A thorough and safe lameness investigation neesd to be undertaken in a suitable environment. Investigation of lameness involves an initial assessment of your horse's conformation, physical examination at rest and gait assessment. Horses will typically need to
- be trotted up on a flat, level hard surface
- observed lunging on both hard and soft surfaces.
- possibly be ridden
Many yards will have facilities to enable us to perform investigations and we have invested in mobile diagnostic equipment should you prefer this. If your horse is brought into to the clinic for the investigation process, we have everything we need, including a dedicated trot up surfaces, lunging pen and manage. If you are not able to be present for the appointment, our nursing staff are available to ride your horse. Should you wish to stay and observe you are welcome to do so - we have a comfortable waiting room, with free hot drinks and WiFi.
Once a baseline lameness and problem list has been established, we will then use a technique known as 'nerve/joint blocking' to locate which area hurts. Localising lameness can be a lengthy process and must be undertaken in a logical manner to find out specifically what structures are painful and resulting in lameness.
Once the lameness has been localised, we can discuss how best to proceed. This involves using the most appropriate diagnostic imaging methods to diagnose the problem itself. This may not be possible in one single appointment, and may even involve referral for more extensive imaging such as scintigraphy (bone scan); computer tomography (CT) or even magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques. It is important to us that you are involved in every step of this process, so feel free to ask us as many questions as you wish as we go through the process together. After reaching a diagnosis, treatment options will be created, discussed with you and implemented according to your wishes.
If extensive evaluation is required, your horse may stay with us in our hospitalisation until the investigation is completed. Many surgical treatments can be performed in house at our clinic, under the careful management of our experienced surgeon Dr Graham Hunter. Should referral be required we will take care of all the arrangements on your behalf and ensure the process is as simple and smooth as possible.