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Skilled & Caring Lameness Evaluation and Treatment for Your Horse

We can all appreciate the majestic strength and athleticism of our horses. However, sometimes a horse loses the ability to move gracefully in the ring or on the trail. Lameness can occur at any time and may be caused by pain, a physical problem, or a neurological condition. Most often problems arise from the musculoskeletal system, leading to abnormal movement at the walk, trot, or canter.

Lameness Evaluation and Treatment at Columbia Equine HospitalThe skilled equine veterinarians at Columbia Equine Hospital evaluate each horse systematically and thoroughly in order to make an accurate diagnosis of the source of the lameness and establish the most optimal treatment plan. Our veterinarians perform a physical exam with gait analysis, flexion tests, nerve and joint blocks as needed, and advanced diagnostic imaging.

Our facility has state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to help us diagnose the source of your horse’s problem. We offer the latest in diagnostics with MTurbo digital ultrasound that allows ultrasonic evaluation of joints, ligaments, tendons, and several soft tissue areas previously not studied. Digital radiography is provided in the field and in-house with one of two X-ray machines. Our most advanced lameness evaluation imaging system is the MIE digital scintigraphy diagnostic system. Diagnostic surgical arthroscopy is also available for intra-articular evaluations.

We use cutting-edge technology to assist us in our treatment of your horse, including:

  • Extra corporeal shockwave therapy (ESW)—Although the word "shock" may be scary, this therapy does not use electricity but rather a pressure wave that moves through tissue to alleviate pain and discomfort.
  • IRAP—Most commonly used for arthritis and ligament injuries, IRAP is a good alternative to traditional joint medications and shockwave therapy. IRAP usually involves three injections, one every two weeks, and a final injection several months later. This can be a good choice for horses competing under strict drug testing rules since the serum will show no foreign substances.
  • ACP (Autologous Conditioned Plasma)—Autologous blood products have created a growing interest for use in a number of orthopedic therapies. The healing effects of plasma are supported by growth factors released by platelets. These growth factors induce a healing process wherever they are applied.
    Outside the bloodstream, platelets become activated and release proliferative and morphogenic proteins. These growth factors are known to be relevant for healing in a variety of tissue types including bone, tendon, cartilage and skin.1 Their main actions are:
    • Induce proliferation and differentiation of various cell types (e.g., stem cell, osteoblast, epidermal cells)
    • Enhance/modulate production of collagen, proteoglycan and Tissue Inhibitor of Metallo Proteinases (TIMP)
    • Stimulate angiogenesis
    • Chemotaxis
  • Stem cell therapy—After harvesting stem cells in the laboratory, they can then be transferred to the damaged ligament or tendon and ultimately reproduce into normal, healthy tissue. This cutting-edge therapy has been known to produce remarkable results in many cases.

Lameness evaluations, both in the clinic and in the field, are a major part of the hospital caseload. We are available to help you and your horse with any concerns about level of performance and comfort.


“Competent and helpful.”

“Professional and compassionate.”

“I have been using CEH for years, and I have 100% faith in them.”

“I always have a great experience with them.”

“I recommend them for all your horses medical needs.”

“We always have a good visit when we take our horses to Columbia Equine!”

“Columbia Equine has a wonderful staff of professionals & state of the art equipment.”

“They're focused on the well being of the animals more than anything else. They educate the customer and are helpful in many aspects, I recommend them all the time!”

– Marlene

“Blessed am I to have this great vet team behind me and my pony thank you Columbia Equine Hospital! You rock!”

– Lauren

“Thank you for the great addition to your already top notch staff at Columbia Equine. We love you guys!”

“Amazing vets and beautiful facility. I've had my horses under their care before and they do an awesome job! I would recommend any of my fellow horse friends to take their horses there.”

“I can not begin thank Dr. Hanson and staff for the amazing care they gave my horse...”

“My initial conversation was with Alexis, me asking a lot of questions, she providing a lot of professional answers and setting up an appointment for a farm visit later that day, to Dr. Rioux-Forker showing up on time, listening to the problems we are having with our OTTB, Leon, asking thoughtful questions, and suggesting helpful solutions, we were very happy with every interaction we had with the staff at Columbia Equine Hospital. Very helpful. Very professional. Very experienced. And reasonably priced. Thank you!”