Asking your vet to perform a pre-purchase or pre-lease examination on a new horse may not always seem necessary, but using the time and resources on the front end can often prevent you from discovering major issues down the road.
What is a pre-purchase exam?
A pre-purchase or pre-lease examination consists of a thorough physical examination of a potential new horse by your veterinarian. Pre-purchase exams are usually flexible to suit the buyer’s financial limits and the desired discipline of the horse. For example, an owner looking to purchase a performance horse as a grand prix jumper will likely want a thorough physical exam, bloodwork, and an array of radiographs before making a purchase decision. On the other hand, a buyer looking for a backyard horse for their grandchildren may only opt for a physical exam.
What are my options?
At EVA, we offer flexibility and allow a purchaser the freedom to choose the extent of examination performed.
Our baseline pre-purchase examination includes a thorough physical exam that covers:
- Integementary system (skin and hair coat)
- Nervous system (reflexes, signs of incoordination or ataxia, etc.)
- Lymphatic system (normal lymph node size, signs of sweating deficiencies)
- Respiratory system (breathing rate and rhythm, palpation of trachea/larynx, signs of sinus drainage, etc.)
- Cardiovascular system (resting pulse, capillary refill time, palpation of jugular veins, etc.)
- Urinary system
- Genital system
- Digestive system (dental structures, intestinal sounds, etc.)
- Musculoskeletal system (symmetry of muscle mass, palpation of back, etc.)
- Palpation of all four limbs (palpate tendons and ligaments, flex joints)
- Hoof test all four hooves (heels, frog, quarters, and sole)
- Locomotive exam and flexion test (observe locomotion on longe line at the walk, trot, and canter in both directions, observe walk/trot in-hand in straight line, flex all four limbs)
Additional examination options:
- We will gladly take as many or as few radiographs as the purchaser requests. For a performance horse, we recommend taking radiographs of the front feet, hocks, and stifles. We will gladly take radiographs of any other areas of concern, such as the spine or fetlock joints.
- Ultrasound Exam
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
- Blood Chemistry
- Fecal Exam
- Coggins (EIA) Test
- Drug Screen
- Endoscopic Exam
- Rectal/Breeding Soundness Exam
“Pass” or “Fail”?
The purpose of a pre-purchase examination is to gather as much information about the horse as possible. We do not “pass” or “fail” a horse, but allow the purchaser to consider his or her desired use for the horse and make an informed decision based on the examination findings.