About a month ago, a company that puts on continuing education seminars for veterinarians reached out to us to see if we had any horses they might be able to use for an upcoming course at Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital in September. The topics were centered around sports medicine and orthopedics, and they were looking for horses with various levels of lameness issues. We decided to send Renee, who we know has osteoarthritis, Valor, who has a few different lameness issues, and Zoe, who has a mild, intermittent hind end lameness. The horses were hauled in on a Friday morning and got to come home the following night. All three of them got to participate in demonstrations on both Friday and Saturday and they were well-behaved SAFE ambassadors!

Renee demonstrating use of the lameness locator

The topics that our horses got to participate in were ultrasound of the front and hind limbs, pre-purchase exams, and use of a device called a lameness locator. The lameness locator uses censors that attach to the horse’s poll, hindquarters, and right front leg, and sends information about how the horse is moving to a computer. It assists veterinarians in pinpointing where a lameness is originating from. It’s a newer tool that is incredibly useful, and our vets at Rainland have one.

The benefit for us in taking SAFE horses was not only exposure for SAFE and a new experience for the horses, but we also got feedback on what findings there were on the exams performed by the veterinarians who participated. We didn’t really need feedback on Renee since she already has a diagnosis, but it was interesting to see where Valor was at after several weeks of rehab from his sore back and hind end lameness, and we got some good feedback about Zoe. Valor looked improved from where he had been the last time he had a lameness exam, but still off. Zoe showed a mild lameness in her front feet, and also in her right hind. New knowledge of these issues in Zoe prompted us to schedule a full lameness workup with Dr. Fleck after we got the horses home.

Getting to participate in this course with SAFE horses was a pretty fun opportunity. Zoe, Renee, and Valor deserve a gold star for their participation!