A few helpful hints for owners who are bringing in their horses for a lameness evaluation

  • Pain killing medications such as bute (equipalazone) or danilon should not be given in the last 4 days prior to the work up.
  • Your horse shoule be presented well shod and shoes SHOULD NOT be removed prior to a lameness evaluation. It is not possible to properly evaluate horses which are poorly shod or without shoes when they are normally shod, as foot soreness could complicate the clinical picture and not give a true representation of the lameness. Where possible, no farriery should be performed on your horse’s feet in the week prior to the visit. Any of the above mentioned could impair our ability to accurately diagnose the origin of a lameness.
  • Try to ensure that your horse is noticeably lame on the day of the visit as nerve / joint blocks cannot be performed on sound horses. Mildly lame horses may need to be worked daily for several days prior to the examination in order to be lame enough for a meaningful lameness evaluation to be performed It might also be helpful to bring your tack in order to see the horse move under saddle (especially in cases of mild hindlimb lameness, gait or performance problems).
  • Box Rest will sometimes have been recommended prior to your appointment at the hospital. Please inform the office at the time of booking and speak to tyour vet if this is the case, as rest and a new environment can mask a lameness in a fresh, excited horse.
  • Owners are welcome to stay during the work up if they wish, but due to lameness investigations often being lengthy, it may be preferable to leave the horse at the clinic and collect later the same day or the following day when investigations and any treatments are completed.
  • Please bring your horses tack in order to see your horse under saddle. It may not be required, but in cases such as a mild hindlimb lameness or poor performance under saddle, it can be very useful.

If you have a horse with a lameness or poor performance issues, please call the clinic to discuss the best approach to allow further investigations into these problems.

How long will I have to be at the clinic if I bring my horse in for a lameness examination?

In some cases, the cause of lameness will be relatively easy to determine based on a physical examination. In other cases, a more prolonged and detailed examination will be required.

An in-depth lameness evaluation (including nerve and joint blocks) can be very time consuming and is often necessary to identify the origin of a horse’s lameness (especially chronic lameness). Your horse is likely to be admitted initially for the day on an out-patient basis, but more prolonged investigations may be required, in which case your horse may be admitted for several days.

The presence of the owner may not be required for the entire time, so there is the opportunity to leave the horse with us to continue the investigations.

Horses referred to BEVC by a veterinary surgeon and second opinion cases will be subjected to a detailed examination of the entire musculoskeletal system. The physical examination will be followed by an in-depth orthopaedic evaluation including walking, trotting, lunging on soft and hard surfaces and ridden exercise as appropriate.

We also have the availability of an objective gait analysis system, which measures the horse’s symmetry when moving at trot. Sensors are placed on the head-collar, withers, back and pelvis of your horse and measurements are be taken during the normal orthopaedic evaluation. Use of the gait analysis system can be performed at any orthopaedic evaluation and if deemed to be useful, will be offered to you and your horse.

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