Lameness

One of the most common issues we have to deal with as equine veterinarians is lameness.

At McKinlay & Peters Equine Hospital, our goal is to return horses to soundness as quickly and completely as possible. The first and most important step is to accurately determine the cause of the horse's lameness. This requires expertise and experience. It also requires high quality imaging equipment. MPEH has state of the art digital radiography equipment that allows us to obtain the best x-rays possible. We also utilize a high resolution ultra sound which provides superior images of soft tissue structures in the legs. Our Lameness Center has the proper surfaces to evaluate any lameness, as well as providing protection from the elements, so no matter the weather, the examination can take place in a comfortable environment.

Lameness exams can take a few minutes or several hours. Some may even require a second evaluation on another day. Frequently, horses have more than one lameness problem. Diagnosis and treatment of all of the problems is necessary to successfully return the horse to performance. Recognizing the origin of the lameness, palpation and manipulation of the legs, flexion tests, and applying hoof testers are all part of the exam. This is often followed by evaluating the lameness after injecting local anesthetic over nerves or into joints to determine the source of the horse's pain. Years of experience are required to make an accurate evaluation of the horse's response to these diagnostic tests.

Once an accurate diagnosis is made, selecting the best treatment is critical to returning horses to performance. There are a wide range of treatments available today for horses with lameness problems. Treatment options include: medications, joint injections, surgery, rest and rehabilitation, or the use of new treatments such as bone marrow derived stem cell therapy. Being able to know which course of treatment to take and when to employ it can make the difference in success or failure. Our doctors have the knowledge, expertise and experience to help horse owners choose and implement the most appropriate treatment for their horse.