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Pre-purchase horse vettings in Devon and Cornwall


We carry out pre-purchase examinations (PPE) throughout Devon and Cornwall and, upon special request, further afield.


There are two types of PPE – the standard five stage and the reduced two stage. The stages include: 


  1. Preliminary examination, including eyes, heart, lungs, lumps and bumps, joints and limbs, and a dental exam.

  2. Walk and trot in hand, assessing gait and including flexion tests if necessary.

  3. Exercise on the lunge on a hard and soft surface and then under saddle on a soft surface. The exercise must be strenuous enough to cause the horse's heart rate and respiratory rate to increase so these can be examined after work. The limbs and gait are also reassessed for lameness.

  4. Re-examination after a period of rest, at which stage markings and identification will commonly be recorded, and blood samples obtained.

  5. Lastly, a second trot up on a hard surface to see if any lameness has become apparent after the exercise and rest.


Blood samples are commonly obtained as a security measure, and are stored for six months by the Veterinary Defence Society. They can be tested if any problems arise, for example to check whether painkillers are present if a lameness later appears, or sedatives if there is a behaviour or temperament change.


Other measures may be requested for more valuable purchases and performance horses, including radiographs.


Endoscopy is routinely used to examine the respiratory systems of racehorses and can be used for any horse with respiratory noise on exercise.


Ultrasonographic examination of the reproductive tract is available and recommended for those horses being purchased for breeding purposes.


We have portable x-ray, endoscopy and ultrasound equipment, meaning any or all of the additional procedures can be carried out during a PPE, if requested at the time, with no need for transportation to a hospital centre.


The potential vendor may be given a verbal opinion by the veterinary surgeon at the time of the PPE and a detailed certificate is issued soon after. The opinion is subject to the limitations of the examination and provides no assurances in respect of those matters that can only be established by a seller’s representation to a purchaser.

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