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Clinic Hours:
Mon-Fri 8 to 5:30
Sat. by appointment only

31310 Woodhaven Trail
Cannon Falls, MN 55009

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Phone Numbers:
651-258-4050 office
651-258-4051 fax
651-222-0885 Twin Cities


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An experienced veterinarian utilizes their detective and intuitive skills to diagnose medical problems or lameness issues. This evaluation of a horse’s suitability for an intended use is done with the buyer in mind.

Before your Prepurchase Exam


The buyer fills out the prepurchase information form and provides CVS with a complete description for the intended future use of the horse.

The CVS staff records the buyer’s information when the appointment is scheduled

The seller fills out the prepurchase exam history form.

An appointment is conveniently scheduled with Dr. Winter so the buyer and seller can both be present.

It's all about the Buyer
A prepurchase evaluation is scheduled when a buyer contacts CVS.
At that time, the buyer becomes our client and the results of the exam belong to them. The evaluation ends when we have collected the data from the physical and lameness exams and have performed all agreed upon diagnostics. Within a few days, we mail a completed copy of the Prepurchase Form to the buyer. We do not pass or fail a horse. The report reviews the conditions or current status of the horse at the time of the exam. It is an opinion, and not a guarantee for the future soundness of the horse. The information that we accumulate belongs to the buyer. With the buyer’s permission, the information can be shared with the seller.

Physical problems are evaluated with the buyer as to the likelihood of causing future soundness issues. Some buyers may wish to purchase a horse without any issues, while others may be willing to purchase a horse that has minor issues and may require periodic joint injections or other medications.


Physical Exam / Conformation Evaluation
A head to tail physical exam is performed to determine flaws that could impact soundness or performance. Body conditioning and hair coat is noted because it indicates a lot about the horse’s general health.
A set of vitals including the temperature is taken.

Cardiovascular System
Dr. Winter listens to the heart to detect a murmur or any abnormal rhythms.
The pulse is taken prior to exercise, after exercise, and after recovery.

Gastrointestinal System
He listens to gut sounds and notes any abnormalities.

Musculoskeletal System
He checks the body for lumps or bumps
He palpates the back, loin, and croup for signs of muscle soreness which may indicate possible hock problems.
He examines the legs for heat, swelling, lumps, bumps or bowed tendons
He checks the hooves for signs of previous founder or conformation issues

Optic system
An ophthalmic exam is performed to check for problems that could impair their vision such as cataracts or equine uveitis.

Oral exam
He checks the mouth for abnormalities and notes the condition of the teeth and bite.
He will recommend a float, if needed.

Otoscopic Exam
He checks the ears for signs of abnormal growths, infections or tick/mite infestation

Reproductive System
For stallions: he palpates both testicles and scrotal area for any abnormalities. If the stallion will be used for breeding purposes, he will recommend a fertility exam.
For geldings: he palpates the scrotal area and checks for any abnormalities.
For mares: he checks the external genitalia. If purchased for breeding purposes, he will do a rectal palpation or ultrasound exam to check the ovaries and uterine tone.
If requested, a culture will be performed.

Respiratory System
He checks the nose for any abnormal discharge, palpates under the throat, esophagus and trachea. He listens to their respirations for a regular rhythm and any abnormal sounds such as (roaring) prior to and after exercise, the respiratory rate will be recorded to determine if it is within normal limits.

Lameness Evaluation
Dr. Winter examines the horse at a walk and trot on a straight flat surface.
The horse is lunged or ridden at a walk, trot, and canter. An indication of lameness may be shown by a head bob or asymmetrical body movement (dropping of one side compared to the other).

Pressure with a hoof tester will be applied at various points on the sole of each hoof to test for pain or sensitivity, such as hoof abscesses or navicular disease

Flexion Tests
A front leg flexion test is performed by flexing each front leg separately for 60 seconds (pressure is exerted on all joints equally from the knee down)
The assistant immediately trots the horse. A problem joint that has been flexed may show significant pain when trotted.
A hind leg flexion test is performed by flexing each hind leg separately for ninety seconds (pressure is exerted on all joints equally from the hock down). The horse may trot a bit stiff for a few steps after the flexion test. Healthy joints should warm out of the stiffness within a few strides and be symmetrical from side to side.

If a neurological problem is suspected, Dr. Winter will ask the assistant to spin the horse in tight circles. Stepping irregularly or on itself may indicate neurological problems.

If potential problems are indicated
Dr. Winter may recommend additional diagnostic services:

A complete set of radiographs (Hocks, front feet, and stifles); provide valuable information to help base your decision concerning the purchase of this horse. X-rays can reveal problems that don’t show up on flexion tests or hoof tester exams. They may reveal developmental bone diseases or age related changes such as arthritis or osteochrondrosis.

An ultrasound exam may be recommended if tendon or ligament issues are suspected.

Additional tests that can be performed:
Blood Chemistry Panel:
CBC or Complete blood Count:
Coggins test:
Drug Screen: to ensure that the horse has no medication in its blood stream that would significantly affect the horse’s disposition or soundness at the time of the exam.



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