Poor performance investigation
In some cases of poor performance, there is an obvious reason for the horse’s inability to perform well, such as lameness or a cough and nasal discharge. However, many other potential causes of poor performance can be subtle and the horse may appear fit and healthy when examined at rest. In these circumstances, the cause of poor performance may only be evident during exercise, and some form of exercise testing is frequently required to make a diagnosis. When evaluating poor performance, it is important to remember that there can often be more than one cause, and multiple body systems may be involved in horses with reduced athletic capacity.
The basic evaluation of any athletic horse with poor performance centres on obtaining a detailed history and performing thorough clinical examination using appropriate diagnostic aids as well as specialised techniques. Common diagnostic tests include; blood testing, lung washes and endoscopy (airway scopes).