Lameness in a horse is described as any variation in a horse’s gait. Signs of lameness can be mild; such as a horse that head bobs when walking, an uneven gait, or is non weight bearing. These changes/abnormalities can be caused by pain in the neck, back, hips, legs, feet, etc. This can reveal itself as a change in performance or attitude. Horses showing lameness should be seen by a veterinarian. Countryside Vet offers thorough lameness examinations using the extensive knowledge of our veterinarians and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment (X-Ray and Ultrasound). All Countryside veterinarians are experienced with performing lameness examinations on horses. Dr. Wade Shoemaker and Dr. Josh Zacharias specialize in sports medicine and performance horses. Dr. Zacharias is both board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.
The lameness exam starts with the horse’s medical history and a physical exam of the horse including an inspection of hoof structure and the horse’s physical conformation and condition. Lameness exams are usually performed on a hard surface like asphalt to exacerbate lameness, highlighting the area(s) of concern. The horse is trotted in a straight line and on a circle in both directions to get a baseline if they are sore and where, prior to flexing the joints. The veterinarian palpates the musculoskeletal and soft tissue structures, checking for reactions from the horse, then flexes the joints at the maximum range of motion for a set amount of time. The horse is again trotted to evaluate how the horse moves compared to baseline. Additional diagnostics like digital x-rays or ultrasound can be performed to pinpoint the cause and severity of lameness.
Call to schedule a lameness exam today!