding was diagnosed with kissing spine last summer at Alamo Pintado Veterinary Clinic in Los Olivos, CA. Rest was the immediate Rx, but as the months go by I have spent countless hours looking for more help or options. He is not a show horse or of value to anyone but me, but he is my last homebred out of my last show mare, and I would do anything to get him happy and rideable again. Is there any hospitals west of the Rockies that are now doing this procedure?
I have just come across your story while researching KSD. Our beautiful TB has just been diagnosed it and we have been on a rollercoaster of emotion and difficult decision making since. I can see this treatment originated in the UK (where we live) and wondered if you could tell me where I might be able to get more information from? Having more or less given up hope this has provided me with a glimmer of light at the end of a very dark tunnel! Any help/advice gratefully received!
Our OTTB had the surgery at University of Illinois last February… He is still in rehab, BUT he is getting better. He is cantering under saddle and has just started working with trot poles.
We have a 3rd set of x-rays set for next week.
We don’t know if he will return to Eventing, but he is not in pain anymore… and we are so HOPEFUL!
Hello Peg…I’m in SC and have a lovely thoroughbred with kissing spine. I’d love to know who your vet is that performed this procedure. I’m not opposed to bringing him to IL if I thought he could be helped. Good luck with your horse…I’d love to keep up with your boys progress.
wanted to give you an update (and sorry on the delay, didn’t see your message)… it’s been 18 months since Zeus’s surgery… we free jumped him for the first time last week. he was so happy!! And now, no pain!
he has been solid for a long time now and we are tentatively giving him more of a job (which he has missed so much!)
the surgeon at Southern was Dr. Matt Stewart… a wonderful, talented surgeon.
I am so happy that Zeus has progressed so well. I’m trying to convince my vet to explore/research the procedure for my horse. I understand that more and more vets across the country are performing this procedure with great success. I’m still hoping to help my boy as he’s only 7 yrs old. I’d really like to know the process for rehab post surgery if you have the time. Congrats on getting your boy back!
Zeus was 7 when he had the surgery… it has been a long haul… BUT I want to tell you, the first thing that happened the day after his surgery… he was out of pain!! that was my only goal in having it done initially.
I couldn’t live with putting down a horse that had so much to him or letting him live in such pain.
we started out, and continue, working slowly… with lots of back X-rays to follow his progression.
starting with lunging, then with lunging with tack and side reigns to help him with using his back. We stayed there for a long time helping him to build up his back muscles before we put the weight of a rider on him… we also tried a lot of different saddles on him to find the right fit. then a rider. it was a year of dressage before we finally took an x-ray and got the blessing of our vet to try to free jump him… we have now done it twice and he is so happy!! his ride tonight (2 days post free jump) was smooth and clean… absolutely no sign of pain or regression.
I will keep you updated as we move forward… it is so wonderful to see how happy he is!
That is so incredible and I’m so glad that you pursued relief for him. I hope to do the same for my guy. Where were Zeus’ spines touching? My horses is in his withers. Both vets who have seen him believe that he had an injury where the bones in the withers was actually broken. Oddly enough, he’s very active, jumps creeks in the field and plays like a kid…he also has a very athletic Buck…when he’s really happy. However, he’s not ridden and hasn’t been since his diagnosis 3 years ago. He So wants a job.
Thanks for the great article. I look forward to this surgery becoming more common and available to the many people whose horses suffer with kissing spine. I had to put my OTTB mare down 2 years ago when the pain was so bad she wouldn’t even lie down. It was a tough decision, but to watch her be in so much pain made the decision a little easier. Unfortunately the next horse I purchased (also OTTB) has also been diagnosed with kissing spine. It is not as severe, but she would prefer I not ride her, so I only do, very occasionally, when she seems to be having a good day. Please follow up with Olivia’s progress, it will be exciting to see how she improves.
I’d like you to please keep me up to date on this story. I’m mailing from Namibia, Southern Africa. My 4 year old TB, Great Edge, has also been diagnosed with kissing spine. I’m devastated, since he’s absolutely stunning!! I’ve tried everything, from accupuncture to chiro with no success at all. His condition is so bad, it even effects his behaviour. He has bitten and kicked me numerous times while being brushed and bucks and rears when being ridden. I know the best thing to do is probably to just retire him to a farm, but then there is always the doubt whether he will be able to survive. If there is any hope for my boy, please let me know.
I’m so sorry about your 4-year-old TB. From what I am told by Dr. Cable, who performed the Kissing Spine on Heartly Smart, it sounds like your horse, having tried all else, would be perfect candidate for the surgery. Although I am hardly qualified to recommend procedures.
I understand she is getting a lot of phone calls from interested parties; but I’d be happy to pass along your contact information to her, or your veterinarian’s. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck Stefne, and thanks for reading! I don’t think I’ve ever had someone write to me from South Africa, wow.
I know dr cable and she is amazing. This surgery has been done in Europe for a while. Dr cable was/is so committed. Like susan, let me know if I can help in any way. Dont ride your horse , consider trying to find someone who is skilled or willing to speak with another vet who has done this! Dont give up on your guy unless yiu absolutely hav no other choice. Bless your heart for trying!
I see your response to Stephne who lives in Namibia southern africa. i am from there as well and would love to know if she ever got it done and by whom??
Please can you put us in touch?
