As every horse owner knows, lameness can strike at any time. That’s why our equine veterinary specialists are proud to provide thorough lameness examinations using our experienced eye and the most advanced veterinary diagnostics available.
What to Expect During an Equine Lameness Exam
During a lameness examination, our veterinarian’s job is to determine whether a horse is experiencing pain, and, if so, to diagnose the underlying cause or origin of the pain. We use a systematic process of examination to evaluate lameness in our patients.
The first part of a lameness exam is a physical examination of the horse’s musculoskeletal system. Our veterinarian will feel each part of your horse, looking for signs that could indicate a problem such as swelling, heat, stiffness, pain to the touch, and diminished range of motion.
After thoroughly palpating the horse during the musculoskeletal examination, our veterinarian will evaluate your horse’s movement during the dynamic examination. We’ll watch the horse walk in a straight line and both clockwise and counterclockwise circles. Additionally, we’ll examine the horse’s movement at different gaits (walk, trot, and canter).
The flexion test is used to further pinpoint the source of a horse’s lameness. Our veterinarian will flex or “stress” different joints, observing the horse before and after to look for differences after flexing joints or squeezing the hooves.
Diagnostic analgesia uses local anesthetics to narrow down the location of lameness in a horse. By blocking certain nerve pathways with a numbing agent and continuing to observe the horse’s performance, we can more closely locate the source of lameness.
When we’ve located the general location of a horse’s lameness, our veterinarians will likely recommend diagnostic imaging such as x-rays or ultrasound to diagnose the exact underlying cause of lameness. With an accurate diagnosis, we’ll be able to recommend a safe and effective treatment plan to resolve your horse’s lameness and restore its physical stamina, strength, and performance.
A Proactive Approach to Equine Wellness and Health Evaluations
Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley emphasizes wellness and preventative care for horses. In addition to lameness exams for horses exhibiting symptoms, we offer proactive lameness examinations to catch health concerns before they affect your horse’s performance.
Additionally, we provide our patients with access to the most advanced equine diagnostics and veterinary medicine available. To learn more about our equine specialists and the veterinary care available at Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley, we welcome you to contact our practice today.