The Paulick Report is proud to launch the Ask Your Veterinarian series in the PR Special and in our Horse Care section online at www. paulickreport.com. Veterinarians at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital answer your questions about sales and healthcare of racing prospects and breeding stock.
QUESTION: What is included in a typical pre-sale examination by a veterinarian?
DR. SCOTT PIERCE: The examinations performed at the sales are shaped around the request and or experience of the client. Many owners, agents and trainers are very good at evaluating conformation and physically evaluating yearlings for abnormalities. In these cases, I am usually asked to examine the abnormalities they have detected. A brief physical examination of eyes, heart, lungs and palpation for the presence of two testicles in colts is usually performed in these cases.
In other situations, clients prefer me to perform a complete examination of the horse, including physical and clinical evaluation as well as conformation exam.
Regardless of the physical component of the examination, there are two main features of the vetting process. This includes an endoscopic examination of the upper airway (scope) and evaluation of the radiographs in the repository. These two examinations help determine the likelihood that a yearling will stay sound and is free from underlying abnormalities that could interfere with its soundness for racing.
There are additional special diagnostic procedures that can be performed. Especially important is the ultrasound examination of the lower limbs. Occasionally the flexor tendons and/or suspensory ligaments are thought to be clinically abnormal and are evaluated with an ultrasound. This procedure is used to find edema, inflammation, or tears in these structures. Tendons and ligaments attach to bones and sometimes one can see a subtle abnormality on the radiographs.
The ultrasound is then used to look at this area and evaluate the soft tissue portion of the attachment. The ultrasound can also be used for evaluating the heart, lungs, and upper airway. If abnormalities are found during the clinical exam, an ultrasound is used to examine the areas in question.
Scott Pierce is a managing partner in Rood and Riddle's Saratoga and Wellington practices. He began working at Rood & Riddle in 1985, and specializes in juvenile Thoroughbreds, upper airway endoscopy, public and private sales.
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