The Pre-Purchase Examination


Prior to the investment of purchasing or leasing a new horse, a complete pre-purchase examination is highly recommended. The format can be tailored to the individual needs of the client, but usually involves a thorough physical examination from head to tail. The horse is also observed for soundness, and digital radiographs are encouraged to establish a baseline of skeletal changes. Reproductive exams, ultrasound exams, and upper airway endoscopies are among the ancillary procedures also available.

Why do a pre-purchase exam?

  • To gather information about the horse
  • Protect your investment
  • Give you peace of mind
  • Identify intended purpose and serviceability of horse

What will the veterinarian do?

  • Obtain a medical and athletic history on the horse
  • Inquire about intended purpose of horse
  • Perform a thorough exam of the horse including:
    • General Physical Exam
    • Eyes
    • Cardiovascular System
    • Respiratory System
    • Urogenital System
    • Digestive System
    • Nervous System
    • Musculoskeletal System
    • Hooves
  • Perform a Soundness Exam
    • Observation of gaits on hard and soft surfaces
    • Forced flexion exams of all limbs
  • Bloodwork
    • General health screen
    • Coggins Test
    • Drug Screen
    • Additional tests may be recommended on an individual basis (Lyme Titer, ACTH/Insulin, etc.)
  • Radiographic Examination
    • Basic (predefined or based on flexion tests) vs. Advanced (multiple views of multiple joints/limbs)
  • Ancillary Diagnostics
    • Breeding Soundness Exam + Diagnostics
    • Upper Airway Endoscopy
    • Ultrasonography
    • Nuclear Scintigraphy
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Discuss findings after all steps of the pre-purchase examination

If you’re taking the exciting step into horse ownership or adding another horse to the crew, please contact the clinic to discuss the best pre-purchase exam options for you and your new equine partner!


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