background image
Columbia Equine Hospital inside image

Protection for Horse Buyers With Comprehensive Pre-Purchase Exams

Horses are a big financial and emotional investment. We strongly recommend a pre-purchase exam prior to acquiring any horse, whether it will be used for performance or pleasure. Pre-purchase exams (PPE) are routinely performed by the veterinarians at Columbia Equine Hospital for a large variety of equine disciplines. This exam will determine if the horse is physically suitable for its intended use, regardless of level.

Pre-Purchase Exams For Horses at Columbia Equine HospitalEach PPE consists of a thorough physical exam, conformation analysis, and lameness examination. Physical examinations can be complemented by our advanced diagnostic equipment, including digital radiography, digital ultrasonography, video endoscopy, nuclear scintigraphy, and complete laboratory services.

Radiographs taken at the time of the pre-purchase exam allow diagnosis of current orthopedic issues affecting soundness. These images also reveal potential issues not yet evident clinically that may affect the future soundness of the horse. However, radiographs do not reveal soft tissue lesions that may affect soundness.

With hundreds of bones in the equine skeleton, imaging every joint is not practical. Instead, we recommend consulting with the veterinarian prior to the exam to determine what views may be necessary. These views vary based on the intended use of the animal, its current level of training, age, intent for resale, and any abnormalities found on physical exam and lameness evaluation.

Any radiographic findings must be interpreted in light of the horse’s current physical presentation. Some medical conditions or conformation faults are manageable or may never seriously affect the horse’s performance. The veterinarian’s responsibility is not to "pass" or "fail" the horse, but rather to interpret current physical findings and advise the purchaser as to the potential limitations of the animal.

Remember, the most important part of the PPE is good communication. No horse is perfect in every regard. We are here to help you make an informed decision about the horse’s suitability for its intended purpose.

It is important to know that this exam is thorough and time consuming, and the horse (and handler) must be cooperative and patient. A fractious animal may be impossible to accurately evaluate, leading to an incomplete exam and overlooked problems. Sedation may be required to obtain clear and informative radiographs.

Pre-purchase examination fee includes:

  • Pre-examination consultation with a veterinarian
  • Discussion of intended use of animal
  • Review of known history of animal
  • Radiographic recommendations
  • Physical examination
  • Conformation analysis
  • Gait analysis
  • Flexion tests
  • Radiographic review
  • Digital archiving of images on CD and on a password-protected website*
  • Post-examination consultation with a veterinarian
  • Written report of findings

Pre-purchase examination fee does NOT include:

  • Pulling front shoes and prepping feet for radiographs (metal shoes interfere with imaging the hoof; AAEP guidelines require shoes to be removed for a PPE)
  • Radiographs (X-rays) are additional per view
  • Sedation, if needed for capturing quality digital images
  • Blood work, ultrasound, and endoscopy are all additional and will be billed separately


“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!”