Cayot is often called on to conduct PPEs on sport horses in the 5- to 15-year-
old age range that compete in dressage and hunter/jumper disciplines. In most
cases, potential buyers request X-rays and are willing to spend more on the
PPE because of what the horses will be doing. X-rays for these exams typically
include front feet, front fetlocks and hocks.
If you are buying a mare and there’s any chance you might want to breed
her in the future, mention this to the veterinarian doing the PPE. At the very
least, Cayot recommends a rectal palpation to make sure she has two normal
ovaries. If you are buying specifically to breed, you’d also want an ultrasound
and possibly a uterine biopsy, particularly if it is an older mare or one who has
had foals in the past.
Finding the Right Vet
Ideally, your regular veterinarian will be the one to conduct the PPE. But since it’s
common to buy horses out of state or not in your area, you’ll need a backup plan.
It’s not recommended to use the seller’s vet, not because they won’t be honest,
but simply because this could lead to a conflict of interest.
“It’s always better to use a vet who doesn’t work on that particular horse, even
if it’s a vet from the same practice/clinic,” says Cayot.
for PPEs can vary significantly in
different regions of the country, but
$400 is a good average.
Different veterinarians have their
own standard procedures for PPEs, so
ask up front exactly what is covered, as
well as the cost for additional options,
such as X-rays, blood work, and more.
If you’re considering a drug screening,
specify how extensive it should be.
Do you want a thorough screening
that can detect pain killers, sedatives,
anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, et
cetera, or a less extensive screening
just to check for the presence of commonly used anti-inflammatory drugs,
such as bute or Banamine?
As a potential buyer, you need to
work with your vet to get the right
type of PPE for your needs. Cayot
explains that this depends on three
The horse’s purchase price.
What you intend to do with horse.
If you plan to resell horse.
“It doesn’t make much sense to
spend $500 on a PPE for an inexpensive horse you’re going to trail ride and
keep forever,” says Cayot. “However, if
you think [an inexpensive horse] may
be a ‘diamond in the rough’ that could
turn into a big show horse you’re hoping to resell for significant gain, then
you’ll want to do a PPE.”