Lameness is any abnormality in a horse's gait which is an indication of a
or functional disorder in one or more limbs of a horse that is
apparent during motion or in the standing position. Lameness is most often due
to a muscle , joint or bone abnormalities.
How a lame horse is examined depends largely on the type of lameness. Some
lameness cases are easily diagnosed by history, presentation and a physical
examination. However, other lameness disorders (often mild lameness), may
require joint flexions, diagnostic nerve/joint blocks, radiography,
ultrasonography, nuclear scintigraphy and other diagnostic procedures.
A pre-purchase exam includes a physical exam, soundness exam,
radiology, endoscopy, ultrasonography, routine blood work and drug screening.
Each pre-purchase exam is tailored around the buyers needs and intended use of
Owning a horse can be
a big investment in time, money and emotion. Unfortunately, horses
seldom come with a money-back guarantee. That’s why it is so important
to investigate the horse’s overall health and condition through a
pre-purchase exam conducted by an equine veterinarian. Whether you want
a horse as a family pet, a pleasure mount, a breeding animal, or a high
performance athlete, you stand the best chance of getting one that meets
your needs by investing in a pre-purchase exam.
Pre-purchase examinations may vary, depending on the intended use of the
horse and the veterinarian who is doing the examination. Deciding
exactly what should be included in the pre-purchase examination requires
good communication between you and you veterinarian. The following
guidelines will help ensure a custom-tailored exam:
veterinarian who is familiar with the breed, sport or use for which
the horse is being purchased.
Explain to your
veterinarian your expectations and primary use for the horse,
including short-and long-term goals (e.g. showing, then breeding).
veterinarian to outline the procedures that he or she feels should
be included in the exam and why.
costs for these procedures.
Be present during
the pre-purchase exam. The seller or agent should also be present.
Discuss with your
veterinarian his or her findings in private.
Don’t be afraid
to ask questions or request further information about you
veterinarian’s findings in private.
job is neither to pass nor fail an animal. Rather, it is to provide you
with information regarding any existing medical problems and to discuss
those problems with you so that you can make an informed pre-purchase
decision. Your veterinarian can advise you about the horse’s current
physical condition, but he or she cannot predict the future. The
decision to buy is yours alone to make. But your equine veterinarian can
be a valuable partner in the process of providing you with objective,
Attributing the AAEP
and Bayer Animal Health
Digital Radiography Imaging System
radiography (DR) is becoming very common in equine veterinary clinics
around the country. Instead of capturing images on cassettes, which
requires the film to be developed manually in chemicals, the DR system
captures information digitally on a special plate using a regular X-Ray
machine. The plates save the image, which is then transferred into a
computer where the images are stored. We can then examine the
computerized radiographs on a work station, and can adjust contrast and
brightness. The imaged can be digitally enlarged and enhanced to reveal
problems that might not be identified using traditional x-ray
time – Each image is captured, verified and
clinically reviewed in seconds.
immediate retakes, eliminate recalls – Images are
reviewed and clinicallyaccepted or rejected
immediately after capture. Windshield time and labor
cost for recalls is eliminated.
darkroom and reduce storage space requirements –
Free up space for other purposes.
exams per day – Return trips for retakes are
eliminated and exam times are shorter.
can generate more revenue. For example, the same
image data can be enhanced to generate both a bone
exam and a soft tissue exam.
will value on-site diagnosis and superior diagnostic
For more information please visit:
Eklin Medical Systems
Ultrasound is used for the evaluation of the soft tissue structures of the
horse. Tendinous and ligamentous structures cannot be examined via radiographs.
However, they can be imaged using a diagnostic ultrasound technique.
diagnostic ultrasonic image is formed by transmitting high frequency sound waves
and reflecting these waves off of different tissue interfaces. Ultrasound is best used for deep penetration of muscles, nerve damage,
tendon injury, trauma, bursitis and scars in contracted tissue.
high-energy shock wave therapy is a
non-invasive and repeatable method of
treatment with hardly any side
effects that has been successfully used in the treatment of the locomotor
apparatus of man for many years. Shockwave therapy is useful for a number of
conditions causing lameness in the horse. These conditions include:
During the treatment,
a total of approximately 750-1500 shock waves are applied. The ultrasound
localization and/or bio-feedback grid-scan technique employed allows the target
area to be precisely scanned step by step and exposed to about 200-300 shock
waves at a time. Treatment is generally started at a low energy level allow the
horses to get used to the shock waves. In the course of the treatment session,
the energy level can be gradually increased. The entire therapy takes about 20
minutes and is repeated two to three times, in an interval of three to six
weeks, according to the diagnosis and the healing process. Slight sedation (by
the administration of detemodine and/or butorphanol) has proved useful to calm
This type of nuclear imaging that uses a "radiopharmaceutical" which is
injected into the blood stream. The compound concentrates in tissues where there
is inflammation or increased cellular activity, such as a hair-line fracture
within a bone or a high suspensory ligament strain. Scintigraphy can also be
used to accurately evaluate navicular syndrome and spinal arthritis- two common
problems where radiographs are not always capable of giving a definitive answer!
We are equipped with a 3-meter gastroscope and a 1-meter laryngic-scope, which
allows us to examine the inside of the stomach for gastriculcers and to diagnose
any disorders of the larynx and pharynx.
The only way to definitively diagnose ulcers is through gastroscopy (3-meter
9.8 feet), which involves placing an endoscope into the stomach and looking at
its surface. To allow this, the stomach must be empty, so most horses are held
off feed for 18 hours and not allowed to drink water for two to three hours
prior to the procedure. With light sedation and possibly a twitch, the endoscope
is passed through the nostril and down the esophagus into the stomach. The light
and camera on the end of the endoscope allows the veterinarian to observe the
lining of the stomach.
Stomach ulcers are quite common in
9 of 10 racehorses get stomach ulcers
Up to 93% of
racehorses get stomach ulcers, regardless of age
of other performance horses have ulcers
Up to 57% of
foals have stomach ulcers, particularly during the first several months of
horses with ulcers show no outward signs of gastrointestinal disease
Clinical Signs and Risk
Factors of Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS):
Clinical Signs Adults
Poor body condition
Stretching often to urinate
Lying in dorsal recumbency
For more information
please visit: Merial
Equine Stomach Ulcers: Study indicates even recreational horses at risk
Upper Respiratory Exam
We use are 1-meter video-endoscope in upper respiratory
exams to examine the larynx and pharynx in the horse.