Heart murmurs are extremely common in all types of horses and ponies. They are often detected during pre-purchase examination and this can lead to considerable concern over their possible future impact on the horse’s suitability for intended use. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, the heart murmur is not indicative of any major heart disease and, once a full evaluation has been completed, the horse will 'pass the vetting'.
A detailed cardiological evaluation will include examination of the heart using colour flow Doppler echocardiography and an exercising electrocardiogram (ECG).
ECGs can now be obtained very simply, using modern digital equipment which is small enough to fit under a saddle pad to record results while the horse exercises freely. This has proven to be invaluable for examining horses at rest and under simulated race, event or endurance race conditions.
Facilities for investigation of respiratory problems include digital radiography, ultrasonography and endoscopy. Many of our cardiorespiratory medical investigations are co-ordinated by Celia Marr, who has internationally-recognised expertise and has published widely in this field.