Why a pre-purchase exam?
A pre-purchase exam allows us to identify any pre-existing conditions or areas of concern prior to purchase of the horse.
First the veterinarian will discuss your expectations of the horse and what discipline and level you will expect the horse to perform at. The veterinarian will inquire about what the horse has been used for and if there has been any issues in the past. The veterinarian will examine your horse thoroughly, they will look at the horses eyes, teeth, body condition, they will palpate the joints and limbs. They listen to the heart and lungs to make sure there is no obvious evidence of cardiovascular disease that may compromise your horses future performance. They will identify any conformational abnormalities that might impede the horse from doing what you want him to do. After the initial physical exam we will watch your horse walk trot and canter in hand and sometimes even under saddle. We will complete a thorough neurological examination. We will do flexions of each joint. This involves flexing or bending each joint for about 60 seconds and watching the horse trot away. This allows the veterinarian to identify any possible problems within a specific joint. We also place hoof testers on the horses feet to ensure there is no obvious foot sensitivity.
If there are an concerns or if the owner would like we have digital imaging available to assess joints that we think may have taken some wear and tear. We have a portable digital x ray unit that allows us to take images and evaluate them right then and there on a screen and point out any areas of concern such as early arthritis or a bone chip. We also have a digital ultrasound that we may use to evaluate soft tissue disorders or complete a reproduction soundness exam if you are buying the animal for breeding purposes. We are able to collect blood for Equine Infectious Anaemia testing (also known as coggins) or to perform routine blood-work to evaluate all of the internal organs for early signs of disease. We are also able to perform drug and toxin screens if the buyer wishes to do so.
We will provide each buyer a written report with our findings. We are also able to provide owners with the radiographs if they would like them.
A pre-purchase exam is an investment, it is important to make sure you know what you are buying to avoid heartbreak and disappointment in the future.