Routine health checks/medical exams or 'vettings' are worth considering when purchasing a horse, regardless of its value, as it will give and idea of the horse's health at the time. There are two possible options; a 2 stage or a 5 stage, both of which take into account your requirements for the horse or pony. These include:
THE 2 STAGE
Initial examination of the horse is in the stable at rest where the heart, lungs, eyes, and conformation are checked for abnormalities. The horse is then taken outside and looked over for any scarring, heat in joints, any signs of previous tendon and ligament injuries and to locate developing conditions such as sarcoids or other growths that may be hidden.
Is the trot up to assess soundness and action on a straight line. It will include flexion tests of all four limbs which allow the vet to ascertain whether the horse remains sound after putting the joints under controlled stress.
THE 5 STAGE
Vetting will then continue with:
The strenuous exercise phase where the horse will be ridden or lunged in all gaits to assess for abnormal movement and respiratory noise. Immediately after exercise the respiratory and cardiovascular systems are re-examined.
Consists of the rest period during which time details of the markings will be noted. It also allows for any onset of stiffness or stress induced by the exercise to become apparent before the final stage.
Is the final trot up where the vet will be looking for signs of lameness induced by strenuous exercise. This is also when the bloods will be taken for storage which can later be tested for drugs that may have affected the horses’ soundness and performance.
As a practice we recommend that our clients opt for the 5 stage vetting with VDS bloods however we will carry out the 2 stage a the clients’ request. We can also offer further diagnostics in the form of radiography, ultrasound and endoscopy for those clients wishing to have a more comprehensive health check of the horse.