The experienced equine vets at Alnorthumbria provide complete lameness investigations and treatments, working to the highest standards. Please see below for details of our diagnostics and treatments.
Lameness exams are normally carried out at the surgery where we have a safe area set aside for trotting up in a straight line and on a circle, and a lunge pen for assessment on a soft surface.
During a lameness evaluation, an initial exam is performed, trying to localise asymmetries, painful or swollen areas, evaluate horse´s conformation, posture… And a full history from the owner or rider can be very helpful for us! Once the horse has been examined we start evaluating the way the horse walks on a straight line to assess things like conformation and balance. After trotting the horse, flexion tests are usually performed to try to localise the area of pain. This area of pain is often localised with the help of nerve blocks, consisting in infusion of local anaesthetic around a nerve to desensitise the structures below the level of the injection.
This is why we need to start with our nerve blocks from the foot, to make sure we do not miss anything. To further localise the area of pain, this local anaesthetic can also be injected into joints. Once the lameness has been localised, the area in question will need diagnostic imaging- X-rays, ultrasound or even both to have a better picture of the lesion. Sometimes further tests need to be performed, such as MRI and scintigraphy (also known as bone scanning) can be arranged if needed.
Equinosis Q: lameness locator
Often with mild or bilateral lameness, the use of our lameness locator is a very helpful tool. This locator consists of three sensors, placed on horse´s head, right fore leg and pelvis, which measure how the horse moves, providing real-time data collection in a quick, easy and non-invasive way. This tool can be used to evaluate an initial lameness or to evaluate the efficacy of a nerve block. When bringing your horse for a lameness evaluation, please ask us for more information about Equinosis Q.
We offer digital radiography allowing for superior images to the traditional film system, meaning improved diagnostic capability without waiting for the image to be revealed. Images are stored on our database, allowing easy comparison of previous X-rays and allowing quick referral to a specialist by email if required.
Ultrasound is frequently used in our practice to scan tendons, ligaments, eyes, joints and backs after suspected injuries. This allows an accurate diagnosis of soft tissue injuries or even evaluation of the surface of bones and is very useful for monitoring the healing process.
Extra corporeal shockwave therapy (ECSWT) is a non-invasive and often well-tolerated treatment used to treat a variety of conditions such as suspensory ligament desmitis, tendon lesions, splints, backs and chronic wounds. The effects of this treatment include an increased perfusion, stimulation of bone repair and analgesia.
Arthroscopy and other orthopaedic procedures as high suspensory neurectomy and fasciotomy are performed under general anaesthesia at the equine centre in Morpeth. See our surgery and anaesthesia section for more details.
Stem cells, platelet rich plasma (PRP), bone marrow concentrate and Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein (IRAP) are all more advance therapies for use in joint and tendon injuries due to their regenerative and anti-inflammatory effects. Please contact us for more details as each case will benefit more from a different treatment.
We have a close working relationship with farriers and often provide shoeing recommendations as an important part of a treatment regime. As well, we organise clinic days at the practice with Jim Ferrie FWCF and Richard Cain AWCF.