Equine Pre-Purchase Examinations

A pre-purchase examination (or PPE) consists of a complete, thorough physical examination; a soundness evaluation including flexion tests; and any additional diagnostics that the potential buyer requests, such as radiographs or drug testing.  The purpose of a pre-purchase examination is to determine the horse’s suitability for the buyer’s intended use. A pre-purchase examination can reveal issues that even an experienced horse person or trainer would not be able to identify, such as a heart condition, dental abnormalities, a subtle lameness, evidence of metabolic issues, or a need for corrective shoeing.   The physical examination will look for signs of previous and current illness or injury, as well as evaluating the conformation of the horse as it related to potential for future issues in relation to the horse’s specific discipline.  The PPE is paid for by the potential buyer, and any procedures performed must be agreed upon by the seller.   The veterinarian does not “pass” or “fail” a horse after a pre-purchase examination.  The veterinarian’s job is to obtain as much information as possible about the horse so that the prospective buyer can make informed decision about the purchase.  When considering whether or not to have a PPE performed on a horse you are considering purchasing, it is important to think not just about the risk of the purchase price of the horse, but the substantial cost of upkeep and care over the years that you will own the horse.