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Lameness examinations

Lameness in horses is a serious and painful problem with several possible causes, and it is important to notice the signs early to improve the chances of successful treatment. Lameness is a problem if your horse‘s gait is abnormal in any way. In some cases, the way a horse’s head bobs can indicate that he or she is having difficulty.


Lameness can stem from hoof inflammation, injury or poor farrier work. Broken bones and injured muscles, tendons or ligaments can cause lameness. If your horse has been injured or has conformation problems and is favoring one side over the other, this can also cause lameness. Overwork and improper conditioning can also cause problems, and there are several types of inflammatory, neurological and infectious diseases that can induce lameness too.

This examination uses static (standing still) and dynamic (moving) evaluations to determine if the horse is showing signs of pain associated with the musculoskeletal system.  Static evaluation includes observation of symmetry, muscle mass (or atrophy), posture, and palpation for heat, pain, or swelling.  Hoof testers are used to localize pain in the hoof.  Dynamic evaluation includes observing the horse move at a walk and a trot in both the straight line and on the lunge circle. 


Flexion tests are used to localize lameness, but temporarily focusing stress on a specific joint or set of joints to observe the change in gait at the walk or trot.  If lameness is detected, diagnostic nerve blocks can be used to localize the source of the pain.  Once pain is localized, diagnostic imaging including radiographs (x-rays) or ultrasound can be used to evaluate the soft tissue and boney structures in that area to determine the horse of the lameness.  Some lameness cases require advanced diagnostic imaging such as bone scan or MRI. If no obvious lameness occurs, we offer the option of chiropractic and acupuncture services to restore the range of motion as well as relive muscle pain.

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Emergency Hours: 24 hours 7 days a week (803) 644-1544 ext. 1 to get doctor on call's cell #

Testimonials

I just want to send out a most heartfelt thanks to Dr.Carter and his amazing staff! They are truly one of a kind! They have done just a wonderful job taking care of Kelly! The love and attention to her is so appreciated! God Bless all of them.

B.K.
Aiken, SC

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