Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Radiography, X-ray, Hocks or Tarsus



Hock radiographs are a standard diagnostic used in hind limb lameness exams and pre-purchase exams. Hock lameness is common in horses of all types and disciplines. Historically, one of the most common lameness conditions diagnosed has been arthritis of the lower, low motion joints of the hock.

Typically, in this series four radiographs are taken of each hock from different angles. The bony structures and joints are then evaluated.


High quality radiographs of the hocks provide valuable information regarding the bony structures within this area. Even if there are no obvious hock-related issues at the time, radiographs may provide a useful baseline for future comparison.


We are becoming increasingly aware of conditions affecting soft tissues in this area, which are not captured in radiographic images.

Additional diagnostics that are better able to visualize soft tissue injuries or abnormalities may be necessary.


  • Will these radiographs change the treatment you will perform today?
  • Will the results alter the prognosis?
  • How much will the radiographs cost?
  • I have old radiographs, can we look at those instead or in combination with these?
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    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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