What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Seems Normal Otherwise, No Other Problems Noted


You assess your horse's general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), and you find everything to be normal. You cannot detect an abnormality.

Your ability to find an abnormality depends on your power of observation and the number of parameters (features like limbs, mouth, eyes) that you are able to accurately evaluate. Maybe you have not looked hard enough or you are not looking in the right place. For example, some types of lameness are very subtle and difficult to identify. Your horse may be lame, but you don't see it.

I created this record for several reasons. First, just because you cannot see anything wrong does not mean that everything is ok. Second, I needed a record for the situation in which you find one abnormality, but your horse seems ok otherwise. Finally, it is important to acknowledge the situation in which you (or your vet) find nothing abnormal - despite a concern about your horse's health.

Veterinarians can see things that you cannot based on their training and experience. Vets are astute observers of anything that strays from normal, given their knowledge of equine anatomy and physiology, and their years in practice examining thousands of normal and abnormal animals. When a horse appears normal otherwise, vets often use diagnostics (different ways of visualizing the animal), to help make a diagnosis.

your role


What To Do

If you believe that your horse is suffering from an injury, illness or disease, but cannot identify any obvious signs, contact your vet to discuss your concerns. You know your horse's normal behavior and appearance better than we do. It is the combination of your role and our role that give us the best chance to properly diagnose and treat the animal.

your vet's role

Depending on the situation, your vet may recommend that you simply monitor your horse, or assess them again later, or recommend that they perform a general evaluation and additional diagnostics.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?
  • What was the result of your assessment?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP