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  • Etalon Admin

Kissing Spines Samples Needed

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

Etalon Diagnostics is expanding a large genetic study for Kissing Spines in the horse, and we need your help!


Requirements for the study:

- Mail in a pulled hair sample from affected horse (directions below)

- Include the diagnosis by Veterinarian AND radiographs (upload them online on your horse's profile under "gallery photos", or email them to us at

Also helpful for this study are samples of Thoroughbred horses with clean spinal x-rays (NEGATIVE for Kissing Spines)

Kissing Spines, officially known as “overriding dorsal spinous processes” or “spinous process impingement”, describes the touching or “kissing” of the long, thin bones that project upward from the vertebrae of the spinal column in the horse’s back. Kissing Spines can occur in any horse but seem more prevalent in Thoroughbreds, horses 5 years of age and under, and dressage horses. The radiograph below illustrates a “normal” spinal x-ray, in comparison to that of a horse diagnosed with Kissing Spines. You can note the impinged areas with narrowed spacing between the vertebrae.

In an urgent effort to grow our database and include as many horses as possible in this study, Etalon Diagnostics is asking for your help. Do you know a horse diagnosed with Kissing Spines? If so, help us by mailing in a hair sample so that we can dive deep into the genetic makeup of horses with this painful condition and try to identify associated genetic variants. We also encourage those with Thoroughbred horses with clean spinal x-rays, NEGATIVE for kissing spines to send in their samples as well to assist in the study.

Etalon Diagnostics is working on this study in partnership with Dr. Beau Whitaker of Brazos Valley Equine Hospitals, Dr. Ben Buchanan of Brazos Valley Equine Hospitals, Dr. Kent Allen of Virginia Equine Imaging, Dr. Charlie Buchanan of Brazos Valley Equine Hospitals, and Dr. Cliff Honnas of Texas Equine Hospital.

To submit samples, visit and click “order”. Create an online profile and click “Order Testing”.

Choose package “STUDY_KS” to send in your sample free of charge. Those whose samples are included in the study will receive follow-up information for results and publications.

Mail hair samples to:

405 El Camino Real, #234 Menlo Park, CA 94025

For more information or if you have questions, give us a call at (650) 380-2995 or send us an email at

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