Oakham Veterinary Hospital is a leading centre for lameness assessment, seeing many of both our own patients and referral cases. It is an area of special expertise and interest for several of our senior clinicians. The hospital assesses horses from a wide range of disciplines, from the hairiest of ponies to top event horses that are competing around the globe.
We have two large trot up areas where the vets can assess horses moving at walk and trot, both in hand and on the lunge. We also have a 20x40 arena that is available to assess horses both under saddle and on the lunge, as some subtle lameness' can appear different on a soft surface. Horses may be ridden both by their owners and occasionally, by one of our team (with the owners permission).
The usual starting place for diagnosing a lameness would be nerve blocks. This involves injecting a local analgesic around a nerve, or directly into a joint or synovial structure, which temporarily removes the sensitivity in that area. Once the block has time to take effect, the horse is then re-assessed to see if the lamness has improved. Once the area causing the lameness has been identified, diagnostic imaging is then used to visualise the problem. The type of imaging used will depend on the nature of the lameness but may include radiography, ultrasonography, MRI or scintigraphy.
Poor performance analysis can be a complex issue, and often requires several areas of expertise. There are many possible causes which is why work ups can often take several days. Causes of poor performance can range from medicinal, (anaemia, gastric ulcers), to reproductive, (particularly in mares), and can also include rider/training issues.
Once the cause of lameness/poor performance has been established, we will be able to guide you on the appropriate treatment and management options.These can include anything from treatments such as IRAP, stem cells, PRP, shockwave therapy,surgery to farriery and exercise programmes.