Kissing Spine Rehab: Week 1

I’ve had so many questions about Fern’s KS surgery, subsequent management and longer-term rehab plans I thought I would share a record.

Fern has to box-rest completely for two weeks and after this will be allowed 10mins morning and evening hand-walking.

kissing spine x-rays
Pre-surgery x-rays

Fern’s x-rays weren’t the worse you’ve ever seen by any means however surgery was the best option for her in terms of long-term prognosis for a competitive career.

Post-surgery x-rays

The image quality isn’t excellent here but you can see her ‘picket fence’ style vertebrae now… this is to give plenty of space for full range of movement in her back

Blue Ribbon Horse Bedding
Stable set up

One of the things I read up on before going in for the surgery was that many horses don’t feel comfortable enough to roll after the surgery, sometimes for many weeks. I made sure to put in a really deep bed of Blue Ribbon Horse Bedding for her. She rolled on the very day she got back from the clinic (day 3 after surgery).

The other important thing is the haybar. Fern’s is used to having this anyway, but it’s very important to not use haynets at all as you don’t want to put their backs into extension by pulling forage out of the net. So all forage and feed must be fed from the ground/low down.

Fern’s been having ad lib haylage in her haybar and 2kg of soaked hay in a tub trug overnight. She’s also having 1kg of sugarbeet, 1kg of grass nuts and 2kg of SPEEDY-MASH Fibre per day in her slow feeder to break up the day and to keep her well hydrated (and avoid colic risk).

This is the bandage set up as she came to me from surgery.

First bandage change (normal amount of discharge)

I have to change her bandage every 2-3 days so this was the first time I needed to change her bandage. The vet reassured me that this was a normal amount of discharge.

This was my first time actually seeing her back! I am so impressed by just how neat and tidy it actually is. The staples will come out after 2 weeks.

Getting the bandage ready

Having not done the bandage change before I made sure to get everything set up before going anywhere near her back so I could replicate the vet’s set up as much as possible.

Successful first application

Here’s my bandage set up! I’ll now change it again 3 days and send photos to my vet again.

Lifesaver - slow feeder

100% recommend this for any horse that is on box rest. Fern is having all her additional feeds as well as daily feeds in her slow feeder. It holds around 2kg of hard feed comfortably.

She’s also having a 1kg compressed forage block per day as another way to keep her munching for longer.

Rambo Optimo Stable Sheet

Another product recommendation. This has been a really worthwhile investment. It has a memory foam wither pad so it keeps the weight of the rug (and any top rugs) off her spine which is so important. The fit of the rug is generous and the bib closure at the front also eliminates pressure points on her shoulder.

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