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During any stage of a horse's life, it's possible for him or her to develop lameness. Usually, lameness occurs from strain, injury, or stress. It's vital to seek out the care of one of our skilled veterinarians for a lameness examination if you notice any signs of your horse having difficulty walking or not performing normally.

lameness and sports medicine

Gathering Information About Your Horse's Medical History and Lifestyle

Information about your horse's medical history and lifestyle can help our vet accurately diagnose the cause of the lameness. The staff at Jacksonville Equine Associates will ask you questions specifically related to lameness, such as when it first began, presence of heat or swelling and recent shoeing history.

We'll acquire information about your horse's age and breed. Horses are more likely to develop certain issues as they age while some breeds are more prone to certain problems. During this part of the lameness examination, We will ask about your horse's training regimen and any information about riding. 

 

About the Physical Examination

The second part of your horse's lameness examination consists of a physical examination. The veterinarian will assess your horse at rest to check his or her balance and ability to bear weight. Then they will look for any obvious signs of an injury or stress at this point as well. The physical exam may also include watching your horse walk and trot. By analyzing your horse in motion, our practitioner can look for signs of a problem, such as gait deviations, short strides, unusual weight shifting, stiffness, etc.

Our veterinarian will also perform a hands-on exam by checking your horse's tendons, muscles, bones, and joints for any evidence of swelling, pain, or other abnormalities. A joint flexion test consists of our veterinarian holding your horse's limb and bending it. When your horse moves afterward, our vet evaluates his movement for irregularities and signs of pain.

At the appointment, our practitioner may use a hoof tester, which is a device that applies pressure to the bottom of your horse's feet. It evaluates the soles for sensitivity and pain.

Imaging and Further Diagnostics

Sometimes, the physical examination and medical history portion of the appointment is enough to diagnose the problem. However, it's possible our vet will want to conduct further testing.

Nerve and joint blocks are one possible diagnostic. Our veterinarian performs this procedure by temporarily stopping sensation to different areas until your horse's lameness subsides. Ultimately, this helps the doctor determine where the problem is and what area needs imaging.

At {Jacksonville Equine} we may use high detail digital radiography to identify the location of any damage or changes within the tissue. Our doctors can look at structures in and around the horse's joints. Other options include using the latest technology known as the Lameness Locator which involves using motion sensors on your horse to help identify complex, multi-limb lameness. We can also use ultrasonography to look at soft tissue injuries as well as collecting fluid samples for analysis..

 

Treating Lameness

Once we diagnose the cause of the lameness,  Our highly trained doctors will decide on the appropriate course of action. Sometimes, it's prescribing medication to help manage the pain or inflammation along with encouraging you to make sure your horse receives adequate rest while he or she heals. Some other treatments may include shockwave therapy, PRP injections or detailed rehabilitation protocols.

Whether acute or chronic, Lameness is painful for your horse.  We realize the seriousness of lameness and the impact it has on you as well as your horse and we are there to first diagnose and then treat the problem. To learn more about or schedule an equine lameness exam, contact Jacksonville Equine Associates today at (904) 387-3330.

To learn more about our lameness diagnostic services, or to schedule an appointment, contact Jacksonville Equine Associates today at (904) 387-3330.

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