Causes of Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC)?

Common Causes of Vertebral Subluxation Complexes

Every day most animals are exposed to situations which can cause damage to their spine. The following examples could cause VSCs (subluxations) – these images show horses but you can imagine the same causes of VSCs for small animals too:


Caused by falls, trips, slips or being cast in the stable.


Horses with long backs are more inclined to experience problems.


Long transportation times, accidents, poor shock absorption in the trailer and unsympathetic driving can cause damage.

Birthing Difficulties

Difficult births where the foal is forcibly extracted can cause problems in both the mare and the foal.

Lack of Movement

Lack of space in which to move does not give the horse enough opportunity to ease tension by bucking or rolling.


Every event strains the spine in a different, specific way.


Problems with the rider’s seat (e.g. a crooked seat) can lead to back problem.


Poorly fitting saddles are one of the most frequent causes of back problems.


As age increases the effects of previous small and/or large traumas to the spine become more apparent.


Poor hoof care and incorrect shoeing interfere with the horse’s movement resulting in subluxations of the spine.