A pre-purchase exam is a fact-finding session which can be a useful for both a buyer and the individual selling the horse. Your vet will examine the horse head to tail following the five stages (listed below) and provide a report with their unbiased, professional findings. The purpose of the pre-purchase examination is not to pass or fail a horse, but to identify any existing conditions so that the potential buyer can make an informed decision.
Pre-purchase examinations rarely return completely ‘clean’ as a diligent vet can nearly always find something to note. This is particularly true for older performance horses, who may show evident of hard work, such as arthritic changes in their joints.
There are two options for a pre-purchase examination, a full examination (stages 1-5) or a partial examination (stages 1-2)
- Preliminary examination at rest (includes checking eyes, skin, heart, lungs at rest)
- Examination during walking, trotting, turning and backing (includes flexion tests and short trot on a circle)
- Examination during and immediately after strenuous exercise (includes getting the heart and respiratory rates up to check for abnormal noise or heart rhythm issues, checking for lameness/ abnormalities under saddle)
- Examination during the period after exercise (Checking on recovery of vital signs)
- The final examination during walking, trotting, turning and backing (checking for any lameness brought on by exercise eg arthritis, laminitis)
A thorough dental examination including sedation and application of a gag is not part of this standard pre purchase examination. Our eye examinations are done with an opthalmoscope, in a darkened area, unless otherwise specified.
PRE PURCHASE EXAMINATION CHECKLIST
To enable our pricing to be as competitive as possible and to prevent unnecessary visit and examination charges to the client, we have compiled a checklist which hopefully will minimise the numbers of wasted visits to horses or scenarios.
- Relevant paperwork filled out, signed and returned before the visit. Check the contact phone number of the purchaser will be appropriate for the time and day of visit; even better is that the purchaser is able to be present.
- A competent horse person available to hold horse, trot, lunge and ride horse (riding not need for 2 Stage Examinations). Preferably also a horse that has been taught to do these things.
- A dark quiet area, preferably a stable, to fully auscultate chest and examine eyes.
- A flat, straight and hard area for trotting the horse up. A quiet road is fine; arena surface is too soft.
- An appropriate area for exercising the horse for Stage 3 of the Examination – ideally an arena or flat paddock as the horse will need to be walked, trotted and cantered to exertion on both reins.
- Shoeing – It is preferable that the horse has been shod or trimmed regularly but not immediately prior to the examination. If it is found that the horse loses, or is about to lose a shoe/s then it may well be that the examination will need to be rescheduled for after this is done.
- A clean horse – it is necessary to thoroughly examine skin and this is much easier with a clean horse. It is preferable to not have any hoof dressings on