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Pre Purhcase Examinations - '2 Stage Vettings & 5 Stage Vettings'


Pre-purchase examinations or 'vettings' are intended to give the purchaser a veterinary opinion on the horse's suitability for its intended use. The certificate can also be used to obtain insurance cover for the horse, from a simple mortality cover to a full loss of use insurance. All pre-purchase examinations comply with the standards issued by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the British Equine Veterinary Association.


In order to perform the examination fully, a hard and soft lunge area are required as well as a hard surface for trotting up the horse. If broken, it is recommended the horse is also seen working under saddle.  The vetting can be completed at the horse's yard or the horse may be brought to the clinic where we have suitable facilities for a full five stage vetting. The intended purpose of the horse is very important and will reflect on the outcome of the vetting. For example, a horse which may fail a vetting if required for a top showing jumping yard may pass a vetting as a low level dressage horse.

A full five stage vetting examination is recommended although a limited two stage vetting can be performed instead involving just the first two stages outlined below.

We recommend that a blood sample is taken at the time of the vetting to detect any drugs that the horse may have had in its system at the time of vetting. This blood is normally stored for a period of 6 months but can be analysed at the owner’s request.

Additional procedures such as radiographs, ultrasound scans, endoscopy or blood testing may be performed if required.

The full FIVE STAGE vetting examination consists of:


Stage One - Preliminary Examination

This consists of a complete examination of the animal's body to assess general appearance and condition. It includes but is not limited to an examination of the teeth, the heart and lungs, the eyes, the skin, the limbs and feet, and flexion of the joints to reveal pain or reduced ranges of motion.


Stage Two - Trotting Up

The animal is walked and trotted on hard, level ground in order to detect gross abnormalities of gait and action. This usually also involves seeing the horse on the lunge and the use of flexion tests.


Stage Three - Strenuous Exercise

The animal is given sufficient strenuous exercise to:

·      Make it breathe deeply and rapidly so that any unusual breathing sounds may be heard

·      Increase the action of the heart so that abnormalities may be more easily detected

·      Tire the animal so that strains or injuries may be revealed by stiffness or lameness after a period of rest.


Stage Four - A Period of Rest

The horse is allowed to stand quietly for around five to ten minutes. The behaviour and demeanour of the horse during this time are monitored and the lungs and heart are checked as they return to their resting levels.


Stage Five - The Second Trot and Foot Examination

This stage is a repeat of the second stage to determine if any abnormalities become apparent after the strenous exercise. 


A TWO-STAGE vetting only incorporates Stages 1 and 2 detailed above.

If you would like x-rays taken at the time of the vetting, please contact us directly for a tailored price. 


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