Giddy Up to an Equine Chiropractor for Pelvic Asymmetry

17 December 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Asymmetry of the bony areas of the hindquarters, including the pelvis, is a quite common occurrence in horses. Whether you train horses for the purpose of racing, simply keep one as a pet, or enjoy horse riding as a hobby, it is important to make sure you attempt to address any pelvic asymmetry that your horse has. Often it manifests as an obvious visual difference in height between the left and right sides of the horse, which is normally caused by previous trauma to either of the tubar coxae bones. The tubar coxae are bones that are located at the point of the hip, and they are frequently injured accidentally when a horse bumps into a stable door. Some horses with asymmetry can live completely normal lives and remain unaffected, but serious cases that are left untreated can affect all facets of the horse's posture and general performance. It is important to have this problem assessed and corrected before any potential further issues occur. Availing yourself of the services of a qualified equine chiropractor is the best way to get asymmetry corrected if it is required. 

Pelvic asymmetry commonly causes lameness in the horse, which is an abnormal gait or stance. It can sometimes be difficult to recognize abnormal gait by yourself though, and this is why taking your animal for a thorough chiropractic exam is important.  Left untreated, the lameness can turn into a chronic issue that doesn't seem to go away. You might think that your horse is unaffected by a slight bone abnormality when in reality it could be experiencing pain or performance issues.

A 1985 study by the Swedish University of Agriculture showed that horses with asymmetries in the hindquarter area (which includes the pelvis, hip, buttock and croup) performed significantly worse at speed than horses with normal alignment in this area. This is despite the fact that of the horses diagnosed with hindquarter abnormalities, only one out of eleven abnormalities was regarded prior to the study as clinically significant. This shows that even though your horse may not be experiencing any obvious discomfort, pelvic asymmetries can affect their ability to ride at speed. The results of this study are especially relevant to you if you train horses to run in racing events as they highlight the importance of getting the problem corrected early.

Usually an equine chiropractor will begin examining the horse by checking it for lameness in the hindquarter area. Then they will determine the extent of any asymmetries and provide an exercise regimen in order to straighten up the uneven bones. The chiropractor will also frequently conduct a chiropractic adjustment, which is a rapid, low force manipulation of the pelvic area that can help to straighten it up. Your equine chiropractor may also recommend you return with your animal at frequent intervals for massage treatment and further correctional adjustments if required. It is important to book an appointment with a professional who specializes in this area as soon as you spot a visual sign of asymmetry in your horse.