Lameness cases can be subjected to routine or in-depth investigations as deemed necessary. In-depth lameness evaluations may require the hospitalisation of the horse to permit the detailed and time-consuming examinations to be performed thoroughly. Nerve blocks and joint blocks are routinely carried out (where appropriate), and the clinical examination is usually followed up by one or more types of diagnostic imaging (such as X rays, ultrasound, bone scanning and MRI) using our state-of-the-art equipment. In some cases we may need to have the affected horse ridden in order to fully evaluate the condition. We have a purpose built arena for working our horses and full facilities for trotting up and lungeing. A full lameness examination can take all day (or longer) and sometimes different tests may have to be performed on different days. We aim to maintain close contact with farriers, and use our own consultant farriers in some cases.
A few helpful hints for owners who are bringing in their horses for a lameness evaluation:
• Pain killing medications such as bute and Danilon should not be given in the last 4 days prior to the work up.
• Where possible, no farriery should be performed on your horse’s feet in the week prior to the visit and shoes should not be removed . Any of the above mentioned could impair our ability to accurately diagnose the origin of a lameness.
• Try to ensure that your horse is noticeably lame on the day of the visit as nerve/joint blocks cannot be performed on sound horses. Mildly lame horses might have to be worked daily for several days prior to the lameness examination in order to have a horse which is lame enough to be able to perform a meaningful evaluation. It might also be helpful to bring your tack in order to see the horse move under saddle (especially in cases of mild hindleg lameness or gait problems).
• Owners are welcome to stay during the work up if they wish, but due to lameness investigations often being lengthy, it may be preferable to leave their horse at the clinic and pick it up on the same evening or the following day.