Lameness Exams

Our goal is to establish an accurate diagnosis as efficiently and quickly as possible. We can then provide you with the most accurate prognosis based on experience and knowledge of the current literature and offer treatment options to expedite recovery and your horse’s return to exercise.

When assessing lameness, it is crucial to control as many variables as possible by having a consistent examination area with even surfaces, few distractions and good horse handling. For this reason, we prefer lameness examinations to be performed at the clinic where we have separate hard and soft lunging areas and dedicated staff to trot patients up as required. Examination under saddle can be done in the 20m soft arena or a flat paddock.

A detailed musculoskeletal examination at rest and during exercise is performed first which is often sufficient to establish where the site of pain or injury may be. Video records are frequently used for gait analysis and records, especially when performing diagnostic analgesia (nerve and joint blocks). Please let us know if you have any objections to this.

Regional limb and/or joint blocks are used to confirm the site of injury when there is any doubt or help regionalise the area of pain if there have been no significant findings following the clinical examination.

Diagnostic imaging (see here) which frequently involves both radiography and ultrasonography is used to establish a more specific diagnosis that helps target available therapeutic options and establish a more accurate prognosis for both you and your horse.

Follow up examination is an important part of monitoring progress and reinforcing the original diagnosis. There are often several components to lameness (multiple sites of injury, multiple limbs, and secondary back pain are frequent examples) that become more or less obvious during the recovery phase. Monitoring these changes are an integral part of integrating different treatment streams and involving other paraprofessionals such as farriers and physiotherapists as appropriate.

Managing Joint Disease and Injury (Click Here)