Lameness in horses is a very common problem. It can be as simple as a hoof abscess; other times, lameness investigations can be time consuming and in-depth. We will discuss with you at the time of admittance if it is likely that your horse will need to stay overnight, but often we will not know until we have started the investigation.
The workup will most likely consist of walking and trotting on hard and soft surfaces in both straight lines and on a circle (flexion tests may also be carried out). At the surgery we have full facilities for trotting up and lungeing on both soft and hard surfaces. If the lameness were most pronounced when ridden, it would be likely we would take a look at the horse under saddle.
Since it is often difficult to establish exactly where the site of the pain is we may perform nerve blocks. This is done by injecting small amounts of local anaesthetic around the nerves supplying particular areas of the leg. By doing this in a methodical fashion from the heel up we are able to see when the pain is diminished as the horse will trot up sound.
Once the site of pain has been established we will then investigate further by way of x-rays and ultrasound. Then, depending on the findings, either a treatment plan will be drawn up and a prognosis given or referral for further investigation may be suggested.
For a copy of our Lameness Workup Info Sheet, please Click Here.