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Lameness Assessment

How our vets conduct lameness assessments

Sometimes your vet will recommend that your horse comes into the clinic for a lameness work up. This allows us to have access to the full range of diagnostic equipment that we may not be able to bring to the yard.

Preparation for your horse's workup

Prior to your horse attending the clinic we ask that they do not have any pain medication for 3-4 days prior to their appointment. This allows us to see the extent of the lameness. We also ask that you have a look at your horse 24-48 hours before he or she comes in to ensure the lameness is visible, often they improve with rest, if this is the case they may just need a little exercise before coming in. If your horse is not lame when you attend the clinic we will not be able to conduct a lameness work up.

What will happen during the assessment?

Your horse will be trotted in a straight line and looked at on the lunge. We will often conduct flexion tests which may help to localise the lameness. If following this initial assessment it is clear where the problem is we will start diagnostic imaging if not we will nerve block your horse.

Nerve blocks are injections of local anaesthetic which numb specific areas of your horses limb, this helps us to identify where the pain is coming from. Nerve blocking can take some time dependent on the source of the lameness. Some complicated cases may require referral for bone scan (scintigraphy) to help localise the source of pain.

Once we know where the pain is coming from we can image the area. Dependent on the type of lameness we may x-ray, ultrasound or both. In some cases we recommend advanced imaging such as MRI or CT which gives more detail of a specific area. Your horse may require endoscopy under general anaesthesia for a diagnosis or for treatment of the problem.

Do I need to stay for the assessment?

You can stay for the assessment if you wish but lameness work ups can take a considerable amount of time and may even need to be conducted over a couple of days. If you wish to leave your horse with us we have a fantastic team who will care for your horse during his or her stay.

If you have any questions regarding a lameness assessment or treatment please call the clinic on 01373 836186.

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