The pre-purchase exam is used to determine the horse’s current state of health and condition, and to help the purchaser evaluate the suitability for its intended use. The pre-purchase exam includes a thorough evaluation of all body systems including: cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological, gastrointestinal, ophthalmic, and musculoskeletal systems. An extensive lameness evaluation involving body and limb palpations, flexion tests, hoof testers and lunging, is also included. This exam may include other tests such as radiographs, ultrasound, bloodwork, Coggins testing, drug testing, breeding soundness exam, etc. at the buyer’s request.
The role of the veterinarian in the pre-purchase examination is not to “pass” or “fail” the horse. Instead, it is to provide information about the horse’s current health, interpret the results of tests, and to present the findings to the purchaser, in terms that the purchaser can understand, so that the purchaser can make an informed decision. Open communication among the purchaser, seller and veterinarian is key in this process.