How to Diagnose and Monitor Equine Lameness Confidently

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Maybe it’s something you notice in your horse’s gait as they cross a pasture. Or, they suddenly start holding their head or standing differently. Perhaps it’s hard to say, but something feels wrong to you when they are under saddle. You suspect your horse might be suffering from sub-optimal performance — but how can you find out for sure? 

The experts at Carolina Equine Hospital have recently adopted some new technology and a process that can help you diagnose or monitor equine lameness with confidence. We are one of the only providers of this advanced lameness locator service in the Greensboro and Piedmont Triad areas. It is very important to get ahead of lameness with a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. If you suspect lameness in your horse, call our team or make an appointment today.

What Causes Lameness in Horses?

Every horse owner knows something about lameness — especially how serious it is for their animal — but there is a wide variety of ideas about lameness and how to treat it effectively. 

According to Doug Thal, DVM, “Lameness is a term used to describe a horse’s change in gait, usually in response to pain somewhere in a limb, but also possibly as a result of a mechanical restriction on movement. We all think of lameness when a horse is obviously limping, but lameness may only cause a subtle change in gait, or even just a decreased ability or willingness to perform.”

Common indications of lameness are one of nine critical things to look for as you maintain your horse’s overall health but lameness has traditionally been notoriously difficult to properly diagnose, even by skillful, trained professionals. Thankfully, there have been many significant advances in technology in recent years that can help us understand precisely what is going on with your animal. 

What Should You Expect In an Equine Lameness Exam

At Carolina Equine Hospital, we have recently incorporated Equinosis Q, a sophisticated medical diagnostic tool, to help us measure exactly what is happening with your horse. Our team is very excited to offer this new addition to our thorough lameness examination because:

  1. It offers us precise, real-time measurements of key movements of your horse’s head and pelvis so we can understand their muscular and skeletal strain.
  2. It is field-based and uses a completely non-invasive series of sensors, which greatly limits animal stress during the exam.
  3. It provides us a highly accurate and objective set of measurements that takes much of the guesswork out of traditional methods of diagnosing lameness.

During this portion of your horse’s lameness exam, we will attach sensors to your horse’s head, right front leg, and pelvis that transmit 200 distinct data points per second through Bluetooth® Technology to our handheld device. You’ll be able to see the real-time results immediately. 

The Equinosis Q with Lameness Locator® system is only sold to registered, licensed veterinarians who can interpret the results with other data from lameness testing methods. This system provides invaluable measurements and insight that our veterinarians use with these traditional methods to make a clear diagnosis for your animal:

  • A brief discussion about your horse’s medical history
  • Visual examination for evidence of stress or obvious injury
  • Hands-on examination to find pain, swelling, heat, or subtle abnormalities
  • Hoof testing that identifies pain or sensitivity
  • A joint flexion test to further examine weight shifting, possible discomfort, or irregular movement
  • Radiographs/X-Rays may also be used in some cases to locate small bone chips or breaks

Schedule a Lameness Examination for Your Horse

Whether you suspect your horse might be suffering from lameness, needs accurate monitoring therapy and rehabilitation from an injury, or as a part of an overall preventative approach to their health, let’s schedule a lameness examination today. Call us 24/7 at 336-349-4080, send us an email, or fill out our online appointment request form.