The April 2007 issue of Horse & Rider includes part one of a two part series from Bob Avila's book, Be a Smart Horse Buyer. For the book, Bob asked me to address prepurchase exams (PPEs), and in the April article, I walk you through the tests you can expect your vet to perform during a PPE.
Here are some tips for finding a good prepurchase vet:
- Ask your trainer and/or reputable trainers in your chosen event for their recommendations.
- Choose a vet who specializes in what you want to do, and who does a lot of PPEs. For instance, if you're buying breeding stock, hire a vet who's a breeding expert. If you're buying a performance horse, find a vet who specializes in performance horses.
- Contact the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and ask for a performance horse vet in your (or the seller's) area. Go to www.yourhorseshealth.com/getadvm, or call 859-233-0147.
- Contact your regional equine veterinary school and ask for recommendations.
- Opt for a vet with digital X-ray technology. Such X-rays provide superior diagnostic capability over both hard (standard) film and fluoroscopy (a form of video X-ray). (This is especially key if you're buying a horse for resale; your buyer may opt for digital images during a PPE, which could turn up something you missed if your vet didn't use them.) Digital X-rays can also be instantly emailed or burned to a CD, for review for a second opinion.
- Pick a vet who can communicate on your level, meaning one that you're comfortable talking to. You want him or her to be able to break down any findings into layman's terms. And, you especially want to be able to ask any and all questions that occur.
- Try to avoid using the seller's and/or horse's regular veterinarian, if possible, to avoid a potential conflict-of-interest situation.
Dr. Kurt Heite is an FEI-certified veterinarian. His practice, Equine Sports Medicine, is in Tomball, Texas. There he focuses on lameness issues in performance horses, often traveling around the country to treat clients' horses.
This excerpt is a preview of the book Be a Smart Horse Buyer, by Bob Avila with Sue M. Copeland. The book is available at HorseBooksEtc.com.