Pre Purchase Examinations (PPE)

Just as a surveyor inspects a house before it is bought, we recommend that a horse be thoroughly examined before purchase. A full 5 stage examination is necessary to declare a horse 'sound' and insurers expect to see such a certificate if they are covering for veterinary fees or if the value of the horse is high.

Some purchasers ask only for the shorter 2 stage examination which is thorough but limited in scope, and it is not possible to assess adequately the heart, wind and limbs. We will however perform whichever examination the purchaser requests. Please refer to the PPE description below to learn more about the two and five stage examinations.

If you are considering purchasing a new horse/pony we strongly recommend that you get a PPE before buying. The PPE or ‘vetting’ is a thorough examination carried out on your behalf as the potential purchaser. The examination has been developed as the best means of detecting signs of disease and injury and often they are only a fraction of the final sale value of the horse/pony; investing in a 'vetting' may well save you money, time, effort and heartache in the long run.

Every PPE is carried out by a Veterinary Surgeon of your choice in accordance with the standardised guidelines laid down by the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) and BEVA (British Equine Veterinary Association). The examination is conducted in 5 stages:

Stage 1 – Preliminary examination
This is a methodical examination of the animal’s body to assess general appearance and condition. It includes examination of the teeth, the resting heart, the eyes by ophthalmoscope, the skin, the limbs and feet, and flexion of the limb joints to reveal pain or limitation of movement.

Stage 2 – Trotting up
Flexion tests are conducted on each of the four limbs. The animal is walked and trotted on hard, level ground in order to detect gross abnormalities of gait and action.

Stage 3 – Strenuous exercise
The animal is given sufficient strenuous exercise:

  • To make it breathe deeply and rapidly so that any unusual breathing sounds may be heard
  • To increase the action of the heart so that abnormalities may be more easily detected
  • To tire the animal so that strains or injuries may be revealed by stiffness or lameness after a period of rest

Stage 4 – Period of rest
The horse is allowed to stand quietly for a period. During this time the breathing and heart are checked as they return to their resting levels.

Stage 5 – The second trot and foot examination
The horse is walked and trotted again, turned sharply and backed, in order to reveal abnormalities exacerbated by the strenuous exercise stage.

In order to complete all five stages it can take a couple of hours and someone will need to be available to ride the horse.

Following the examination the vet will discuss any remarkable issues that have been demonstrated, together with the suitability of the horse for purchase with regard to the type of work it will undertake. If the vet deems the horse to be appropriate for your requirements a certificate will be issued, which may be a requirement of insurers prior to taking out insurance cover.

During every examination a blood sample is taken. This sample is stored for 6 months and if the horse subsequently becomes lame, the blood can be tested to screen for any substances that could have artificially masked the problem on the day of examination.

To discuss your requirements or to book a pre-purchase examination please telephone 01291 672637.

Our Main Vet Centre in Usk is supported by surgeries in Caerleon and Pontypool

Which enable us to provide veterinary services throughout Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen including Abergavenny, Gilwern, Goytre, Cwmbran, Chepstow, Blaenavon, Blackwood, Newbridge, Risca, Magor, Caldicot, Tintern and Trelleck.