Prepurchase Exams: Crystal Ball Not Included in Veterinarian’s Kit

One practitioner describes the steps he takes during a prepurchase exam to help buyers make smart decisions.

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Prepurchase Exams: Crystal Ball Not Included in Veterinarian
Dr. Hand suggests the key to success is performing prepurchase exams consistently and confidently, with an understanding of the clients' goals. | Photo: Kevin Thompson/The Horse

As much as buyers want veterinarians to perform a prepurchase exam and predict a horse’s future, the equine doctor’s medical kit doesn’t include a crystal ball.

“The client does want us to predict,” Reese Hand, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, told practitioners at the 65th Annual American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 7-11, 2019, in Denver, Colorado. “They want us to tell them that a horse is going to be sound for so many years and that he’s going to be productive at whatever job he’s going to be asked to do.

“But keep in mind, the prepurchase exam is not a guarantee,” he continued. “You’re looking at this horse at one point in time, and you’re trying to give the buyer as much information as you can—including possible risk factors—so he can make a proper decision. But it’s a window

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Written by:

Betsy Lynch has been an equine industry professional for 30-plus years as an editor, writer, photographer, and publishing consultant. Her work appears in breed, performance, and scientific journals. Betsy owns her own business, Third Generation Communications. She is a graduate of Colorado State University, continues to keep horses, and lives near Fort Collins, Colorado.

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