We recommend that all clients have a pre-purchase examination (vetting) before purchasing a horse. The purpose of this examination is to identify any issues of a veterinary nature that could affect the suitability for its intended use.
A pre-purchase examination takes place on behalf of the purchaser and is tailored to the suitability for that individual. Based on the clinical findings the veterinary surgeon will then give an opinion on the suitability for use.
The pre-purchase examination is an assessment of the horse at the time of examination to help inform the potential purchaser’s decision whether or not to continue with their purchase. It is not a guarantee for future soundness. The examination is always carried out on behalf of the purchaser. If the vendor is a client of ours we are able to perform the examination as long as the client gives consent for us to disclose veterinary history.
The standard pre-purchase vetting examination consists of five stages:
Stage 1: Preliminary examination
This is a thorough external examination of the horse at rest including visual assessment, palpation and manipulation, auscultation of the heart and lungs, examination of the eyes in a darkened area and examination of the horse’s incisor teeth.
The examination does not include examination of the inside of the prepuce (sheath), a detailed mouth examination with a speculum, height measurement or any examination of pregnancy.
Stage 2: Walk and trot in hand
The horse is walked and trotted in hand to assess for any signs of abnormalities in gait. This ideally should be carried out on a firm level surface. The horse is turned sharply each way and is backed up. Flexion tests of each limb and trotting in a circle on a firm surface is completed if the veterinary surgeon considers it safe and appropriate to do so.
Stage 3: Exercise phase
The horse is then ridden and given enough exercise to allow assessment of the heart and lungs at increased rate, the gait of the horse at walk, trot, canter and gallop if appropriate. If the horse cannot be ridden then this stage can be conducted by exercising the horse on a lunge but this is made clear to the purchaser on the certificate.
Stage 4: Period of rest and re-examination
The horse is allowed to stand quietly for a period during which the respiratory and cardiovascular systems are monitored.
Stage 5: Second trot up
The horse is then trotted again in hand to look for any signs of abnormalities that were made evident by the exercise and rest stages.
A blood sample can taken for storage (usually 6 months) for possible future analysis to detect substances present in the horses system at the time of examination which may have masked any factors that could have affected the horses suitability for the purchaser’s intended use.
In some circumstances our vets will, if requested by the purchaser perform a limited (two-stage) examination omitting stages 3-5. However the potential purchaser must be aware that the examination will be limited in its scope and may not detect important clinical factors that could influence their decision to purchase the horse.
Where possible and if required, the prospective purchaser is advised to confirm that they are able to obtain suitable insurance cover before purchasing the horse.
Excellence in practice
The provision of outstanding veterinary care and excellent customer service lies at the heart of what we do. Thanks to our five convenient locations we cover large parts of the south-west. Our reach is wide but our focus remains on offering the highest clinical standards and customer service to our highly valued clients.