What is lameness?
Lameness is a common problem in horses, ponies and donkeys, regardless of their age, size, and breed and whether they are ridden for pleasure, competition or simply kept as pets. Lameness occurs due to pain or restriction during movement, and varies in severity, sometimes only manifesting as poor performance or resentment of certain movements.
Diagnosis of lameness
Evaluation for lameness is best carried out at the Kessock Equine Clinic where we have a designated trot up area and an arena for assessment on soft ground on the lunge or under saddle. The clinic also provides a clean area for sterile procedures, stocks and on site digital radiography and ultrasonography.
Our equine vets are experienced in lameness diagnosis and treatment and regularly attend training courses across the UK and Europe to ensure they are up to date with the latest treatments and information. Internationally recognised specialist consultant veterinarians also visit the clinic on a regular basis.
Lameness Evaluation Procedures
After a full clinical exam and lameness assessment, evaluation with hoof testers and flexion tests are usually performed to try to localise the area of pain. Unless there is an obvious area of abnormality, nerve blocks are normally performed which involves infusion of a local anaesthetic around a nerve to desensitise the structures below the level of the injection. To further localise the area of pain, local anaesthetic can also be injected into synovial structures – joints and tendon sheaths. Once the lameness has been localised the area in question needs to be imaged using x-rays, ultrasound or both. Further specialist imaging such as MRI or Scintigraphy (Bone Scanning) can be arranged if required.
Once the cause of lameness has been determined, our vets can advise on the most appropriate treatment and management for the condition. We offer joint medications, shockwave therapy, Equidronate (Tildren), PRP (platelet rich plasma) and stem cell therapy, joint supplements and controlled rehabilitation exercise programs.
We also work alongside chartered veterinary physiotherapists and experienced farriers for a multifactorial approach to treatment.