Tried and Tested
Horse & Hound|July 30, 2020
Tried and Tested
Business may be brisk, but a pre-purchase exam remains a must if you’re planning to buy.
Andrea Oakes

WHILE good horses reputedly changed hands “unvetted” during lock down, experts are keen to stress the importance of a veterinary pre-purchase examination (PPE) now that travel restrictions are being lifted. Equine vets are reporting a flurry of sales activity, with demand high for both two- and five-stage exams, so what advice can they offer about this critical part of the buying process?

“APPE exam only offers a snapshot of the horse’s health on that day, so do not narrow this insight further by opting for the two-stage exam,” advises Gil Riley MRCVS. “The majority of horses should have the five-stage PPE. Unless you only want to work the horse slowly in straight lines, he should be ridden or seen moving on a circle and his respiratory system tested and observed for response and recovery.”

Kieran O’Brien MRCVS agrees, adding: “Saving money with a two-stage vetting is a false economy. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve discovered something either during, or after, the exercise phase.

“The additional cost of the five-stage PPE is a fraction of the purchase price. There may be exceptions in the case of unbroken animals, but if the horse is used to being lunged and destined for an athletic life, listening to his breathing at the canter to detect airway abnormalities is useful.”

Kieran adds that additional diagnostic tools, such as X-rays and tendon scanning, can only form part of the overall picture.


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July 30, 2020