Ultrasound is a technique we often use to diagnose soft tissue injuries and abnormalities. An ultrasound machine is composed of a probe and a processor. The probe emits ultrasound waves which bounce back off the tissue and are then processed by the processor to create an image on the screen.

The most common situation we would use it is in the examination of suspected tendon and ligament injuries. Many athletic horses will injure their superficial digital flexor tendon at the back of the cannon region. Often a swelling will be evident at the back of the leg, however ultrasound is used to image the area and show any damage present and the extent of it. We often use ultrasound to monitor the healing and repair phases in order to plan a staged recovery and exercise programme.

Older horses often injure the check ligament, which is a ligament that originates at the back of the knee and attaches to the deep digital flexor tendon. These horses often present with a swelling on the outside of the leg below the knee. Ultrasound is used to identify this and monitor the healing of these injuries.

Another use of ultrasound is in the investigation of abdominal disease. The liver is an organ commonly examined with ultrasound, and is situated primarily on the right side of the horse. We use ultrasound to identify the most suitable place to take a biopsy from in horses with liver disease.

The intestine is also imaged using ultrasound. Using ultrasound we are able to measure gut wall thickness and assess for any changes in its structure- often seen in horses with inflammatory bowel disease and lymphoma.

Ultrasound examination is a completely pain free procedure and in the majority of cases is performed on the yard, provided there is a mains electricity supply. Very occasionally we will administer sedation in order to ensure a cooperative patient to get the best images possible! Sometimes we will have to clip the hair off from the area we are scanning in order to get adequate skin contact for high quality images.

We are able to save the digital images acquired and these are then attached to your horse’s record for us to view whenever required. If requested we can often print a copy for you if you wish to keep them for your records.

Other Procedures


One of the most distressing conditions for an owner to witness is an episode of choke. Fortunately choke in horses refers to an obstruction of their food pipe (oeseophagus), as apposed to the windpipe and therefore is very rarely life threatening.It is quite a common condition and occurs when food blocks the oesophagus, which is […]

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Laminitis is a condition we see very frequently within our practice and is now an almost year round condition. Wherever there are overweight ponies and horses there will be cases of laminitis.  The two main causes of laminitis are Equine Metabolic Syndrome and Cushings Syndrome. There are other causes  ( traumatic or toxin associated), however […]

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Liver Biopsy

Liver biopsy is a procedure we perform when we suspect a horse may have a problem with their liver. It is very rare to suspect liver disease simply based on clinical signs, the vast majority of liver disease cases we see are diagnosed following blood tests (see section on blood testing). Although blood tests will […]

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Testing for Respiratory Disease

Sometimes if we suspect your horse may be suffering from respiratory disease we will recommend further testing. This may include endoscopy, x rays, Tracheal Washes or Broncho Alveolar Lavage. We have included some notes for you to read about these techniques to help understand why we do certain tests and how they are performed.   […]

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Taking blood is a procedure very commonly performed and is done for a number of reasons. Sometimes it is to test for a certain disease in particular- for example evidence of strangles, although most of the time we take blood in order to get more information that allows us to work out what condition your […]

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New House Farm, Belbroughton Rd, Blakedown DY10 3JH
Monday - Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday 8:30am - 5:00pm
Sunday Closed