Ra­dio­graphs For Pre­pur­chase Ex­ams

Practical Horseman - - Combating Joint Disease -

Ra­dio­graphs are a nor­mal part of a pre­pur­chase exam, and the parts of a horse’s anatomy you de­cide to X-ray may de­pend on his his­tory and in­tended fu­ture use. For in­stance, you’re likely to look at the front feet and knees of an off-the-track Thor­ough­bred you hope to event. Al­ter­na­tively, you may look at the hocks and sti­fles of a horse who has been jump­ing for some years if you’re hop­ing to con­tinue com­pet­ing him. Ra­dio­graphs can re­veal any num­ber of things, but you shouldn’t get bogged down in one sin­gle in­con­sis­tency on an X-ray. You have to look at the whole horse.

“I try to take the X-rays as one piece of the en­tire exam,” Dr. Loftin says. “If he’s out show­ing and win­ning and is sound on my exam, neg­a­tive on flex­ions and I look at the X-ray and see arthritic changes, I’m go­ing to be less con­cerned about that. Or the X-rays could not be as bad, but there is clin­i­cal ev­i­dence that there is arthri­tis ac­tive and caus­ing a prob­lem.”

Ul­ti­mately, you as the buyer have to de­cide how the re­sults of the pre­pur­chase exam fit into what you want to do with the horse and what you’re will­ing to man­age as he ages. “You can still get a long, use­ful ca­reer out of a horse with arthri­tis. But are you OK with hav­ing to do joint in­jec­tions in the fu­ture? It all comes down to the buyer’s risk tol­er­ance,” Dr. Loftin says.

Ra­dio­graphs of joints are com­mon dur­ing the pre­pur­chase exam process.

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