You Ask, PVH Answers: Equine Prepurchase Exams

Q: What exactly is a prepurchase exam, and should I get one if I'm doing “XYZ” with my new potential horse? 

A. A basic prepurchase exam is performed by a veterinarian and is typically an hour-and-a-half long. It is a very thorough physical exam: listening to heart/lungs/GI system, looking at eyes/mouth, palpating joints/tendons/feet, etc., and a derailed lameness exam at different footing and flexing each limb to determine if there is an area of lameness/soreness. It also can help bring out personality issues. 

From that we can discuss any additional tests such as radiographs, ultrasound, bloodwork, breeding evaluation ... it could take a day! 

All of this information can help you know what you're getting into or should not be getting into. A purchase exam has value from an upper-level horse to a trail horse. We all know there is no such thing as a free horse and you'd hate to end up with a horse you can't ride because it turns out to be lame!

Related resource:

Answer by Liana Wiegel, DVM; Q&A added 8.8.15