Diagnostic Digital Ultrasound

Diagnostic digital ultrasound is used to image or see soft tissue structures within the horse. An ultrasonic wave is produced by the transducer which is held against the horses skin. The transducer emits these high-frequency sound waves and then recaptures them on return. The veterinarian slowly moves the transducer over the area being examined. The sound waves bounce off the internal tissues and organs. Tissues of different densities reflect sound waves differently. The transducer separates and identifies the sound waves or 'echoes'. The echoes are then converted into electrical energy. Complex equipment uses them to produce video images - sonograms - on a computer monitor.  These digital images can be analyzed, measured, and transmitted to give diagnostic information about injuries and healing.
Ultrasound can also be used to image a mares reproductive organs and can show an embryo at just 12 to 14 days. In contrast, rectal palpation usually cannot detect pregnancy until 20-30 days. By day 25, ultrasound can reveal a heartbeat to verify the presence of a viable fetus. It is also valuable in diagnosing twin pregnancies at an early stage.

Wellness Exams & Preventative Care

At Colts Neck Equine Associates we believe prevention is the best medicine. We work with you to create a customized vaccination program to fit your horse's needs. We provide Wellness Examinations, which involve checking your horse's vital signs (temperature, pulse, respiration) as well as Body Condition Score and weight taping, to help you maintain your horse in his optimal body condition, so that he can look and feel his best for optimal performance. Consider the following health care measures to keep your horse looking and feeling its best
        Nutritional evaluation
        Vaccinations for
  •   Tetanus
  •   Influenza
  •   Rhinopneumonitis
  •   West nile virus
  •   Encephalitis (eastern and western)
  •   Strangles (intranasal)
  •   Rabies
  •   Potomac horse fever
  •   Botulism
  •   Lyme
        Deworming for parasites and yearly biannual fecal exam
        Blood tests
  • Coggins for EIA
  • Thyroid evaluation
  • PPID Testing (previously known as cushings testing)
  • Cbc and Chemistry (recommended yearly for mature horses)
        Dental exam
For additional information on vaccination protocols for horses consult the veterinary guidelines published at


Endoscopy uses a video camera to image the horse’s airways allowing us to identify problems, take diagnostic samples and bacterial cultures, and perform specialty therapeutic procedures (antibiotic infusions and other technical interventions). This procedure is essential in diagnosing the cause of chronic respiratory diseases and infections. Gastroscopy, or video camera imaging of the stomach, is the only way to truly diagnose gastric ulcers and monitor therapy. The 3.0 meter gastroscope is essential for diagnosing other types of stomach disease (tumors, infections, obstructions, etc) as well as esophageal diseases (recurrent choke, swallowing problems, tumors, ulcers, etc). Endoscopy and diagnostic sampling avoid unnecessary and ineffective treatments which can delay appropriate care and negatively impact the horse’s recovery. All forms of endoscopy are minimally invasive, so generally, only light sedation may be needed for comfort during the procedure. The information gleaned leads to directed therapy and definitive diagnosis of the horse’s ailment, producing the optimal medical or surgical outcome.

Prepurchase Evalutaions

A Pre-purchase evaluation is highly recommended to all prospective horse owners for horses intended to be used for any and all purposes. The basic exam consists of a physical and soundness evaluation.  The veterinarian can then proceed to a more thorough exam depending on the intended use of the horse and the desire of the prospective purchaser. The typical exam can take anywhere from 2-3 hours depending on how many optional services are requested. The exam area needs be a dry, flat, hard surface (preferably not a soft riding ring).  Keep in mind that horses should not have been trimmed or shod for 2 weeks prior to the exam, and the horse should not be extensively overdue. After completion of the exam, the veterinarian will give you a complete summary of his/her findings.

The physical evaluation may includes examination of the following:
  • Respiratory system
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Musculoskeletal system
  • Neurological system
  • External Genitalia system
  • Opthalmic exam
  • Integument
  • Age estimation

The soundness evaluation which may be done in hand or under saddle may include:
  • Hoof tester exam
  • Palpation and manipulation of tendon, joints and ligaments
  • Flexion tests on all joints
  • Palpation of all musculature for pain or inflammation

Digital Radiology

Digital radiography had revolutionized the way x-rays are taken. We are proud to offer the latest, state of the art imaging technology form Eklin medical systems – the RapidStudy™ digital radiology (DR) system. In less than four seconds, we can take a digital x-ray of the patient’s injury or area of concern without waiting precious minutes to develop film. Traditional radiography uses film that needs chemical processing. Digital radiography, in contrast, instantly converts x-ray images into digital signals. They can then be displayed on a computer screen. We know instantly whether we have a good view of the target area or if we need to take another view. Additionally, like a digital photo, a digital radiograph can be manipulated after it is taken. This allows us to vary the contrast of the image, change the resolution or magnify areas of concern. Because of this advantage, we can see things on the digital image which a film x-ray just wouldn’t allow us to see before. This means we can start treating the horse sooner. Quicker treatment generally results in a faster and more positive outcome. Your veterinarian can also quickly transmit the radiographs to other veterinarians anywhere in the world for review via the internet.


