A horse is an investment, whether you want him or her for enjoyment, or you're trying to grow a business. The cost you pay can total thousand of dollars.
Just like any horse, it's possible for a horse to have issues that could cost you in the long run. At Woods End Equine Veterinary Services, we advise a person to get a pre-purchase examination before buying the horse to know exactly what he or she is getting into.
Why Get a Pre-Purchase Examination
Although no horse is perfect, a pre-purchase examination helps to evaluate a horse for any pre-existing conditions, as well as potential problems. This evaluation checks for any problems that could affect the soundness of a horse. Plus, it can determine if a horse has any problems that could affect the horse's suitability.
What to Expect During a Pre-Purchase Examination
Generally, we recommend both the buyer and seller be present for the exam to alleviate any conflicts. The veterinarian will assesses the overall condition of the horse.
History: We like to obtain as much history as possible. Such as vaccine records, medication, injury, illness, surgeries, discipline, exercise, etc.
Intended Use: Asking the buyer what their intended use is for the animal, helps us evaluate if the horse is suitable for their future lifestyle.
General: Listening to the horse's heart, lungs, and gut to check for any cardiovascular, pulmonary issues, or gastrointestinal issues. We also check temperature, general condition, and conformation
Physical: Observing and palpating ( examine by touching) for any signs of pain, discomfort, or scarring that could be from a previous injury
Ophthalmic: Looking into horse's eyes to assess his or her cornea, iris, and lens. A thorough eye examination can identify numerous potentially vision-threatening problems in horses such as Uveitis, and Cataracts.
Dental: Using a full mouth speculum and a headlamp, lets us evaluate the mouth. It helps to tell if the horse is in need of a teeth float, any teeth that are or could become a complication with eating or fussing with a bridle. We can help determine the age, dental disease past or potential, and more!
Neurological: We look for reflexes, balance, and coordination. Hoof Exam: A hoof exam lets us look for an abnormalities or anything asymmetrical. We also apply hoof testers which is used to determine the location of a painful area in the foot. This tool helps to locate bruised or punctured areas of the foot, or to diagnose bone disease such as Navicular and Laminits or previous injuries.
Lameness: Dr. Lauri will start by examining the horse at a trot in a straight line. Then the horse will be evaluated at each gait in each direction for a certain amount of time. Afterwards she will asses the horse’s fitness level by listening to his/her heart rate and respiratory rate. We do a serious of different flexion tests to help provide any pain responses and or lameness by applying stress to the particular limb/joint. We watch the horse in motion.
Radiographs: Radiographs can help with finding Osteoarthritis, Navicular, Laminitis, etc.
Ultrasound: Ultrasound can help determine if there is any soft tissue damage or if a mare potentially in foal.
Endoscopic Exam: Can help look for any gastric ulcers and respiratory complications.
Blood Work- We can run a drug screen to see if they are on any specific drug. Also we can run a CBC (Complete Blood Count) and chemistry panel to make sure all of the organs are functional and working properly.
This is the time to ask any questions you have. If you want to know about the care needed for any issues, we encourage you to inquire at this time. It's also the time to request any information about problems that you feel could be an issue. Additionally, for first-time buyers, feel free to ask any questions you have about the horse's care.
What the Results Mean
The results aren't a pass or fail. Even if Dr. McGaughran determines the horse has health problems or temperament issues, it doesn't mean the horse isn't able to be purchased.
Dr. McGaughran discusses the results with you and shares their findings. Dr. McGaughran can let you know if you should be concerned about any of the results. This assessment is merely for your benefit. It's so you can make a sound decision on if the horse fits your needs.
You may want to write down any of Dr. McGaughran's findings and determine if you want to purchase the horse based on the pros and cons.
The pre-purchase evaluation assists you in making sure a horse can work for what you need and want him or her for. It can help you to determine if the price of the horse is right for you and could possibly identify issues that could cost you in the future.
To learn more about or schedule a pre-purchase exam, contact Woods End Equine Veterinary Services today at (973) 209-4994.