Full lameness examinations are offered either at the clinic or at the trainer or owner’s property. A lameness work-up is usually made up of the following steps:
- Evaluation of the horse while standing and at walk, trot and canter if necessary. We usually require a straight flat area with a hard surface for trotting the horse in a straight line. An area to lunge the horse may also be helpful in the lameness investigation.
- Flexion tests are often a useful part of lameness exam. These can sometimes temporarily exacerbate lameness and therefore help us to localise the source of pain.
- Perineural or intra-articular analgesia (nerve and joint blocks) involve injecting local anaesthetic either around nerves or directly into joints. By desensitizing particular areas and evaluating the difference in lameness the pain can be localized further.
- Imaging of the suspicious regions or regions is then usually performed to look for abnormalities in the bones or soft tissue structures. Radiography (x-raying) and ultrasound can often be performed at an adjistment property, or at the clinic. Scintigraphy is sometimes indicated in particular cases which is performed at the clinic and involves injecting the horse with radioactive dye and taking images of the area of interest with a gamma camera. Sometimes surgical exploration (such as arthroscopy or tenoscopy) for diagnostic purposes is recommended.
- Once a diagnosis is made, we have several therapeutic treatments available that may be suitable for your horse. These include:
- Medical therapies
- Cortisone injections
- IRAP (interleukin receptor antagonist protein) therapy
- PRP (platelet-rich-plasma) therapy
- Stem cell injections
- Physical therapies
- Shockwave. This consists of pulses of high frequency ultrasound waves being applied to the problem area. A course of three treatments at fortnightly intervals is usually recommended.
- Low frequency ultrasound.
- Physiotherapy. We work closely with highly qualified equine physiotherapists who we can put you in contact with.
- Surgical therapies, such as therapeutic arthroscopy or tenoscopy may be recommended.