Regula Schrenk
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What are the symptoms?
Horses with VSCs may present with many symptoms, the most common of which is pain. Horses with back pain often express this in their posture or in their refusal to work.

The horse attempts to compensate for the pain by changing its posture and way of going, but this result in other problems such as joint changes.

The following symptoms may indicate pain caused by subluxation:

  • Reduced performance
  • Abnormal posture
  • Snapping and pinning back its ears when being saddled
  • Insubordination when being ridden
  • The attempt to free itself by throwing its head back or up or by hollowing the back
  • Swishing its tail and pinning back its ears
  • Disobedience when jumping
  • Difficulties with collected or lateral gaits.
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Frightened or painful facial expression.
  • Sensitivity to touch.

Subluxations in the spine can affect muscle coordination and mobility of the horse, thereby causing decreased performance.

The following symptoms may occur:

  • Abnormal gait rhythm
  • Irregularity of gait which cannot be assigned to a particular leg or gait
  • Stiffness when the horse leaves the stable
  • Stiffness when bending and in its general posture
  • Muscular atrophy
  • Brushing or interfering
  • Difficulty engaging the hindquarters
  • Difficulty working “long and low”
  • Shortened stride in one or more legs
  • Overall decreased range of motion in gait
  • Difficulty flexing the poll
  • Lameness
  • Horse pulls against one rein
  • Rider is seated off centre due to the horse
  • The back does not swing

A major effect of VSC (subluxation) can be impairment to the flow of information in the nerves which exit the spinal cord between the vertebrae. As these nerves innervate the skin, certain glands and blood vessels, such neurological disturbance can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Unusual itching at the base of the tail or other parts of the body
  • Increased sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Asymmetrical or reduced perspiration

This list of symptoms is certainly not exhaustive; however, it does demonstrate the many effects a VSC can have.



How can vertebral subluxation complexes be corrected?

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