Whether you want
a family pet,
a pleasure horse,
a breeding animal or
a high performance athlete,
you stand the best chance of getting one that will meet your needs
by first investing in a pre-purchase exam.
Remember that most horses do
not come with a money-back guarantee.
The expense of a prepurchase
examination is small compared to the long term costs of keeping and
caring for him - especially if there are health problems...
What is a Prepurchase
A prepurchase exam is exactly as
the name suggests - a veterinary examination of all aspects of a
horse's health before buying him. Sellers are usually skeptical,
buyers often see it as an extra expense, and veterinary skills or
thoroughness can vary. So why do them?
...So that you know what you are
buying before you write the check. While other horse professionals
may be able to evaluate performance merits, only an equine
veterinarian can help determine the horse's overall health and
condition. This is a very important factor in deciding whether the
horse will be a wise investment.
For example, all horses are not
seven years old. Many new owners have been surprised to discover
that the "seven year old" they just bought is really nineteen. Many
rested horses move just fine until asked to perform or do something
a little different, then a subtle lameness becomes apparent. A
horse in good condition in mid-summer can become a hard keeper in
winter due to a variety of dental problems. And just because the
mare had five foals in the past doesn't mean she will ever foal
again. You won't know unless you look.
Pass or Fail?
Horses do not pass or fail a
prepurchase examination. Our goal at Countrycare is to give you,
the buyer, as much information possible prior to making your
decision whether or not to purchase a horse.
So, exactly what information is
gained from a thorough exam? Basically everything from the age to
breathing problems to possible future lameness concerns. The
examination process involves more than just a normal temperature
and verifying that the heart is beating.
The entire body is evaluated- by
observation, auscultation and/or palpation. This includes eyes,
teeth, heart and lungs, etc. All four legs are palpated, flexed,
extended and gaits scrutinized! A complete prepurchase examination
will often take up to two hours to complete.
It is also important to evaluate the horse's
conformation and disposition. We look at the horse's conformation,
body condition and symmetry prior to ever touching them. Every
step, stance and action can be a communication that relates to an
The intended use of a horse is an
important consideration. What is relevant for a broodmare is
different from the requirements for an eventing horse.
The buyer should be present during
the examination so that exam findings can be discussed. Also,
special tests may be recommended based on the exam. Additional
tests may include x-rays, blood work, endoscopic or ultrasound