Performance Investigation

  • Our poor performance investigation includes:
    • Lameness assessment
    • Routine blood test
    • Resting/dynamic endoscopy
    • ECG/Echocardiography

    We are often presented with horses which are not performing up to their expected ability. To get to the root of the problem requires perseverance and a good diagnostic work up. It is always important to carry out a full lameness examination to assess if there are any orthopaedic problems which could be contributing to the horse’s poor performance.  We have soft and hard surfaces for lunging and a new all weather ménage. This enables us to see the horse under differing conditions as in some cases lameness will only be evident under saddle or on a hard surface.

    We will often run a routine blood test to check for evidence of underlying disease. These samples are analysed in our in house laboratory. Occasionally we will carry out blood tests before and after exercise to check for muscular conditions.

    Video endoscopy

    Video endoscopy is used on these horses to assess the health of the lungs and upper respiratory tract. Following a period of exercise the horse will be endoscoped to examine both the upper  and lower airways this can reveal evidence of low grade haemorrhage or low grade infection and either of these can be assessed further by taking a tracheal wash which can be analysed in the lab and looking at the types of cells present and also culturing for bacteria.

    Examination of horses that are suspected of making a respiratory noise or that are suspected of having a “wind” problem has been revolutionised with the advent of dynamic endoscopy. Most abnormalities of the upper respiratory tract i.e. the larynx and soft palate are only visible whilst the horse is being exercised. We now have a scope that fits to a special bridle and allows the horse to exercise on a gallop or arena surface whilst taking a recording of the area of interest. This system allows enables us to correctly identify the problem and ensures we treat the cases that require it, reducing the need for unnecessary and expensive surgery.

    Occasionally when we listen to the heart we can hear “murmurs” which can be as a result of abnormalities in blood flow within the heart, or abnormalities in the rhythm of the heart beat. This can be investigated at the hospital with an ECG or Echocardiography (ultrasound examination of the heart). These examinations will determine if any murmurs picked up during clinical examination are significant to the horses performance.

    For further details about our facilities and services please contact us.