Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Assess Injured or Affected Area



When veterinarians clinically assess an injured area, or assess an area for injury, they are looking through the lens of their education and experience in practice. They use all their senses to form the most complete picture possible of an area. They consider the normal anatomy of the area, and the structures that might be injured or involved.

Experience provides them with a context in which to evaluate response to injury. They have seen similar injuries and can compare healing response to those prior patient’s responses. Similarly, they have used a variety of treatments and seen the responses to those treatments and so can more objectively evaluate the quality of the response.


There is no substitute for a thorough clinical examination of an affected area. It is the cornerstone for all other diagnostics. Without clinical exam, the other diagnostics have very limited.


Like everything veterinarians do, there is opportunity for personal bias to get in the way of an objective evaluation.

Experience (time in practice, intensity of practice) is what provides value to this examination. The more horses an examiner exams, the better examiner they become.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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