After-hours/Emergency Phone: 07 573 7606

07 573 7606

Te Puke Veterinary Centre Ltd

Lameness Work-Up

Lameness examinations

Lameness can be one of the most frustrating complications of owning a horse. It can come in many forms but is associated with any disturbance in the normal gait of a horse. We generally define lameness on a scale of 1 to 5. Scale 1 being only very slightly noticeable and 5 being unable to bear any weight on the limb. Examination of a lame horse requires patience and time.

We require the following conditions for a lameness work up:

  • A flat hard surface to trot the horse on. This can be a quiet road or driveway area. We cannot conduct a lameness examination in the arena or in the paddock because the surface is too soft. 
  • A handler that can trot the horse repeatedly during the lameness exam.
  • A handler that can lunge the horse.
  • Feet which have been maintained ( with or without shoes).
  • A drug free horse ( if your horse has received 'bute' recently please let us know and we can reschedule your examination).

Please let us know if you cannot meet these conditions and we can arrange an appropriate handler or property for examination.


Nerve Blocks

During a lameness examination we may nerve block the animal. A nerve block involves placing a small amount of local anesthetic under the skin with a needle. This allows us to numb different areas of the foot and/or leg to try and isolate where the pain is coming from. It is not unusual for another limb to show lameness after a successful nerve block.

Once we have isolated the area of pain we use x-rays to assess the bones and joints.