Poor Performance Investigations
Feeling like your horse is not reaching their full potential? Or they are 'not quite right'?
At the B&W Equine Hospital, we often see horses that are ‘not quite right’. Some of the more common causes of this are:
- Lameness: Sometimes a mild lameness or a bilateral lameness (affecting two front or two hind limbs at the
same time) can be hard to spot without an in-depth lameness assessment. We use the Equinosis Lameness
Locator to provide objective assessment alongside our own clinical assessment. Lameness investigations are
carried out in the dedicated assessment area which has both firm and soft surfaces.
- Back pain: the signs that a horse is experiencing back pain can be easy to overlook. Back pain in horses can
present with a range of different clinical signs including reduced performance, unwillingness to be tacked up or ridden.
- Heart disease: Arrhythmias (irregular heart beat), murmurs due to leaking valves and disease of the heart itself. Although heart disease is an uncommon cause of poor performance in sports horses it can have a serious impact and therefore it’s important to rule it out.
- Respiratory inflammation: such as Equine Asthma, which is a very common cause of poor performance. Overt signs of Equine Asthma can be faster breathing, nasal discharge and cough, but these are not always present. Subtle signs can include reduced willingness to exercise or prolonged recovery after exercise.
- Respiratory obstruction: upper airway obstruction may prevent enough oxygen from getting down into the lungs. Abnormal airflow due to an obstruction can result in a respiratory noise during exercise. Some horses may require an Overground Endoscopy as the upper airways can appear normal on a resting endoscope.
- Gastric ulcers: squamous and glandular disease can be very painful for the horse and lead to poor performance. The horse may not be a good eater, be girthy to tack to up and not wanting to go forward when ridden, or simply just not performing to the best of their ability.
- Abnormal blood results: this could be anaemia, high or low white cell counts liver and kidney damage or muscle damage.
Poor Performance Investigations
At the B&W Equine Hospital we undertake a large number or investigation of lameness and poor performance in a wide range of breeds and types of horses ranging from elite competition horses to leisure horses.
We have a collaborative approach to poor performance investigations, with our multidisciplinary team (specialists in Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation, Surgery and Medicine) ensuring your case is dealt with efficiently in order to make an accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible. Within our team we have extensive experience in diagnosing musculoskeletal, neurological, upper respiratory and cardiopulmonary diseases.
Lameness investigations are assessed in the dedicated assessment area comprised of both firm and soft surfaces. Our Martin Collins® arena allows us to observe horses both on the lunge and ridden. In addition to subjective lameness assessment, we use The Equinosis Q with Lameness Locator®, a veterinary diagnostic system used to objectively measure a horse’s movement. With 10 times more sensitivity than the human eye, and sophisticated algorithms based on decades of veterinary research, The Equinosis Q with Lameness Locator® provides an additional diagnostic tool using cutting edge technology for lameness investigations.
Depending on the type and complexity of the investigation, the horse may need to be hospitalised for several days or may be able to be treated as an outpatient. Once a diagnosis is established, treatment (medical or surgical) is performed and a rehabilitation program is developed for each case. Rehabilitation therapies are initiated at the earliest opportunity and are fully integrated into the horses’ care. This proactive, collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach helps the horse get back to the work and competitions.