Imaging the Equine Back and Neck
How veterinarians diagnose pathology in these difficult-to-visualize regions of the horse’s body
It started with a sour attitude while tacking up, then progressed to stiffness under saddle, difficulty making transitions, and a poor-quality canter. Now your horse is throwing in uncharacteristic bucks during rides. He might not be simply misbehaving; he might be telling you his neck or back hurts.
While we typically think of limb lameness as being the main reason for performance limitations in horses, problems within the spine can also cause reduced athleticism, changes in behavior, altered movement, weakness, neurologic signs, and even lameness. To investigate a suspicion of pathology (disease or damage) originating from this area, veterinarians often pursue diagnostic imaging of these regions. The challenge is large groups of stabilizing muscles that can impede visualization surround these structures. So, what are our options for imaging them? In this article I’ll describe the modalities veterinarians use, based on case studies designed to exemplify those we often see in the
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