The Real Cost of Lameness

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Horse having MRI 750x426 - The Real Cost of Lameness

Horse having MRILameness is a complicated problem. In an ideal world when your horse goes lame you take it to the vets hoping that after an examination the vet will diagnose the problem and prescribe the correct treatment.

In reality, this is often not the case since lameness diagnosis is like detective work and your vet needs to build up a complete picture. Conventional diagnostic tools like x-rays and ultrasounds only provide part of the information, MRI can provide the rest.

The standard lameness evaluation cycle involves an initial assessment followed by nerve blocks, x-rays, ultra sounds, bone scans or CT scan to try to arrive at a diagnosis. Treatment may take the form of rest, surgery, medication, serum, stem cell or shock wave treatment all of which may take weeks or even months.

However, it is quite common that after the first cycle of diagnosis and treatment the problem has not resolved. This may be due to incomplete information during the original diagnosis. Using MRI as part of the initial diagnostic cycle can provide additional information leading to more accurate treatment.

The procedure is extremely rapid with a scan taking only a couple of hours.

The consequence is an overall reduction in the cost and time taken to resolve the problem along with reduced emotional stress and disappointment of recurrent cycles. Don’t forget that your costs are not only the vet but includes farriers, livery and physiotherapy.

Early referral for MRI leading to a more accurate diagnosis and more targeted treatment can bypass this repetitive cycle.

With medical technology increasing so rapidly, there is no need to cause your horse any unnecessary pain through delayed diagnosis.

For many owners, veterinary costs are covered by their horses’ insurance. The cost of an MRI examination will now be fully covered by horses insurance with NFU Mutual or any other insurance company. Subject to the policy date, the claim being within the maximum cover limits, that it is recommended as appropriate by a veterinary surgeon, and complies with any other conditions of the policy.

So if the financial cost is taken care of, the real cost is surely ensuring your horse makes a full and fast recovery.

A leading global veterinary MRI company, Hallmarq has installed 55 equine MRI systems around the world and scanned more than 29,000 horses, demonstrating tremendous experience diagnosing lameness.

For further information contact Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging on (01483) 877812 or visit

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