Lameness and Pre-Purchase Exams
Personal, first-hand evaluation of the horse is the cornerstone of Front Range Equine’s practice.
Soundness and honesty are the essence of any horse. Soundness is also the most common medical problem. From birth through retirement, whether caused by competitive injuries or accidents in the field, every horse is subject to becoming lame. When a horse shows signs of lameness, healing him begins with a lameness examination. The lameness exam starts with a standing physical examination of various structures of the horse—which structures depend on the presenting concern. The second phase of the exam is conducted while the horse is in motion. Initially, the horse is lunged on soft and hard surfaces. If the horse’s lameness is better seen under saddle, the owner will tack up and ride the horse in the arena. Following this, Flexion tests are performed. After the soundness evaluation is completed, a plan for further diagnostics or treatment is developed with the owner, trainer, primary veterinarian and, if appropriate, farrier involvement. This plan addresses the current problem and often outlines a program for preventive maintenance.
Pre-Purchase exams assist you and your trainer in assessing whether a horse is fit at the time of purchase for the use that you intend to make of the horse.
The Pre-Purchase exam begins with a standing evaluation of the entire horse, including the heart, lungs, eyes, gastrointestinal tract, musculoskeletal system, and overall body condition. In the second stage, the horse is observed while moving on soft and hard footing, and if possible, the horse is also observed under saddle. This is followed by Flexion tests to evaluate each limb region. A standard set of x-rays are commonly done, and if a buyer has specific concerns, we will address those with additional x-rays. Blood work is commonly done—including a Coggins test. Additional optional chemistry work and Complete Blood Count (CBC) to evaluate organ function and blood cell values may be done, as well as a complete drug screen.