Lameness

Troytown Grey Abbey is equipped with the latest technology to investigate complex lameness problems.  Nerve blocks, ultrasonography, bone scanning (scintigraphy) and digital radiography may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis.  We are experienced at the art of diagnosis and treatment with the aid of keyhole surgery in some cases. We ask that horses referred for lameness evaluation not receive any analgesia at least 48hours prior to admission to the hospital. They must not be shod in the days immediately prior to admission.  Lameness examinations can be time consuming and it may take several days to fully examine a lame horse and to come to a conclusion with the aid of diagnostic analgesia and imaging processes. 

 

Complex medications of deep structures, such as the saco-iliac joint, stifle, neck and back, can now be undertaken.  We are equipped with shockwave and stem cell for tendon treatments.  We are continuously pushing the barriers of diagnosis and treatment for better results.  We also work closely with master farriers for our podietry work.

  • Lameness examinations are on an appointment basis.

  • A fully typed report is issued after each examination if requested.

  • Communication will be maintained, throughout the process, where needs be.

  • If surgery is required this will be discussed in detail, in conjunction with all other treatment avenues

Every year we carry out a large number of lameness examinations.  A lameness workup involves a number of different stages which are tailored to each individual case.  The lameness is evaluated on a 1-5 scale at each stage of the examination. Firstly the horse is assessed at a standstill where we look for any anatomical/conformational abnormalities.  Next the horse will walk and trot in a straight line. After this, we usually observe the horse on a circle on a hard surface to see if this exacerbates any underlying lameness.  We then carry out flexion tests and backing/ turning tests. Depending on the degree of lameness, this may be followed by strenuous exercise on the lunge.  After some or all of the above tests, it may be possible to identify the source of the problem and proceed to treatment or further investigation such as x-ray or ultrasound.  In some cases however, it is still impossible to pinpoint the site of lameness and we may proceed to diagnostic nerve blocking.

Nerve Blocking

Once a consistent lameness is noted, diagnostic regional analgesia may be performed (‘nerve blocks’).  It is an important component of the examination if the exact location of the lameness is still uncertain after a thorough examination.  Common conditions in which regional analgesia is important in determining an accurate diagnosis include foot pain, navicular disease, traumatic joint disease, and proximal suspensory desmitis. This involves blocking anatomical regions of the horse’s limb starting at the lowest point and working our way up.  This is done by injecting local anesthetic in the region of the nerves until the horse’s lameness reduces significantly.  This then allows us to work out the region of the lameness problem.  Unfortunately, this technique may be of no value for very slight or vague lameness as there may not be sufficient improvement visible even if the block is successful - in these instances we may use the lameness locator device - a computer system developed by veterinarians in the USA which helps us to investigate lameness.

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In the case of an emergency call: +353(0)45 521686

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