All cases of lames are different but this post gives a general breakdown of some of the steps that may go into a lameness workup.
- Review of Medical History
Your vet will ask you questions about your horse and gather any information they may feel is relevant to the current situation.
- Visual Examination at Rest
By visually examining your horse at rest your vet can note its conformation, balance, weight-bearing and look for any signs of injury.
- Examination in Motion
Your vet may wish to see your horse in motion. It may be required to be seen moving in a straight line, in circles, in hand or on the lunge. Occasionally your vet may also request to see your horse under saddle to get a more compete view of the presenting lameness.
- Hands on Exam
Your vet will palpate your horse, checking joints, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments for any signs of injury or abnormality.
- Application of Hoof Testers
This piece of equipment allows your vet to apply pressure to areas of the foot to look for abnormal sensitivity or pain.
- Flexion Tests
Your vet will hold a leg in a flexed position for a period of time before evaluating your horse in motion once more. Your horses’ response to flexion tests can help identify the cause of the lameness.
- Nerve and Joint Blocks
Local anaesthetic can be injected into joints or around nerves to numb certain areas. Blocking is a very useful diagnostic technique for identifying the location of a lameness.
Imaging is a further step towards identifying the cause of lameness. There are two main imaging techniques that can be brought to your horse, x-ray for bony structures and ultrasound for soft tissues. Other methods such as MRI, CT and scintigraphy are available but often require sending your horse to a hospital facility.
We offer state of the art digital x-rays which can be viewed instantly on a computer beside your horse and diagnostic ultrasound.