Strong communication, compassionate handling and scientific rigor.
When buying a horse, many buyers ask for an equine pre-purchase exam. This serves to identify any preexisting problems which may hinder a horse’s future performance and reduce buyer risk. The inspection usually consists of phases in which a veterinarian examines all aspects of the horse’s health. We offer protection to horse buyers by helping to identify existing and potential problems with their prospective horse. We also offer a range of diagnostic equipment to maximize the information available in making your purchase decision.
Every pre-purchase examination begins with a physical exam of the horse. At this stage we assess the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, eyes, teeth, conformation, and palpate the limbs for areas of current and chronic injury.
Following the initial examination, we observe the horse on the lunge line on sand footing to assess gait, soundness, and level of fitness. The heart and lungs are listened to again after exercise to check for stress related abnormalities. The horse is then observed on hard footing to reveal lamenesses that are exaggerated by concussion.
Flexion tests are performed on the lower limbs. These tests involve bending a specific joint for a set period and then immediately trotting the horse off. Arthritic or inflamed joints can be identified this way, as the horse will show stiffness or a slight limp for a few strides.
If the horse performs well on the above tests, we move onto the imaging section of the examination. This typically involves digital radiography, ultrasonography or a combination of both. We often examine the soft tissues, such as a thickened tendon, with digital ultrasonography.
We examine the bones and joints of the limbs for signs of injury, arthritis, and the potential for future problems. No horse is perfect, so our goal is to decide which findings are unlikely to interfere with the horse's soundness, verses those which will become a problem. The past record of soundness, age of the horse, and intended use are obviously important factors in these decisions.
Blood tests can be drawn if illness or abnormality is suspected. Our policy is to hold a blood sample for 30 days from every pre-purchase examination in the event that drug testing is requested. This is for protection of the buyer and the seller, to relieve any suspicion that the horse was given enhancing drugs prior to the exam. An insurance form will be completed for you if desired.
Additional blood or hair tests for genetic diseases (HYPP, HERDA, OLWS, PSSM, SCID, Etc.)
Digital Results Storage
Hopefully, all has gone well, and the exam concludes with you taking home your new horse. All the images are stored in an image archiving database. Many horses have been resold successfully because we can demonstrate that a small abnormality on x-ray was present on the last pre-purchase examination and has not worsened or affected performance. The images can also be sent to another veterinarian, as we frequently perform exams for buyers in other countries and forward the x-rays to their own veterinarian.
All exam results and images are confidential and are only released on authorization of the individual who commissioned the exam.
Options and Details
This describes a pre-purchase examination performed at your facility. Of course, if the horse is found to be unsuitable at any point, the exam is terminated, and no further charges are incurred. Appropriate footing may vary, this can sometimes limit our gait evaluations. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our pre-purchase services.