Southern Equine Service provides full lameness exams and cutting edge treatments for our patients. All of our doctors utilize a complete clinical exam to diagnose the cause of lameness. We also use regional anesthesia (blocking) to pinpoint the location of the lameness. We see horses with varying degrees of lameness and base our findings on how the horse presents during the clinical exam. We often do performance exams on sound working competition horses to make sure they are as sound as they could be or find any weakness they are developing. As soon as we pinpoint the location of the lameness we use one of our diagnostic imaging modalities to determine the cause for the lameness. Once we have a diagnosis, we come up with treatment options and assist the owner in making the best treatment decision for his/her situation and horse.

+ Performance Exam

The most important thing you can do is work to prevent the situations that can lead to lameness—and if lameness strikes, act fast with the help of our experienced equine veterinarian. Performance examinations determine if a horse is physically capable of performing at the desired level of competition, or to evaluate a recent decrease in performance. This type of exam includes evaluation of the musculoskeletal system (muscles and bones) and cardiovascular system (heart and lungs). All of these systems must work together to ensure the horse is able to perform at his/her best. An initial physical exam is performed while standing, then a dynamic (moving) lameness evaluation is performed which may include flexion tests and/or lunging to determine if the horse is sound (free of pain while moving). Additionally the horse’s respiratory rate and effort and heart rate will be evaluated both during exercise and recovery. If the horse recovers too slowly or has abnormal lung or heart sounds, this may require additional diagnostics such as upper airway endoscopy or thoracic ultrasound.

+ Lameness Exam

Lameness in horses is a serious and painful problem with several possible causes, and it is important to notice the signs early to improve the chances of successful treatment. Lameness is a problem if your horse‘s gait is abnormal in any way. In some cases, the way a horse’s head bobs can indicate that he or she is having difficulty. Lameness can stem from hoof inflammation, injury or poor farrier work. Broken bones and injured muscles, tendons or ligaments can cause lameness. If your horse has been injured or has conformation problems and is favoring one side over the other, this can also cause lameness. Overwork and improper conditioning can also cause problems, and there are several types of inflammatory, neurological and infectious diseases that can induce lameness too. This examination uses static (standing still) and dynamic (moving) evaluations to determine if the horse is showing signs of pain associated with the musculoskeletal system. Static evaluation includes observation of symmetry, muscle mass (or atrophy), posture, and palpation for heat, pain, or swelling. Hoof testers are used to localize pain in the hoof. Dynamic evaluation includes observing the horse move at a walk and a trot in both the straight line and on the lunge circle. Flexion tests are used to localize lameness, but temporarily focusing stress on a specific joint or set of joints to observe the change in gait at the walk or trot. If lameness is detected, diagnostic nerve blocks can be used to localize the source of the pain. Once pain is localized, diagnostic imaging including radiographs (x-rays) or ultrasound can be used to evaluate the soft tissue and boney structures in that area to determine the source of the lameness. Some lameness cases require advanced diagnostic imaging such as bone scan or MRI. If no obvious lameness occurs, we offer the option of chiropractic and acupuncture services to restore the range of motion as well as relieve muscle pain.

+ Regenerative Medicine

IRAP(Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein): IRAP is ACS(autologous-conditioned serum) and is harvested from the horse's own blood. IRAP is used to treat osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions in the joint. IL-1 (interleukin 1) is a cytokine and an inflammatory mediator and binds to the membrane on cartilage in joints and starts the inflammation cascade leading to inflammation, joint pain, and cartilage destruction. IL-1Ra (interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein) attaches to the receptor on the cartilage membrane blocking IL-1 from binding and causing inflammation in the joint. IRAP takes the horse's own blood and processes it in a way that the amount of IL-1Ra is amplified in the serum. The serum is frozen and can be injected into the horse's joint at any time. From one blood pull on a horse we get about 20mLs of IRAP serum to inject into joints. For osteoarthritis cases we recommend a series of IRAP to be injected once weekly for 3 weeks.

PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma): PRP is derived from the horse's own blood. We pull a 60mL of blood from the horse and run it through our Magellan PRP machine and we get a solution of concentrated platelets which release growth factors that accelerate regeneration of injured tissues by enhancing fibroblastic events involved in tissue healing. PRP can be injected into tendon and ligament lesions. Recent research has been focused on injecting PRP into joints. We also can process bone marrow through our Magellan PRP machine to get bone marrow concentrate which we can then inject into tendon and ligament lesions. We have found PRP/bone marrow concentrate to be effective at treating SDF (superficial digital flexor), DDF(deep digital flexor), check ligament and suspensory ligament injuries.

Pro-Stride: Pro-Stride is a drug free, steroid free way to treat joint pain and disease. It is a dual-device system that combines a concentrated solution of cells, platelets, growth factors, and anti-inflammatory proteins. These healing factors come from a simple blood draw from the horse. Click here for an informative video on how it works and how it could benefit your equine athlete.

Extracorporeal Shockwave therapy: Shockwaves are high energy acoustic waves with high amplitude. Shockwave increases blood supply to affected areas and promotes linear pattern of healing in tendons and ligaments. It also decreases pain via incomplete analgesia. We find it most effective when we combine shockwave therapy with other treatments such as PRP. Common injuries treated successfully with extracorporeal shockwave: tendonitis, muscle strains, chronic wounds, ringbone, suspensory desmitis, kissing spine, navicular pain, and tendon avulsions. Our shockwave therapy usually consists of 3 treatments 2 weeks apart.

RLT Regenerative Laser: Even the best equine veterinarian is limited on healing of serious tendon and ligament injuries to our equine athletes. What if we could regenerate the tissue? Re-align the fibers? Strengthen the very core of the problem? WE CAN. Regenerative laser therapy has allowed us to keep our head above water when it comes to rehabbing tendon and ligament injuries.

+ Pre-Purchase Exam

SES offers pre-purchase examinations for prospective buyers. The pre-purchase examination includes a full physical exam, a soundness exam, an EIA (coggins) test, and we hold frozen serum up to 6 months for future drug screening. We offer radiograph packages and are happy to do any other diagnostics a client may want such as endoscopy, blood work(CBC and chemistry), or a drug screening at additional charges. If the prospective buyer cannot be present for the exam, we always communicate with him/her to discuss any findings and how he/she would like to proceed. We can email or burn a CD of radiographs taken during the pre-purchase exam for the prospective buyer. We type up a report of all the findings from the exam and send that to the prospective buyer. We can perform pre-purchase exams here at the clinic or out on the road. If you'd like to request a PPE or begin the required paperwork, please see our Client Portal.