Perhaps a setback with Basa.

Susan Hopf



Despite our advances there continued to be a great distortion throughout the mare’s topline anytime Basa was asked to trot on the longe. At these times Basa’s body clearly showed evidence that her muscles were not supporting her core, which was, then putting downward drag her Nuchal ligament. This was displayed as a one-inch round taut cable just below her spine the ligament was so tight it looked like it was cranking her head and neck up as well as distorting her pelvis.


Backing up a bit - After Basa’s (indeterminate) accident and the subsequent behavior issues (wishing to harm all those on two legs) it was hard to diagnose her when the injury was new. She had to be tranquilized to the point where she could barely move or walk so that the vet could just lay a hand on her. Nothing was discovered by manipulation or ultrasound so we assumed a severe strain and perhaps some micro-tears and she was treated for such. As she had been progressing nicely, both in attitude and physical health, there was little reason to think that this diagnosis was incorrect or even incomplete. But since after many, many months she was still loath to have any weight on her back, other than a longing surcingle, another assumption that needed to be made was perhaps the tears were more than we had guessed them to originally be.


Once I realized that this trotting difficulty was persisting I, of course, wanted another eye and opinion. Thankfully Basa’s regained level of trust allowed me to have the equine chiropractor examine her. What she discovered was evidence of a possible muscle tear which was almost two years old at that time evidenced by a large, hard lump of scar tissue. She thought it might have been the posterior insertion point of the longissimus dorsi or perhaps involving the external and/or internal abdominal obliques. These muscle groups cover the whole of the rib cage and assist in lifting the ribs, preventing a downward drag on the spine.


The prognosis was fair she may be able to heal from this. More time and the use of a therapeutic ultrasound machine may produce some good results. In order to accomplish this treatment her back had to be surgically clipped and since at the time I truly doubted that we would all survive such an assault, even with drugs, my doubts regarding the next step were even greater that she would then allow me to use, every other day, a strange feeling device on that part of her body she had vehemently defended with teeth and feet for the last few years yeah right!?


Well giving it a good old college try there were mixed successes. Even drugged the clipping did not go well. I feared that her resistance would set us back so I decided to play with the ultrasound first. She did just great until I turned it on at which time she humped up her back and gritted her teeth. Turned it off and she allowed it to be placed on her back again on bad off okay on bad off okay. So okay we will just keep at it.


A side-note Therapeutic Ultrasound machines can be purchased for less than two hundred dollars. They are hand held devices and with proper guidance can be an extremely useful piece of equipment to have around. Look for an upcoming article on the whys and wherefores of these beneficial medical devices.