Acquired Scoliosis in Equids, AAEP 2008

Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, is most often attributed to congenital vertebral malformations, possibly associated with malposition of the fetus in the uterus. However, researchers have linked cases of acquired scoliosis presented at Cornell
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Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, is most often attributed to congenital vertebral malformations, possibly associated with malposition of the fetus in the uterus. However, researchers have linked cases of acquired scoliosis presented at Cornell University to migration of a parasite only recently reported in horses. Amy Johnson, DVM, a resident in Large Animal Internal Medicine at Cornell, discussed this issue at the 2008 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Dec. 6-10 in San Diego, Calif.

The cases Johnson discussed included four affected horses and a Miniature Donkey that were stabled on different farms in New York state. These equids ranged in age from 6 months to 9 years, and each had acute onset scoliosis that developed suddenly. The C-shaped scoliosis occurred in the neck vertebrae of the horses, while the donkey’s deformation occurred in the middle thoracic spine. Three of the horses were euthanized, while one horse and the donkey were discharged. The discharged horse, a 6-month-old filly, was still alive 2.5 years later, but showed no improvement.

 

Scoliosis of neck vertebrae

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Written by:

Nancy S. Loving, DVM, owns Loving Equine Clinic in Boulder, Colorado, and has a special interest in managing the care of sport horses. Her book, All Horse Systems Go, is a comprehensive veterinary care and conditioning resource in full color that covers all facets of horse care. She has also authored the books Go the Distance as a resource for endurance horse owners, Conformation and Performance, and First Aid for Horse and Rider in addition to many veterinary articles for both horse owner and professional audiences.

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