Assessment of Back Pain
Quantifying the degree and precise site of pain in animals always has been difficult. This is complicated further because the major clinical sign in many horses with a back problem is impaired performance rather than pain. On the other hand, many horses appear to perform satisfactorily despite some low-grade back pain. To add to this confusion, some horses are naturally sensitive and resent being palpated along the back, which might be wrongly interpreted as a sign of pain.
This term describes hypersensitivity over the back with a transient stiffness and dipping of the spine as the rider mounts. There usually are no other clinical signs, although in severe cases, the horse might buck or rear at first. This initial stiffness wears off within a few minutes and causes no effect on performance. Whether this condition actually is associated with back pain or merely a matter of temperament is not clear.
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