Equine diagnostics is much more than using the latest technology and running tests to determine the health and well-being of your horse. Here at Countryside Veterinary Services in Covington, we take a holistic approach to your horse's care, looking at the whole picture and accounting for equine symptoms, behaviors, and even small mannerisms that could be telling us something about the state of your horse.
We know that when your horse is sick or lame, you don’t want to wait around for answers. That is why we have invested in state-of-the-art diagnostic and laboratory testing which are mobile, fast, and accurate. Our experienced equine veterinarians understand that early and accurate diagnosis are critical in pinpointing and treating the underlying cause of your horse’s health problems.
Countryside’s comprehensive range of diagnostics includes:
Equine digital radiography is a non-invasive procedure allowing us to see what is happening internally with your horse. Like a digital camera, the image is visible in as few as four seconds of exposure without the need for chemical film processing. Using this relatively new technology the veterinarians at Countryside can view highly-detailed information on almost any portion of the equine anatomy. Digital imaging can be used to target lameness issues or medical conditions. From the bones and joints to the heart, equine digital radiography is a key tool in our equine diagnosis processes.
Ultrasonography, which uses sound waves to reveal internal structures of your horse, is a quick and painless diagnostic tool. Equine ultrasound is used to see the soft tissues, such as tendons and ligaments, in horses.
Countryside’s equine veterinarians can use digital ultrasound to help diagnose joint and soft tissue injuries, pregnancy, and colic. In addition, since a horse ultrasound allows us to see tendons and ligaments, we use this tool to help diagnose lameness, ligament injuries, suspected masses and tumors, inflammation, abscesses, and so much more.
Ultrasounds can also be used to evaluate how an injury is healing to guide injections for precide medical procedures. These images are much better than digital x-ray images when looking at soft tissues.
All of our Countryside equine veterinarians are equipped with SOUND Technologies Ultrasound Systems and are available to provide services in-house or on the farm.
As you know, horses can have many issues related to eating, which is why our equine gastroscopy machines are crucial in our diagnostic processes. Gastroscopy is a valuable veterinary tool that uses a flexible video endoscope to examine the equine esophagus and stomach. This uncomplicated procedure is performed while the horse is under light sedation. Sedation is not needed to control pain, but to instead to control the "ticklish" feeling your horse may experience as the small (1 cm) endoscope is passed through their nose. A gastroscope is the only way to accurately diagnose the presence and severity of stomach ulcers in horses. Stomach ulcers are extremely common and can lead to colic, weight loss, and your horse feeling poorly overall. It can also be used to identify stomach impactions, parasites, tumors and other abnormalities that may be affecting your horse's GI tract.
At Countryside, we do not believe in blindly treating horses for ulcers for several reasons. First, we do not want you to invest in an expensive treatment for a horse that does not even have ulcers. Secondly, we don't want to prolong any suffering for the horse. There are several different types and grades of equine ulcers that require different levels and lengths of treatment. We want the best result and outcome for you and your horse. Once your horse is diagnosed, medication and lifestyle changes will be necessary. We are here to guide you through this process, and we will recommend an exercise and feeding program for your horse.
Read more about the importance of diagnosing Ulcers in this recent article from Dr. Dan Carter, ‘Why it’s worth chasing the ulcer diagnosis.”
At Countryside, our advanced endoscope gives our veterinarians a real time view into the horse’s upper respiratory tract. Upper airway video endoscopy is used to evaluate and target problems with the pharynx, larynx, guttural pouches and trachea. These upper airway issues are common in sport horses and race horses. It is also used to diagnose roaring in horses.
All of the above clinical signs are indications that upper airway endoscopy is needed. The endoscope may also be used in conjunction with radiography, ultrasound examination, biopsy or cytology (via the endoscope) to confirm a diagnosis.
In addition, an endoscopy can be used to help diagnose issues with the bladder, uterus, and urethra.
Just like in humans, equine vets can learn a lot by running bloodwork on your horse. This can help us with early detection of some conditions and diseases, as well as tell us what is currently going on with your horse. Some of the bloodwork panels we run include:
Screening for disorders related to the red and white blood cells, and platelet counts. Examples include anemia, inflammation, infection, and some types of neoplasia.
Looks at protein and enzyme levels, as well as electrolytes, to help diagnose diseases or conditions related to the kidney, liver, and pancreas.
By understanding the level of lactate in your horse's blood, horse vets can get a good indication about the severity of a horse's colic.
As many of our clients know, we love sharing our knowledge and important animal health news. Our blog contains valuable educational resources in one easy location.