This is the mainstay of the practice. Evaluating overall soundness and determining what factors are affecting the horse's movement are the primary focus. There may be conditions that have minimal implications which may require periodic management and others that are more involved and may require treatment to return the horse to work. Fortunately with the diagnostics and treatment options currently available a positive resolution is more likely to take place.

Each lameness case is different and how it is managed is determined by a number of factors. Spending the time diagnostically to pursue an answer is integral to determining the best course of treatment. At Burlington Equine, because this is our primary focus, there will always be adequate time to pursue a diagnosis, consult with experts in referral centers when necessary, perform treatments and offer follow-up.

There are a number of diagnostic steps taken when evaluating a lameness:

  • Observe horse under saddle, on the lunge and/or in hand
  • Perform flexion tests
  • Use local anesthetics to localize the lameness
  • Digital x-rays
  • Digital ultrasound
  • Thermography

Therapeutic procedures offered are as follows:

  • Systemic and/or intra-joint medications
  • PRP and IRAP treatments
  • Intra-lesional Stem Cell Therapy
  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Acupuncture
  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Mesotherapy
Flexion Test
Flexion Test
Performing a block of the stifle joint by injecting a local anesthetic into the joint to attempt to localize the cause of the lameness.
Performing a block of the stifle joint by injecting a local anesthetic into the joint to attempt to localize the cause of the lameness.
Digital Ultrasound
Digital Ultrasound
Ultrasound of Large Lesion in Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon
Ultrasound of Large Lesion in Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon

2 images of a Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon injury. The green outlines the tendon and the red indicates the"hole" where the tendon fibers are injured. Over time this area of fiber damage will fill in so that the whole tendon will have a similar pattern as the more white areas.

Two digital radiograph of a horse's spine in the withers and saddle area. The left image is of the withers and just anterior to where the saddle would be contacing a horse's back. The right x-ray demonstrates how the spacing between the vertebrae is markedly decreased in the area where the saddle and weight of the rider contact the horse's back. Because there is minimal spacing and the dorsal vertebral processes are touching ,which is commonly known as "kissing spine disease", an explanation can be given for why the horse has recurrent back pain. Fortunately treatments are available and they were pursued with this horse.

X-ray of a normal hock. Note the smooth edges and spacing evident between bones.
X-ray of a normal hock. Note the smooth edges and spacing evident between bones.
X-ray of a hock demonstrating significant degenerative changes. This horse was moderately lame and blocking the hock joint markedly improved his lameness. An arrow is used to demonstrate the area of localized arthritis where the joint space is fused and the bones are altered above and below this joint space.
X-ray of a hock demonstrating significant degenerative changes. This horse was moderately lame and blocking the hock joint markedly improved his lameness. An arrow is used to demonstrate the area of localized arthritis where the joint space is fused and the bones are altered above and below this joint space.
Normal x-ray of the carpus (knee). There are smooth edges and the black lines indicating joint spaces are all open and not compressed.
Normal x-ray of the carpus (knee). There are smooth edges and the black lines indicating joint spaces are all open and not compressed.
X-ray of a carpus (knee) demonstrating significant degenerative changes and the presence of bone fragments. The double arrows indicate a site where there has been a reaction on the bone surface that appears as an irregular sharp edge.The single arrow indicates a bone fragment in the joint space. The normal spacing between the bones as seen on the left x-ray is decreased and the bones appear less regular in terms of having more grey/black areas. This horse was very lame at a walk, had a markedly swollen knee and would only allow about 30% of normal joint flexion. Fortunately after a relatively short period of treatment with topical, systemic and intra-joint treatments he was significantly improved.
X-ray of a carpus (knee) demonstrating significant degenerative changes and the presence of bone fragments. The double arrows indicate a site where there has been a reaction on the bone surface that appears as an irregular sharp edge.The single arrow indicates a bone fragment in the joint space. The normal spacing between the bones as seen on the left x-ray is decreased and the bones appear less regular in terms of having more grey/black areas. This horse was very lame at a walk, had a markedly swollen knee and would only allow about 30% of normal joint flexion. Fortunately after a relatively short period of treatment with topical, systemic and intra-joint treatments he was significantly improved.