The purpose of a pre-purchase examination is to provide a prospective buyer with the best information available about the horse they intend to buy. A pre-purchase examination involves an in-depth examination of multiple body systems of the horse, and will also often involve diagnostic imaging and other blood tests.
During the pre-purchase examination, the horse will be assessed for:
- Cardiovascular Fitness – detection of heart murmurs or arrhythmia’s that may limit performance
- Respiratory Health – signs and symptoms of lower or upper airway dysfunction
- Ophthalmologic Health – evaluation of the eyes for signs of disease or visual dysfunction
- Oral Health – dental abnormalities that may impact performance or general health
- Dermatologic Condition – skin diseases, cutaneous tumors
- Neurological Fitness – signs of wobbler’s disease, EPM, or other nerve damage
- Musculoskeletal System – obvious or hidden injuries that may limit the horse’s performance for its intended purpose
Typically after the physical examination of the horse is complete, a series of flexion tests will be performed as a means of testing the horse for hidden signs of lameness. The horse will also be evaluated on a longe line as well as under saddle when possible.
Finally, in most instances, a series of radiographs (x-rays) will be taken of the horse to gain further information about the horse’s overall musculoskeletal health. Additional tests may be recommended depending on individual circumstances, including:
- Pre-purchase drug screen – to ensure that the horse is not under the influence of pain-relieving or tranquilizing substances at the time of the examination
- Blood work – CBC/Chemistry, Lyme disease titer, EPM titer
- Ultrasound – to assess any soft tissue structures that may be under question following the clinical examination
- Upper airway endoscopy – to check the health of the horse’s upper airway
After the examination is complete, we will summarize our findings for you and help you make an informed decision about the overall health and soundness of your prospective horse.
Our veterinarians are very experienced in pre-purchase examinations and look forward to helping you with the purchase of your next equine partner.