Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Pre-purchase examination (UK)

Synonym(s): Prior-to-purchase examination, PPE

Contributor(s): Dallas Goble, Helen Herinckx, Rachel Murray, Vetstream Ltd

Role and responsibilities of the examining veterinarian

Introduction
  • A veterinarian with sufficient experience, generally two years work in practice with a substantial equine caseload, should undertake a PPE, although this will depend on the individual and practice. 
  • Professional indemnity insurance is a must - the  Veterinary Defence Society in the UK specializes and has extensive experience in these matters.
  • Pre-purchase examinations are conducted on behalf of the prospective purchaser.
  • All the information, facts and evaluation resulting from the pre-purchase examination are the property of the prospective purchaser.
  • Pre-purchase examinations are most successfully performed if done on behalf of the purchaser, under conditions that will most closely match the purpose for which the horse is intended.
  • Conflicts of interest will arise, or be perceived to arise, when an examination is conducted on behalf of a vendor.
  • An examination may be conducted on behalf of a vendor in order to establish defects that might be declared before sale - give a verbal report only.

Do not issue a pre-purchase examination certificate on behalf of a vendor.

  • Establish a routine method for conducting the examination to ensure all relevant parts of the horse are examined habitually.
  • Use a workform to record your findings during the examination, these can then be transferred to the certificate later. In the UK, BEVA recommend a worksheet which provides a structure for the examination.
  • The goal is to establish the facts (is there clinically detectable disease or injury) and then form an opinion (is the horse capable of performing at the desired level).
  • Markings and whorls need to recorded with precision and accuracy in the report, both in writing - using anatomical terminology to locate the markings - and by drawing on diagrams:
    • Left and right sides of horse   Horse: diagram 01 - left and right side  .
    • Head, nose and muzzle   Horse: diagram 02 - head neck and muzzle  .
    • Fore and hindlimbs, rear view   Horse: diagram 03 - forelimb hindlimb rear view  .
  • Use red pen to cross-hatch color markings and mark the position of whorls with an X in black ink.
  • Familiarity with the colors of the horse and associated terminology is essential.
  • There are other certificates available for examinations conducted for other purposes, for example, pregnancy, dental records, eye examinations and presence or absence of respiratory noises (wind) - only use a certificate specific for the intended purpose.
  • Blood tests, comments on vices, and specific opinions on height are not included in a pre-purchase examination, although any observed vices should be noted on the certificate.

International guidelines

  • In the UK, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the British Veterinary Association (BVA) produce a booklet of authorized and numbered certificates for use in the UK.
  • Each booklet comes with a yellow Joint Memorandum which outlines the recommended procedure. Only these certificates should be used by practitioners in the UK, but additional information can be attached to the certificate.
  • In Australia, a similar system of authorised certification is in place.
  • In the USA, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has a purchase examination committee which can advise pracitioners on purchase examinations.

Other examinations

Print-off the Owner factsheets on Pre-purchase examinations (UK)Examining a horse at an auction and Buying a horse to give to your clients.

Before the examination

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Five stages of examination

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Limited examinations

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After the examination

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Stephenson R (2006) A practitioner's approach to the equine prepurchase examination: Part 4. UK Vet 11 (1), 508.
  • Stephenson R (2005) A practitioner's approach to the equine prepurchase examination: Part 3 - Some problem areas - the heart, sarcoids and melanomas. UK Vet 10 (8), 6-12.
  • Stephenson R (2005) A practitioner's approach to the equine prepurchase examination: Part 2 - The preliminary examination. UK Vet 10 (7), 6-12.
  • Stephenson R (2005) Pre purchase examination: Part 1 - Before the examination.  UK Vet 10 (6), 7-11.
  • van Hoogmoed L M, Snyder J R, Thomas H L & Harmon F A (2003) Retrospective evaluation of equine prepurchase examinations performed 1991-2000. Equine Vet J 35 (4), 375-381 PubMed.
  • Anderson G F (1992) Evaluation of the hoof and foot relevant to purchase. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract (2), 303-318 PubMed.
  • McEvoy F, Rossdale P D, Wingfield Digby N & Lane J G (1998) Caveat vendor - technology and prepurchase examinations of horses. Equine Vet J 30 (4), 274-276 PubMed.
  • Parker J & Habin D J (1995) Examination of the equine eye as part of the prior to purchase examination - Part 2. Equine Vet Educ 7, 43-48.
  • Parker J & Habin D J (1994) Examination of the equine eye as part of the prior to purchase examination - Part 1. Equine Vet Educ 6, 333-341.
  • Chandler N (1990) The examination of a horse on behalf of a purchaser. Stages 2 to 5. Equine Vet Educ 2, 144-146.
  • Webbon P M (1981) Problems associated with the use of radiography in the examination of a horse for a purchaser. Equine Vet J 13 (1), 15-18 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Mantell J A R et al (2004) Changes to the Format of the PPE (Pre-Purchase Examination) and Certification: Reasons for Change. In: Proc 43rd BEVA Congress. Equine Vet J Ltd, UK. pp 51.
  • Ellis D R (2004) Assessment of Laryngeal Function in the Pre-Purchase Examination. In: Proc 43rd BEVA Congress. Equine Vet J Ltd, UK. pp 244-245.
  • Mantell J A R (2004) Changes to the Format of the PPE (Pre-Purchase Examination) and Certification: Reasons for Change. In: Proc 43rd BEVA Congress. Equine Vet J Ltd, UK. pp 51.
  • Owen J M (1999) The Vetting of Horses and the Avoidance of Trouble. Clinical Pathology/Therapeutics Litigation and Insurance Problems. The University of Liverpool. pp 23-27.
  • British Equine Veterinary Association (1998) The Pre-Purchase Examination. Ed: T S Mair. Equine Veterinary Journal Ltd, UK.
  • Beeman G M (1992) Examination for Purchase. The Veterinary Clinics of North America 8. pp 425. W B Saunders, USA.
  • Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (1991) Colors and markings of horses.

Organization(s)

  • American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), 4075 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511, USA. Email: aaepoffice@aaep.org. Guidelines for reporting purchase examinations.
  • British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), Wakefield House, 46 High Street, Sawston, Cambridgeshire CB2 4BG, UK. Email: info@beva.org.uk. Manual for the pre-purchase examination.


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