Tests or procedures used by your vet to determine what is wrong with your horse, in order to reach a diagnosis.

Cost: $100 to $500

These cost ranges are approximate and may vary from region to region.
Additional charges may also apply.


Radiography, X-ray, Carpus

Cost: $100 to $500

These cost ranges are approximate and may vary from region to region.
Additional charges may also apply.


Carpus radiographs are a standard diagnostic. They are most often performed on flat racing horses that tend to suffer from more carpus-related injuries.

This diagnostic is also a basic screening test for diagnosing a fracture of the carpus, locating small fragments that have separated from the small carpal bones. These radiographs can also help diagnose arthritis in this area.

Typically, in this series five radiographs are taken from different angles around the carpus. "Skyline views" are taken as needed to highlight specific areas on the front surface of the carpus.

Sometimes trainers request an x-ray view of the growth plate at the end of the radius to determine radiographic closure of the growth plate as an index of maturity and readiness for heavy training. This diagnostic is probably not of much value as a predictor of anything. That said, closure is ranked as A- Closed, B,C- partially open and D Wide Open.

Why A Vet Chooses This Diagnostic

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


Commonly, arthroscopic exploration of a joint proves that even horses with normal radiographs have obvious pathology when the surface of the joint is visualized.

Radiographs taken to indicate readiness for training are probably not that helpful.

your role

Questions To Ask Your Vet:
  • 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?

further reading & resources


Brand Name Products

Equine health related brand name products and services.

  • Sound™ Vet Inc.
    NEXT Equine DR™
    The Evolution of Equine Digital Radiography
    Sound™ is the veterinary industry’s #1 Digital Imaging and PACS Company, with uncontested leadership positions in Ultrasound, Digital Radiography, Imaging Education, and PACS Solutions. 
    Veterinary Digital Radiography, Ultrasound, and PACS Image Management benefiting from a combined strength and synergy, driving innovation and advancing an open standard of practice integration to provide you with previously unknown levels of Quality, Efficiency, and Freedom of Choice.
    Sound™ is the veterinary industry's largest and most trusted source for X Ray, Ultrasound, Digital Radiography, Radiation Therapy Equipment, PACS - Distributed Imaging Solutions, Telemedicine, Advanced Imaging Tools, Imaging Solutions Support & Technician Training.

Related References:

Gabel AA, Spencer CP, Pipers FS. A study of correlation of closure of the distal radial physis with performance and injury in the Standardbred. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1977;15;170(2):188-94.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP