Lameness Exams for Horses
It is of the utmost importance to keep our equine athletes in phenomenal working condition, and we have developed a reputation as a premier center for lameness evaluations. Lameness can simply be described as any alteration in your horse’s gait or stride.
The lameness exam will begin by gathering your horse’s medical and farrier history and work/exercise routine through a series of questions, conversations, and previous medical records.
Our vets at Pacific Crest Equine will conduct a visual appraisal of your horse at rest and then evaluate conformation, balance, and weight-bearing, and look for any signs of injury or stress.
What is involved in a lameness evaluation?
A complete hands-on examination will be conducted in search of pain, heat, or swelling of muscles, joints, bones, and tendons.
Our vets will evaluate the movement of the horse at a walk and trot for several signs including head bobbing, switching leads, stiffness, shortening of the stride, and poor performance.
We perform flexion tests and diagnostic nerve blocks and/or joint blocks to localize the lameness, then use the appropriate imaging, such as radiography, ultrasonography, or thermography to reach a diagnosis.
Why are these exams performed in the hospital?
To ensure a controlled environment we prefer to work on any lameness examination in the hospital. However, the initial workup may be done on the farm as long as there is a solid, level surface.
Further diagnostics may be required including blocking joints and nerves with a local anesthetic to pinpoint the origin of the lameness. Once isolated, imaging with X-rays and ultrasound can help determine the actual problem causing the lameness. This knowledge allows us to design a specific recovery plan for each horse.