Before buying the horse of your dreams, protect yourself with a pre-purchase exam. While they cannot guarantee your horse will help you reach all of your riding goals, it can provide insight to help you make an informed decision. The goal of the pre-purchase exam is to expose underlying health concerns that may not be apparent to the naked or untrained eye that could prevent you from reaching your goal or present maintenance issues. The pre-purchase exam assesses general health, conformation and soundness for the intended use. The exam is not a pass-fail test or a guarantee of long term health. Every horse has problems but a prepurchase exam provides you, the buyer, with information so you can decide if the problems exposed are ones you are willing to accept.
Our veterinarians are happy to provide pre-purchase examinations of various levels. Your veterinarian will customize your exam for your needs based on what you intend to use your new equine companion for. In general there are three phases to a pre-purchase exam: basic health evaluation, lameness assessment, and ancillary diagnostics. Each of these can include multiple steps depending on your expectations and how you intend to use the horse.
The basic health evaluation includes obtaining the horse’s medical history and a thorough physical exam. The exam looks at overall condition and conformation as well as a detailed evaluation of behavior, heart, lungs, teeth, eyes, gastrointestinal system, and reproductive system. The skilled veterinarian will look closely for signs of previous surgeries and offer drug screenings. The musculoskeletal examination is part of both the passive physical exam as well as the lameness exam. The veterinarian evaluates the soft tissues as well as the bones and joints of the horse prior to putting the horse through a motion exam to look for any signs of lameness or neurologic disease. Your veterinarian will help you, the buyer, decide if you would like further ancillary tests performed such as radiographs, endoscopy of the upper airway, reproductive rectal exam, and other tests.