Back Pain in Horses



When dealing with back injuries or pain, the course of treatment will depend on the underlying cause. For many mild cases of generalized back pain or soreness, your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication such as phenylbutazone (bute) or flunixin meglumine (Banamine) along with stall rest for a period of time followed by slow return back to work. For more locally acute cases where the area of pain has been localized, sometimes direct injection of steroids or other anti-inflammatory drugs with ultrasound-guided needles may be warranted.  Occasionally, alternative medicine, such as chiropractic medicine is used as well.


Living and Management


If the back pain is mild and non-progressive, rest and anti-inflammatory drugs may be all that is needed to manage this condition. If the cause of the back pain is more malicious, such as a pinched nerve from a spinal tumor, chances of full recovery back to the horse’s original level of athletic performance may not be as favorable.  Proper diagnosis of persistent back pain is necessary to ensure adequate treatment and/or management is instituted.




Since many back injuries are due to accidents or improper saddling, careful riding, training, and safe working conditions can help diminish the chances of back injuries.