Lameness Investigation

A very common problem in equine patients.

                                                                                                  The causes of lameness are many and varied. Many causes of lameness are simple and easily treated, in such cases your horses can easily be examined and treated at your yard whilst more complex cases are best worked up at our well equipped Newbiggin facilities.

Following our initial examination, we will use nerve and joint blocks to localise the source of pain. This involves placing small volumes of local anaesthetic at specific sites on the affected limb to desensitise individual regions, following this will re-evaluate the horse to see if there has been a change in the level of lameness. Once we have localised the source of pain, we will use appropriate diagnostic imaging, normally either ultrasound or radiography. In some instances, we will advise referral for advanced diagnostic imaging to aid in our diagnosis.


Radiography is principally used to assess bone and joint disease. Individual tissues within the body will absorb different levels of Xrays, this difference in absorption is what creates our radiograph image that we can use to identify areas of disease and damage. Our digital radiography machine is mobile so allows for radiographs to be obtained on yard for horses that are unable to be brought to our Newbiggin clinic.


Ultrasonography is the main imaging modality used for assessing the soft tissue structures of the limb such as tendons and ligaments. Damage to these structures will be seen on ultrasound as changes to the fibre pattern, size and level of fluid present within the tissue. Ultrasound can also be used to evaluate the health of tissue within joints and the surfaces of bones. Our orthopaedic ultrasound machine is mobile so can easily be used on yards or at our clinic.   


Following identification of the source of the lameness, will discuss with your appropriate treatment options, prognosis and a suitable rehabilitation plan for your horse following treatment. We work closely with farriers and physiotherapists as they play vital roles in the treatment of lameness. Commonly used treatment options include:

·       Intra-synovial or systemic anti-inflammatory medication

·       Joint therapies

·       Regenerative medicine (Stem cell or platelet rich plasma)

·       Extra-Corporeal Shockwave Therapy

·       Surgical treatment  

·       Remedial farriery