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Using a Lameness Checklist

If you detect lameness while riding your horse, or while observing your horse in the field: 

Stop and look for any obvious causes (e.g. lacerations or wounds, swelling of a leg) 

  • If your horse is three-legged lame or refuses to put weight on a limb, put him or her in a safe and comfortable area (e.g. stall or small paddock) and call your vet in case there is a fractured bone.
  • Look and feel for any signs of inflammation along your horse's legs, back or neck (e.g. heat, pain, swelling, redness).
  • Pick up and examine each foot and look for signs of damage, punctures or embedded foreign material. If you find embedded objects in a hoof, call your vet.
  • Take your horse's temperature (some bacterial infections in the joint can cause a fever).

Contact your vet: If lameness is severe or worsens despite stall rest and appropriate first aid, you should call your vet for a full examination. 

  • Tell your vet about anything unusual you have noticed or picked up on your own examination, and give any details that might help with diagnosis and treatment. 

Keep good records: Make notes of the signs that your horse exhibited, what you have done to make him or her comfortable, and whether there was any improvement.  Include information from your vet, such as the diagnosis and treatment prescribed.