Our equine vets are highly experienced and knowledgeable in the field of lameness investigation, and our independent equine vet clinic is well-equipped with excellent diagnostic and surgical facilities.
Our lameness investigation starts with a thorough history from you and a thorough examination of the horse at rest. We will carefully palpate the horse, feeling for any swelling, heat, or conformational abnormalities. Following a static examination, we will view the horse walking and trotting in hand, usually perform flexion tests on relevant limbs, then view the horse on the lunge. Depending on the facilities available and the nature of the lameness, we may lunge the horse on both hard and soft ground. In some circumstances we view the horse under saddle too, depending upon the presenting complaint.
You can find out more about how to trot up your horse for our equine vets here.
Once the lameness has been identified and quantified, we will work to isolate the underlying cause. This process usually starts with nerve blocks. However, it may start with imaging depending on the nature of the lameness. Usually, we use nerve blocks to isolate a specific anatomical area to image, and thus pinpoint the underlying cause.
Imaging generally includes radiographs (x-rays) and ultrasound scanning. We have high quality portable x-ray and ultrasound equipment, as well as clinic-based systems allowing imaging both at your yard and at the clinic. Radiographs allow us to assess bones and ultrasound allows us to assess soft tissues; for this reason, both are often required to reach a diagnosis.
The causes of lameness in horses varies and the cause does not always correlate with the severity or area of lameness. Lameness can have complex roots, so it is important that a methodical approach to diagnosis is used, and a range of possible causes of lameness are considered.
Treatment of lameness in horses varies depending on the type and severity of the root problem. Once a diagnosis has been reached, treatment options will be discussed with you. These vary widely depending on the underlying cause of lameness. In most cases, all treatment options can be offered by Avonvale Equine Vet Practice. If any kind of surgical lameness treatment is required, then we can utilise our purpose-built surgical suite. Other treatments for lameness often employed include joint medications and controlled exercise programmes. We also offer shockwave therapy, performed at your yard or at our clinic, which can be used to treat a range of conditions. For more information on treatments for lameness and other ailments, please see our therapies section.