Lameness exams are like puzzle solving, which requires a methodical approach. When you contact us at PCAH about your lame horse, we will have one of our ambulatory veterinarians visit your farm. They will discuss your concerns and listen to your description of your horse’s lameness. A complete examination will be conducted, which will consist of visualization of your horses hoof wear, conformation, swelling, muscle atrophy (loss of muscle mass), etc. The veterinarian will palpate your horse and hoof test each hoof. Structures typically palpated are the back, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Once all structures have been palpated, your horse will be walked and jogged while the doctor watches for abnormal gait patterns. Then the veterinarian will flex each limb/joint to exacerbate the lameness. Once the lame limb has been identified, our veterinarian will perform a diagnostic nerve and/or joint block. After each block has been conducted, the horse will be jogged and flexed again to evaluate the lameness. After the location of the lameness is determined, digital radiographs may be recommended to see bony structures. If the source of pain cannot be identified via digital radiographs, it may be recommended to have a thorough ultrasound and/or MRI.
Horses can develop pain in their joints from routine use (especially performance horses), normal aging, or a traumatic event. If your horse appears to be sore, has joint swelling or reduced performance, call us at PCAH and we will have one of our veterinarians visit your farm for a lameness exam. Once the source of pain is located, there are different options of treatment to choose from:
- Systemic therapies and examples:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Bute, Banamine and Equiox)
- Polysulfated glycosaminoglycans (Adequan)
- Hyaluronic Acid (Legand or Polyglycan)
- Joint Therapies (Joint Injections) and examples:
- Steroids (Depomedrol)
- Hyaluronic Acid (Hylartin)
If your horse is not performing at its best, let us help you determine the reason. Some common issues are often related to:
Inflammatory Airway Disease
Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage
Myopathies (Muscle Disorders)
Heart related issues, such as arrhythmias or murmurs.
We will work with your farrier to help him trim or shoe your horse appropriately. If you do not have a farrier, we can help find you one to fit your horse’s needs. We offer digital radiography to assist your farrier to see the position of the bone in the hoof capsule.