Action Point: Spend time feeling and identifying the structures of the leg and learn how it feels to palpate these structures on each horse to know what is normal for them. Refer to the Journey through the Joints Healthcare Tool and Functional Equine Anatomy course materials for reference.
Identify the structures of the legs, bones, major tendons. Palpate the shoulder blades, withers, and muscles. Watch the horse walk, trot, and canter, and take a video for reference.
Rationale: Regular palpation of a horse’s body and legs may aid in the detection of any changes or soreness at an early stage, allowing for conversations with the vet and/or changes in exercise before serious lameness issues arise. Having a video record of normal gaits of each horse will serve as a handy point of reference if/when a gait abnormality is observed.
Action Point: Understand the difference between observations, diagnostics, clinical signs & findings, and diagnoses & treatments. Dr. Doug Thal, DVM presents a helpful overview of these terms on his Horse Side Vet Guide website, which can also be downloaded as a phone app.
Rationale: While it isn’t imperative that a horse owner has complete knowledge of medical terminology, the ability to effectively communicate with and comprehend what the veterinarian is saying, and ask educated questions is key in being an effective advocate for horse health.
Knowing which observations warrant a call to the veterinarian is crucial. The list of My Observations on the website presents an extensive list of medical and behavioural observations, indicating which ones require veterinary attention with a simple click on said observation. The phone app will be a handy tool for everyone involved with caring for the horses.
The sections on Vet Diagnostics and Vet Diagnoses provide comprehensive lists of all of the respective tools and conditions, with some descriptions available for owners, and others only accessible by veterinarians.