Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Pre-purchase examination (US)

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

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd, Jarred Williams

Role and responsibilities of the examining veterinarian

Introduction

  • Within the United States, any licensed veterinarian can perform a pre-purchase (PPE), although consideration for experience, knowledge of the various species and disciplines, and comfort with the examination should be weighed when performing or considering performing a PPE.
  • While not required, Professional Liability Insurance is highly recommended when performing an examination like a PPE.
  • PPE examinations are typically conducted on behalf of the prospective purchaser, though may be performed for the seller as a means of predicting outcome of the examination by another party or to identify problems that may need to be addressed prior to selling.
  • All the information, facts and evaluation resulting from the PPE examination are part of the medical record which is established based on the client/patient/veterinary relationship. Commonly, in the case of PPE, the client is not the owner but rather the prospective purchaser.
  • PPE examinations are most successfully performed if done under conditions that will most closely match the purpose for which the horse is intended whenever possible.
  • Conflicts of interest may arise, or be perceived to arise, when an examination is conducted on behalf of a vendor (seller).
  • Establish a routine method for conducting the examination to ensure all relevant parts of the horse are examined habitually. This is best achieved by establishing or using a document to record your findings during the examination. A worksheet typically provides a structure for the examination to ensure consistency and completeness of the examination.
  • The goal is to establish the facts (is there clinically detectable disease or injury) that may be used as the basis of an opinion on the horse’s potential to perform a desired service.
  • Markings and any identifying characteristics should be recorded.
  • Familiarity with breeds, colors of the horse, and associated terminology is recommended.
  • Blood tests for systemic health or drug screens are commonly taken and submitted or saved.

International guidelines

  • In the USA, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has a purchase examination committee which can advise practitioners on purchase examinations.
  • There is not a specific document or official certificate that must be used or submitted for a PPE examination in the US.

Baseline examinations

  • Any examinations can be part of the PPE, though some are certainly not routine. Typically included in the routine examination are:
    • Physical examination, including particular attention to auscultating the heart.
    • Musculoskeletal examination - static and dynamic.
    • Ophthalmologic examination.
    • Radiographic examination (views vary by discipline).
    • Upper respiratory endoscopy- if intended for racing or cross country/3-day eventing.

Speciality examinations

Before the examination

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PPE 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.
  • Van Hoogmoed L M, Snyder J R et al (2003) Retrospective evaluation of equine prepurchase examinations performed 1991-2000. Equine Vet J 35 (4), 375-381 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 (1), 43-48 VetMedResource.
  • 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 (6), 333-341 VetMedResource.
  • Anderson G F (1992) Evaluation of the hoof and foot relevant to purchase. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract 8 (2), 303-318 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Swanson TD (2011) Miscellaneous Musculoskeletal Conditions. In: Adams and Stashaks Lameness in Horses. 6th Edn. Ed: Baxter GM. Blackwell Publishing, USA. pp 1091-1094
  • Beeman G M (1992) Examination for Purchase. In: The Veterinary Clinics of North America. W B Saunders, USA. pp 425. 
  • Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (1991) Colors and Markings of Horses. Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, UK.

Organisation(s)

  • American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), 4075 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511, USA. Email: aaepoffice@aaep.org. Guidelines for reporting purchase examinations.


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