Horse Lameness Exams
Horse lameness can be quite simply described as any change in the horse’s gait (their manner of walking).
The lameness exam will begin by gathering your horse’s medical and farrier history as well as their work/exercise routine through a series of questions, conversations, and previous medical records.
Our vets at Sturgis Veterinary Hospital & Equine Center will conduct a visual appraisal of your horse at rest. Then, they will evaluate conformation, balance, and weight-bearing, and look for any signs of injury or stress.
Lameness Evaluation Process
A complete hands-on examination will be conducted in search of pain, heat, or swelling of muscles, joints, bones, and tendons.
Our veterinarians will evaluate the movement of the horse at a walk and trot for several signs including head bobbing, switching leads, stiffness, shortening of the stride, and poor performance.
Joint flexion tests will illuminate any subtle signs of pain and irregular movement.
Based on the evaluation, equine lameness treatment can be crafted and pursued. Horse lameness treatment may involve drug administration to the horse to help ease their muscles.
Diagnostics & Treatment
To ensure a controlled environment we prefer to work on any lameness examination in the hospital. However, the initial workup may be done on the farm as long as there is a solid, level surface.
Further diagnostics may be required including blocking joints and nerves with a local anesthetic to pinpoint the origin of the lameness.
Once isolated, imaging with X-rays and ultrasound can help determine the actual problem causing the lameness. This knowledge allows us to design a specific recovery plan for each horse.