Equine Lameness Examinations at Morgan Equine
Lameness examinations are the focus of our practice. Dr. Morgan uses a step wise process to evaluate soundness based on objective data. There are two parts to a lameness evaluation. The Dynamic Examination and the Static Examination. We have been using the Lameness Locator as an integral part of the Dynamic Examination since 2008.
The first order of business is a dynamic motion evaluation.
Your horse will be fitted with the Lameness Locator (see below). They may be walked and trotted in a straight-line on a firm surface in-hand. Be sure to bring a halter and lead that will help you manage this portion of the exam.
Dr. Morgan will be looking for asymmetry in gait and accessing neurological status at this stage.
Horses are lunged on a firm or soft surface to the left and right at a trot and possibly a canter. Don't be too concerned if your horse has not lunged before. Most horses get the hang of it very quickly.
Sometimes a ridden evaluation is needed. Bring your gear if that's the case or if you need help fitting your tack or if the problem arises during tacking or riding. We also have the Port Lewis Saddle Fitting System. Its a great way to find out how to customize your existing saddle for one or several horses.
Next, we come back into the hospital for a thorough static physical examination. Systematic palpation of muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments starting at the head on the left side, moving around the body and limbs to end upon the right side at the head again.
At this point, Dr. Morgan discusses all physical findings, both dynamic and static, and assigns importance to them. She typically waits to hear about the history of the horse until now so she can evaluate the horse with out any preconceived notions.
A diagnostic plan that fits into the goal and budget of the visit is discussed. It takes about an hour to complete the initial evaluation.
Veterinary Appointment Suggestions
- Do not pre-medicate your horse with anti-inflammatory agents such as (but not limited to) banamine, bute, equioxx or isoxsuprine. They should be off all medication of this type for 12 to 24 hours if possible. They should remain on their special medications such as respiratory or thyroid medications, hormonal treatments, antibiotics, etc. If you have a question about medications, please email Dr. Morgan.
- Bring with you or have e-mailed radiographs or ultrasounds from other Veterinarians especially if they have been taken with in the last six months. Anything older than one or two years may not be helpful unless we compare to images taken recently. Use firstname.lastname@example.org to email images.
- Do not have your horses shoes removed specifically for the appointment. If the horse is due to be shod, you may want to wait, if it will be more than two weeks before the appointment you should probably keep his regular shoeing appointment and get him shod before the appointment.
- People shoes. Who ever is going to be jogging the horse should wear appropriate footwear. Everyone remembers this tip on the second visit!
- If you are experiencing the lameness issue while only under tack, please bring your riding clothes, a helmet and appropriate footwear along with your tack. You may be asked to ride or tack up your horse. All riders must sign a consent form. Riders under 18 must have an adult present and sign a consent form.
- A snack. We have water, coffee and tea available with small snack items, if you are coming for the first time with a new horse that needs a full lameness examination, it can be a long day.
- For late fall, winter or early spring appointments, dress with layers. We keep the examination room and stable at about 50 to 55 degrees for the horses comfort. The conference room and offices are heated to human comfort, but the action usually happens in the examination areas.
- Winter appointments are iffy . It's not uncommon to have to reschedule during this time. Weather safety is very important and we don't mind rescheduling these appointments. We usually leave for Florida mid December and return at the end of March.
- Once you arrive with your horse, you should check in before unloading. If it is raining, be sure your horse has a sheet on before it gets out of the trailer. We would like them to be dry.
- Bring past history, images and treatment information to your appointment.
I just wanted to say thank you for making the process so interesting and informative. I can see that you really love your work and invest a lot of yourself into it. I really appreciated that you shared your thought processes with me as you went along, made me feel involved in the process, and raised my level of knowledge. Thank you very much!