Acupuncture is based on the discovery that certain areas ("points") on the surface of the body are related to specific internal body organs and functions. This discovery has since been confirmed by many western studies. By meticulously studying different disease states, the Chinese were able to develop a whole model of the relationships between the superficial "points" and the internal organs as they related to normal body function.

In traditional Chinese thought each human or animal is born with a fixed amount of Vital Essence (Jing) at birth. Jing is spent in the work of living. The Jing is supported and expressed by the movement of Qi (Vital Energy) throughout the body via a system of channels or meridians. Qi is replenished by food and air. These meridians flow on the surface of the body and also deep within the body connecting all organs and tissues in a vast network. Disease can arise when there is an imbalance or disruption in the flow of Qi through these meridians. Certain areas along the meridians that travel the surface of the body provide access to the energy carried in the meridians and allow a trained acupuncturist to affect the flow and quality of Qi in the body. These areas are the acupuncture points. By stimulating these points, sometimes located far from the site of symptoms, the veterinary acupuncturist can assist the body to heal itself by balancing its own vital energies. This balancing is now known to be mediated primarily via the nervous system, but other physiological mechanisms including hormonal and humoral factors are also involved. This balance in turn may be used to adjust blood flow, nervous and muscle tone, hormone levels or the function of the organs.

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy has been used for over 25 years in human medicine to treat a number of urolgic and orthopedic conditions. Shockwaves are high-energy sound waves, which are transmitted to the affected body part. There, they trigger the body's natural repair mechanisms by stimulating immune-competent cells. Thus, a lasting healing response is achieved without any side-effects. After diagnosing the problem, the veterinarian determines whether the condition is suitable for shockwave treatment.  The horse occasionally requires a mild sedation, and remains standing throughout the procedure. Treatment usually takes 10-20 minutes.  Conditions that often respond to shock wave therapy are:

  • Suspensory ligament injuries
  • Tendon injurie
  • Healing fractures
  • Stress fractures
  • Joint diseases, osselets, spavin, carpitis
  • Splints
  • Navicular disease and navicular syndrome
  • Sore back syndrome
  • Kissing spine disease

A series of 3-5 shockwave therapy sessions are needed before a response to treatment can be properly evaluated. The details of the subsequent resting and follow-up treatments should be discussed with your veterinarian.

24 Hour Emergency Care

Emergency care for your horses is one of the most important services that Colts Neck Equine provides.  As a group practice we cover all of your emergencies with our own staff of veterinarians so you never are without emergency coverage.  One of our experienced veterinarians will give you prompt help with your emergency whether it can be handled over the phone or needs a visit to your farm.  Colts Neck Equine Associates will never ask another practice or veterinarian to cover for us so that you are put in the position of being a “non-client” emergency and don’t get the attention that you deserve.




Cryotherapy is used to speed the healing of chronic, slow healing injuries primarily to ligaments and bones. The diseased or injured area is exposed to extreme cold generated from a liquid nitrogen tank.  The effects of the thermal shock to the area are: 1) analgesia - rapid reduction of pain that is prolonged at the cellular level, 2) anti-inflammatory - due to the destruction of mediators of inflammation, 3)decreased metabolism, 4) vasconstriction - decreasing blood flow and 5) muscle relaxation. Cryotherapy uses intense, powerful cold for a short period.  The cold is produced using the liquid nitrogen under pressure and is painless because it is dry.  Quick therapeutic cold levels are achieved in 60 to 90 seconds.  A delivery system (gun) is attached to the liquid nitrogen tank and cryotherapy is applied to the affected area.  In our experience the procedure is painless, requires minimal restraint, is safe, and has been very effective in our equine athletes.  We have used it for all forms of soft tissue lesions such as tendons, ligaments, joint capsules,  and small tumor removal.

Minor Surgical Procedures

Minor surgical procedures that can be handled on the farm are less expensive and less traumatic to the horse than sending them to a hospital.  Although Colts Neck Equine Associates does not have a surgical facility and will not do orthopedic or colic surgery other types of procedures can be done effectively.  These include:

  • Routine castration

  • Lacerations including eyelid tears

  • Tumor or other growth removal

All aftercare will be provided at your farm to make it easy and inexpensive