Lameness: Then and Now

Over the past thirty years, I’ve seen a tremendous progression in veterinary medicines’ approach and success in dealing with equine lameness.

Lameness examination, while still very much an art of the examiner, has progressed a great deal. Research into diagnostic nerve blocks, force plate studies, high speed cinematography and now an instrument that determines the lame limb(s) and grades the lameness, are all tools that are available to veterinarians. These tools are helping us to be even more precise and timely in our diagnosis.

When I first started practice, the only form of diagnostic imaging for the typical veterinarian was radiographic equipment that by today’s standard would be considered non-diagnostic, at best. Ultrasound exams were just being pioneered by a few forward thinking veterinarians, but still years from becoming the modality that is a mainstay of today’s veterinarian…and the thought of routinely performing MRI’s was unheard of, until recently.

Therapies in the form of medication, surgery, regenerative therapy, podiatry and alternative therapies have advanced our ability to maintain the equine athlete and in many cases return horses to a full level of competition, that in the past would have never been able to even live a comfortable life.

One of the newest approaches in dealing with lameness is rehabilitative therapy. Physical therapy has been critical in human medicine for years. No more is it acceptable in equine medicine to simply lock our athletes away in a stall and hope they can return to their previous levels of performance. The advent of equine rehabilitative care is an exciting frontier that has only begun to scratch the surface of where it can lead.

Here at The Jaeckle Centre, Equine Performax Veterinary and Rehabilitative Services is very excited about the future in caring for our equine athletes. We’ve made a strong commitment to be at the forefront of providing the equine community with state-of-the-art diagnostics, therapies and rehabilitative care. We invite you to come visit us and look forward to serving in any way we can.

Mark S. Wooten, DVM

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