Chronically weak/sore back

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Chronically weak/sore back

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    05-14-2014, 08:32 PM
Unhappy Chronically weak/sore back

So, about the beginning of September, Zeus started acting funny about his back. When mounting, his hind end would almost collapse- squatting down almost like his back couldn't take weight on it. Then he would bring himself up, take a few steps, and be fine. It didn't happen every time. He would stomp his back feet at a walk, his hind left especially. Riding bareback, he would hollow out his back as far as he could. He dropped a ton of weight for no reason. I was stretching him out every day, and he did get a painful muscle spasm once while doing his back legs (not sure if that's related).

I stopped riding and called a chiropractor. She came out and adjusted him, saying that the left side of his hip was a little higher, and that he had a rib out. Fixed him right up and said we could start riding again in 2-3 days. At this point I was riding for 10 minutes once a week, in the lightest saddle I could find (trail Abetta). He kept up the squatting maybe once every 6 or so rides, and the stomping.

So, then I thought it was his hocks, maybe arthritis. I made an appointment to check it out. Vet said no, it was in his back. He did acupuncture and adjusted him again, then bute. Took him home and gave him a few days to rest. At this point I believe the collapsing was almost nonexistent. (Side note- whenever he did this, I would walk him forward a few steps and get right back off, so he didn't learn "if I do this, she'll get right back off", but I did NOT want to strain his back any further.) He was still off, so I decided to give him the winter off, rode maybe 2 times in 4 months. I started him on DMG and he did absolutely wonderful. He was getting down and back up a LOT more easily.

I really thought that the winter off would get rid of his soreness. But now that I'm bringing him back into work, it's pretty much the same. Still hollows his back while bareback. Still stomps his hinds at a walk. Does not collapse his legs. I took him off the DMG in March and it's a huge difference. I can definitely tell he's less comfortable while ridden. Just put him back on it yesterday. We're working hills and long and low on the lunge to build up his muscle.

The farrier was also out yesterday, and he would NOT stand when she had his back legs up. He has always stood 100% quiet every single time. He leans back and hops over, not just regular "I'm going to pull my leg away from you". And today, I was brushing him and he flinches, tenses, and moves away when I'm brushing over his back. He even tried to push me away! That has never happened, he's very respectful of my space.

I don't want to slap a bandaid on the problem, I want to know what would make him sore for this long and treat it. The vet is coming out to do vaccinations by the end of next week, I'm definitely bringing it up to him. I was thinking maybe magnesium deficiency, or I was reading Cinny'sWhinny's post about Cinny's Lyme disease and drew a lot of parallels between them. I just wondered if any of you had any ideas about it. Thank you so much!
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    05-14-2014, 10:09 PM
I went out to feed tonight and checked his back. Not even a pound of pressure and he sinks away from it. Gave him a gram of bute to hopefully make it less painful
    05-14-2014, 10:15 PM
There is something seriously wrong with his back.

Please do not ride him. He needs a really really good chiropractor and a vet. Possible xrays.

My mare needs multiple adjustments per year to keep her happy and healthy and moving good. She gives the same signs, flinching, moving away, Pinning ears, dropping down, putting her weight onto the farrier like she can't hold her own weight up...etc.

Zeus is in serious pain.
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    05-14-2014, 10:41 PM
No, I don't ride him. I've only done light lunging since last fall, save for 3 "diagnostic" rides where I palpate for soreness, thoroughly warm up on the ground, then saddle and mount for a few steps, then dismount to check how he's doing. Two of those were in winter. My brother (chose him because he's very light) got on bareback in April after Zeus got adjusted so I could see if he was still in pain while being ridden, and once he hollowed his back, he got off.

He's been adjusted in September, November, and April. The weird thing is that his hip is getting less and less out of place- even when he didn't get adjusted Nov-April.

I feel absolutely awful for him. That farrier visit with him trying to wrench his leg away really messed up his back
    05-14-2014, 11:26 PM
I have a video of him from last September, after my chiropractor cleared him for riding:

His stomping is a little more apparent in this one, as he's turning. It was less pronounced if he was traveling in a straight line.

I wish I could go back and edit my original post, as 'collapsing' isn't really accurate. It was the only word I could think of to describe it. It wasn't a leg-buckling, on the ground collapse, but more of a squat and weight shift. Still terrible, but I wanted to clear that up.
    05-15-2014, 12:33 AM
I had an Arabian that used to do the squatting/collapsing thing and back when I was a beginner I didn't know any better so I didn't do anything about it. Looking back on it, I'm sure it was his saddle fit (he had a sway back and I think the saddle bars were too straight so they poked his loins). But if your guy is sore even when not being ridden for long periods of time, then I don't know, it might be something else.

But if you do try riding him again, try a different saddle. The synthetics have to have a pretty perfect fit because the skirts are soft and don't help distribute the weight as much as a leather saddle.
    05-15-2014, 12:36 AM
Green Broke
You need to have his sacro iliac checked, and perhaps get a different chiros opinion.
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    05-15-2014, 12:39 AM
Thank you TrailHorseRider! I've tried to google it and didn't get very far. Once the vet is out and eventually clears him for riding (fingers crossed), I'm going to get a fitter out. I have a leather one that fits him well as far as I can tell. He was ridden hard in 4H for a week last July in it and never had any problems. Never knew that about the synthetics!

Cakemom- He's had two chiropractors and one vet look at him. One chiro is stumped and the other sent me on my way with a tub of bute. Different vet is coming next week, my regular vet, so I'm hoping he'll have answers. I will absolutely mention sacroiliac to the vet. Zeus's pain isn't over the sacroiliac, but from the middle of his back to just in front of the joint. I have no idea how pain would manifest if it *was* a problem with the SI though. I looked into hunter's bump a while ago, but didn't fit his symptoms...
    05-15-2014, 03:40 AM
Green Broke
He might have slipped a disc rolling around or playing. Im seeing something wrong with that hip though. A hip being out messes up the entire system as well.
    05-15-2014, 04:05 AM
You know, the more I read about it, the more I'm convinced he hurt one of the ligaments in the sacroiliac joint. Especially that both chiros say his hip is tilted. When he hurt it, we were lunging and doing little jumps (<6"), and I think it was either when his hind came down, or when he tried to canter away too fast that he slipped and twisted (didn't fall). I remember thinking "that must've hurt", quit, and cold hosed. I'm going to test around that area tomorrow and see if I get a reaction.

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