A lameness examination involves a thorough physical examination of the horse including palpation of the neck, limbs and back as well as gait evaluation. A horse’s gait is evaluated in hand, on the lunge and sometimes under saddle. Flexion tests may be performed to help localize the source of pain. Diagnostic analgesia (nerve blocks/joint blocks) is utilized to further localize the source of pain by numbing different regions of the limb. If a horse becomes sound after a certain block, that tells us that the injury/problem is within the region which the block numbed. Once the lameness is localized, further diagnostic tools may be employed such as digital radiography (to evaluate bony structures) or ultrasound (to evaluate soft tissue structures). Once we have a diagnosis, our veterinarians then come up with a plan to treat the problem and get your horse back to its peak performance.
“No foot, no horse” It’s an old adage but could not be more true. 80-90% of lameness cases are caused by problems in the foot. All members of our team work are willing to work closely with you and your farrier to ensure that your horse’s feet are well cared for. Our veterinarians are experienced in treating many different and complicated hoof issues including laminitis. In addition to being a veterinarian, Dr. Sears is a trained farrier specializing in therapeutic shoeing and is available for evaluation, consultation and treatment.
We are happy to offer digital radiography which provides instantaneous image acquisition on the farm. The images are acquired on a plate and then transferred via a cable or wirelessly to a screen where they can be viewed, enlarged and manipulated. These images are stored on site and can be emailed to you if needed.
Our portable digital ultrasound provides superior image quality and can be used to evaluate soft tissue structures throughout the body. It is most commonly used to diagnose lameness issues involving tendons or ligaments but can also be used for many other things including wound evaluations, chest and abdomen examination, and foreign body localization. We also use it for ultrasound-guided injections of the sacroiliac (SI) joints.
Shockwave therapy is a treatment modality that employs pressure waves to stimulate tissue healing. It is commonly used to help treat lameness problems such as suspensory ligament desmitis and has been found to shorten healing time in these cases. Our portable shockwave machine allows us to perform this important treatment in the field.
IRAP (Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein) is an anti-inflammatory protein that is naturally produced in the body. This protein counteracts the destructive effects of inflammatory proteins such as Interleukin 1 which can lead to joint disease. Levels of these anti-inflammatory proteins can be increased by incubating the blood and then processing this sample for joint injection. This is how it works: A blood sample is collected using sterile technique, into a special syringe that contains beads coated in a special substance which promotes production of anti-inflammatory proteins. This syringe is then placed in an incubator for up to 24 hours. The syringe must go directly into the incubator so we perform these blood collections at the clinic. The syringe is then placed in a high-speed centrifuge which separates the serum from the red blood cells. The serum is sterile collected and filtered into individual aliquots which are frozen for future use. One blood sample usually provides 4-5 doses of IRAP for the treatment of joints.
Mesotherapy involves a series of intradermal injections over the back and croup of the horse. This treatment helps quiet nerve fibers running to the epaxial muscles of the horse’s back and can be very beneficial for muscle sore horses.
The prepurchase examination is available to help you make a well-informed decision when buying a horse. This includes an extremely thorough physical examination to check for potential underlying health issues including conformation assessment, palpation of the entire body, auscultation of the thoracic and abdominal cavities, ophthalmologic evaluation, hoof tester evaluation, neurologic evaluation and much more. The horse is evaluated for soundness in hand and under saddle (if possible). Flexion tests are performed. If necessary, we offer digital radiography and ultrasound for further screening.
Routine physical examination is extremely important as it gives us the chance to evaluate your horse for any new or emerging health issues as well as overall condition. Immunization is another vital component of your horse’s wellness program. We recommend a series of core vaccinations in the spring and fall based on the disease prevalence in our area. There are other factors that are considered when creating a vaccination schedule for your horse including his/her specific needs (geriatric horse that lives in the backyard versus performance horse that travels to large shows every weekend). We are always happy to discuss any questions or concerns regarding vaccinations and will work to create a program that is tailored to your horse’s needs.
Our veterinarians offer thorough dental examinations and treatment for your horse. Routine oral examination is essential for early diagnosis and treatment of problems. We perform routine tooth floating to reduce sharp enamel points/hooks which can cause oral ulcerations, problems eating or problems with bit acceptance. This is mostly done by hand but we do have a power float available for cases in which it is necessary. We also perform routine dental extractions such as wolf (first premolar) tooth removal.
Parasite control is another important part of your horse’s overall health. There are many different options for treatment and there has been reported resistance to dewormers in certain areas. Our team can help you come up with a deworming program that is right for your horse or facility. We offer fecal examinations in house as well as fecal egg counts which are sent to an outside laboratory.
We are happy to consult with you about your horse’s specific dietary needs.
We offer respiratory examinations as well as upper airway endoscopy. Our 1 meter endoscope allows us to visualize the horse’s nasal passages, upper airway and guttural pouches for signs of dysfunction or disease. Our digital ultrasound allows for examination of the horse’s chest.
Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome is a common and frustrating problem among many of our equine athletes. Horses that suffer from this disease may show many different signs but commonly have trouble putting weight on, behavior problems or poor performance. Our veterinarians routinely diagnose gastric ulcers using our 3M gastroscope which provides live video images of the stomach. Treatment can then be initiated and the horse’s progress can be monitored.
Our team is available for emergency treatment at all times of day and night.
We work with a variety of laboratories to provide our clients with the most up to date laboratory testing for general wellness screening as well as specific disease testing. Some examples are listed below.
We offer reproductive services including: