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AT İSTANBULVeterinary Clinic

General Clinical Examination

This is the most important and essential examination of all. No matter what problem the horse is suffering from; a veterinary surgeon who must examine an unfamiliar horse for the first time would definitely make use of any findings obtained as a result of general clinic examination.

To draw an analogy, the general clinical examination is like the trunk, and the subsequent specific examinations are like the branches of a tree.

 In brief, the general clinical examination contains:

  • The horse's posture, attitude (jaunty, placid, in pain etc.) and body condition are assessed.
  • The horse's coat and hooves, stable conditions and its surroundings are examined.
  • The horse's body temperature, respiratory rate and pulse are measured.
  • Nasal discharge, if any, mucous membranes, capillary refill time, submandibular lymph nodes are examined.
  • The extremities are palpated, the heart and lungs are auscultated.
  • Coughing and visual reflex tests are performed.

Auscultation of heart

In which cases is general clinical examination carried out?

  • Upon the demand of the horse owner in case of any suspected diseases or injuries
  • Within the scope of routine controls, even if no disease is suspected. (could be performed more frequently specifically in sports horses during the competition season).
  • It constitutes a vital part of the horse pre-purchase examination.

The following questions are answered after the general clinical examination:

  • Has the horse's general condition deteriorated? (The 3 essential factors are body temperature, respiratory rate and pulse.)
  • If the horse's general condition has deteriorated, to which organ system or systems is this related?
  • Does the horse have a contagious disease?
  • Has the horse any other unknown problems? (Sometimes, totally unknown or unsuspected conditions may show up as a result of the general clinic examination. In such cases, not only the treatment period may be shortened thanks to early diagnosis but also some more serious problems may be prevented.
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