Vettings, or pre-purchase examinations (PPE) to give them their official title, are useful as a part of the decision making process when it comes to buying a horse. There are 5 stages of the usual examination and it designed to try and pick up most problems that would be expected to be found during the course of a thorough examination, lameness for example. Our aim is to find as many horses as possible to be fit for the purpose for which they are intended; this may mean that a horse which we consider fit enough for general hacking and light schooling will not be fit enough for show jumping. The 5 stage procedure requires the horse to be ridden, where appropriate, and is useful for detecting abnormalities that show up at exercise but not at rest, such as abnormal respiratory noises. For this reason we always recommend the 5 stage procedure over the truncated 2 stage procedure, which does not include the exercising component. We are happy to discuss the best option for yourself in each circumstance.
The PPE takes approximately 2 hours to perform; it requires a box or equivalent for the initial examination, a level area for trotting up and a suitable area for exercising the horse; a competent person to ride the horse is also necessary. We take a blood sample from all horses presented for PPE, this sample is sent away to be stored at an external laboratory and can be tested for various pain relieving and sedative drugs should there later be any suspicion of drug administration at the time of the exam. The sample is stored for 6 months.
The examining vet will endeavour to give you a verbal report on the day of the examination and a written report will follow 2-3 days later.
We prefer not to carry out a PPE on a horse belonging to one of our clients in case of potential conflicts of interest. We will, however, proceed in such a situation if all parties are happy that no such conflict exists.