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Orthopaedic disorders in horses range from overt single or multiple limb lameness through to very subtle issues as a cause of poor performance. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of lameness problems, complemented by a modern, fully equipped surgical theatre and high quality imaging facilities.

Whatever the issue, a consistent and logical approach is always followed to ensure an accurate diagnosis and therefore the best possible treatment and prognosis for your horse. Generally, a lameness examination will follow the process outlined below.

History and Examination

  • Obtaining a thorough history can give us clues as to as to what the problem may be

  • Examination at rest allows an appraisal of conformation and the detection of heat, swelling or pain

  • Observation of the horse at walk and trot in a straight line to identify the lame leg(s)

  • Flexion tests will be used to highlight potential joint problems

  • The horse will be lunged to exacerbate subtle lameness. We will lunge the horse on both soft and hard surfaces, which can help to differentiate soft tissue and joint/bone problems

  • Observation of the horse under saddle. This can markedly increase the degree of lameness in subtle cases. Additionally, back, pelvis and tack/rider issues may also be seen at this stage.

  • Our clinic  is equipped with  a purpose-built trot-up strip, a safe hard lunging circle and a large menage

  • Our experienced nurses are happy to help with trotting and lunging

Diagnostic Anaesthesia

  • Local anaesthetic is injected around the nerves or directly into the joints  to numb sequential regions of the lame leg from the foot upwards until the lameness is abolished and the horse is sound

  • We can then isolate a particular joint or region of the limb as the cause of lameness


  • Usually this will involve radiography (X-rays) and ultrasonography. In general, radiography is used to detect bony abnormalities whilst ultrasound is superior for picking up soft tissue problems such as tendon and ligament strains

  • Ultrasound  may also be used to image the surface of bones where it can actually be more sensitive than radiography in detecting subtle bone/cartilage defects

  • We routinely use ultrasound to guide needles into joints and tendons to facilitate more precise injection

  • We have a full range of both hospital-based and portable high quality digital X-ray machines and ultrasound scanners, allowing us to obtain the best possible images either at the clinic or at your yard

  • With our digital machines, the image is instantly available to view and we can easily email them onto farriers etc


  • We are able to undertake the full spectrum of treatment options, from medical to surgical, in house

  • We maintain a close working relationship with local farriers and are happy to liaise and advise where remedial farriery is required

  • We offer a range of the most up to date regenerative medicine treatments available, including PRP, IRAP, Goldic and Stem Cell therapy

  • Fully equipped, modern surgical suite and knowledgeable, experienced anaesthetists and surgeons

  • All of our vets regularly attend CPD courses to further their knowledge and we currently have two vets who hold the RCVS Certificate of Advanced Veterinary Practice in Equine Surgery (Orthopaedics)

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