Olivia had her Kissing Spine surgery in February and has been undergoing rehab. As of about 2 weeks ago, when I wrote my last update, she had been cleared for riding again, and had been adopted. According to the veterinarian and chiropractor, the mare is pain free.
The doctor here in the states who did the surgery is Dr. Christie Cable of New York. One thing Dr. Cable says is that surgery, no matter how minimally invasive (as this was) should be a last resort, not a first option.
I hope that helps!
And wow, South Africa! That’s exciting. 🙂
My poor TB mare Valid Tiger was diagnosed with severe kissing spine and it was recomended that put her down. This story gives me unbelievable hope that there is a such thing as miracles. Maybe just maybe I will get to feel what it is like to ride her for real instead of just in my mind and heart…….im so excited to think of the possibilites this treatment will hold for so many horses ….The best story yet in my eyes Susan!
I think of you often and I want to write about Valid Tiger and you. I know another woman who’s OTTB has the same thing, and I’m hoping for you both.
My horse just got diagnosed a couple of months ago. My husband, my instructor, and I were devastated. Now I am cautiously optimistic! Thank you all for trying! I look forward to following Olivia’s progress!!!!
what a touching story! and what great news for horses!
How encouraging. Are there any veterinarians in the USA performing this surgery. I have a lovely ottb who has ksd who I’m sure would benefit from this procedure.
Hi Jayne: Susan Swart at ReRun, Inc., says she believes this is the first case to be performed in the US. So we are eager to see how this turns out.
[…] A new surgery has opened channels for hope of a cure for kissing spine. This minimally invasive surgery is still in the experimental mode, but seems to have had beneficial reactions for all of the horses that it has been performed on. Radiographs taken of European horses six weeks after surgery indicate that space, which was so lacking between points on the spine, was actually opening up, apparently reversing the “kissing” syndrome. [Possible Kissing Spine Cure] […]
thank you so much for writing and reporting on this incredible surgeon! my boy ‘blue’ has had back problems ever since i got him at the age of 5. he is an appendix and was off the track from columbus ohio and is now 14 yrs old. i could and would never ride him on a regular basis doing only baby cross rails and starter ct’s. i was always suspicious of kissing spine however those who were better and more experienced than i assured me he was just lazy and i was babying him. then last november i had the wonderful dr moressey of rood and riddle xray his spine and sure enough he has kissing spine. chiro would help him somewhat but staying off his back was best though it remains hardened and stiff in that area to this day and he is very grumpy. please keep me posted as to the progress of this sweet mare. i would love for dr. cable to perform her surgery on my poor boy as he has gone through so much misery after losing his best friend and my first horse last november. i don’t sell my horses and my boy will be with me until it is his time to go… i pray this surgery is a success. i am sure there are so many horses suffering from this painful condition and being ridden way to early before their spines have properly matured. thank you again susan for writing this!
AMAZING!!! Thanks for writing about this procedure.
What a beautiful mare. Sending her wishes for a full and speedy recovery.
Another incredibly told story by Susan! Hooves crossed for Olivia and Julieann!!!
Yup….because it is great that there is hope for thoroughbreds with this condition….& yikes because prevention is better than the cure. Thoroughbreds are ridden, worked & asked to carry weight far too young, leading to so many “conditions”. Skeletons of Eclipse (raced as a 5 yr old) & St Simon (raced young) show what happens to the spine. St Simon had kissing spine. I saw this in the Museum of Natural History in London a long time ago….I have wished & hoped ever since I saw this that the racing industry would consider what strain is placed on the majority of way too young racehorses …..but the logistics of time & money dictate……& in the end…. it still costs someone a lot of money.
This is hope now for so many horse with this condition. Keep us informed on the progress as Heartly Smart rehabs, please. I really would like to keep up with her.
Thank you Sue and Re Run for your dedication to OTTB.
Take good care of her! I miss her terribly but know she is in great hands!!
Julieann, thank you so much for the interview, and for providing the perfect & lovely patient to try this procedure.
Thank you Susan for taking an interest in this exciting process for Olivia. Not only is this surgery a step in the right direction for kissing spines it also makes it possible for owners to have other options with their kissing spine horses. It is very likely that the days where kissing spine horses are put to pasture or worse euthanized are over! Please show your support and forward this to all, spread the word let horse owners know they have options!! check Susan’s blog for updates on Olivia or contact me and I would b happy to answer any questions. Rerun is doing outstanding work to better the aftercare of thoroughbreds once their racing days are over.
Susan Swart: I was so excited to write this story that I wrote it as fast as I could. So many people hope for a cure for Kissing Spine. And this pioneering effort will give many people hope that they can ease their equine’s back pain, and possibly get their rideable partner back.
Please stay in touch. I want to know everything as Olivia goes through her rehab!
And thank you so much for thinking of me for this story!!
This is really exciting news and I look forward to reading follow ups on her progress. KSD is one thing I really fear happening to my horse and to have a way to cure it will literally change lives. My dad is a retired veterinarian, can’t wait to tell him about it!
Sue, what an AMAZING story!
Dr Cable has been my vet for many years now and she is nothing short of brilliant! If she thinks a procedure has merit and is worth performing, then it is sure to be successful!
And that cute little mare couldnt be in better hands with Sue! I’m looking forward to watching how she progresses – my gelding is stalled right across from her!