Passed 5 stage vetting in October- now retired? Can I do anything?

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My horse passed a 5 stage vetting in October, she was vetted for show jumping.

Yesterday after months of on/off lameness I was told she has severe cartilage damage to both stifles, grade 3 and she only has 40% chance of being field sound.

Can I claim anything from the vet? This was a pre existing condition which surely should have been picked up?!

(In addition to this, she was also diagnosed with substancial hock arthritis)
 

Flyermc

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Have you had the bloods tested for bute?
How long after the vetting did your horse become lame?
Did you attend the vetting? (did you notice anything?)
How did your horse feel to ride at viewings?
 
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Private, I had her on trial for 4 weeks so I know she wasn’t buted up.

I was at the vetting, she was dragging her hind toes at the trot up (which I had mentioned to him) he felt she was being lazy.

No X-rays taken, she passed so I never asked for any, I think I was just on cloud 9 that she passed.

The cartilage damage is quite severe, years of degeneration it seems in both stifles.
 

Goldenstar

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Unlikely , bilateral problems are not always visible at vetting you need legal advice .
The vet can only pick up want he or she can see and you would need to be able to prove the problems where preexisting.
Vets are insured for this type of thing I would get some advice quickly and then approach the vet .
Poor mare it’s very sad .
 

Melody Grey

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That's unfortunate. Presumably there are bloods stored that could be tested for Bute etc? In which case you might have a case with the vendor. Failing that, if the horse has genuinely presented as sound on that day, I can't see there would be any comeback on the vet under a normal vetting....if you had x-rays that had been misinterpreted, now that would be a whole different kettle of fish.
 

ihatework

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Private, I had her on trial for 4 weeks so I know she wasn’t buted up.

I was at the vetting, she was dragging her hind toes at the trot up (which I had mentioned to him) he felt she was being lazy.

No X-rays taken, she passed so I never asked for any, I think I was just on cloud 9 that she passed.

The cartilage damage is quite severe, years of degeneration it seems in both stifles.
Doesn’t rule out previous steroid injections.

Did she have a consistent competition record in the run up to purchase?

You might just have to chalk this up to crappy luck
 

ycbm

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What a dreadful situation. I would say if you can prove she was dragging her toes at the vetting and you mentioned it and he did not record it in the vetting report, that you should at least try an attempt of pursuing the vet, who will have insurance to cover them and not lose out personally. I'm not a person who advocates suing usually, but dragging toes should have been noted, and I would not personally buy any horse that did it.

I hope you get some sort of resolution.
 
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£5k of bad luck :-(
She had a consistent record, there was a 6 month gap where the owner was injured (genuinely, I saw all about it).

She was back in full work when I trialled her and had been hacking/lessons though hadn’t actually competed.
I took her on and continued the same work with added competitions as I wanted to use the trial period to make sure she was the right horse for me.
 

SusieT

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if you didn't xray and horse was sound probably no hope. unless you can get them on the dragging toes bit
 
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He never noted it, im not sure if any of the nurses would admit they heard me say it. It was noted by the vet who did all the diagnostics and my farrier though and I definitely have messages that prove the toe drag was an issue prior to the vetting but that’s to my farrier. I have no actual proof that I said it on day of vetting as it was only verbal, however I certainly mentioned it to him.. he got a lunge whip, whooshed her forward and said she’s just being lazy that’s all.
 

Melody Grey

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It sounds like unfortunate timing; she'd obviously been carrying on for some time without it showing, but inevitably that kind of wear and tear is going to become obvious eventually.

Surely if she passed the 5 stage, you might be able to claim loss of use through your insurance? (I know that won't be your primary concern!) I expect that they will say it was Pre-existing, but if she passed a vetting and has no record of it in veterinary notes I'm not sure they could prove that?
 

ycbm

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He never noted it, im not sure if any of the nurses would admit they heard me say it. It was noted by the vet who did all the diagnostics and my farrier though.

If you can get your farrier to say on oath that she did it at the very first shoeing, then I would say you have a fair case at a small claims court on the basis that she was dragging her toes at the vetting and it should have been recorded as a fault. Given the subsequent investigation showing a long term problem, which you'll also need your vet to witness on oath.

I never usually recommend going to court over a horse case, but you do seem to have been badly let down on this one.

I would definitely raise a case against the vet, which will probably go to the Veterinary Defence Society, the insurers, and if the response is not good enough, a small claim, which can be done online and won't cost you too much.

This all depends on whether your own vet will support you in an action against another vet. Without them, you're sunk.

Good luck.


PS I have just read that you have texts to your own farrier pre the vetting saying she was dragging her toes. This is great news as it makes it very unlikely you would not have mentioned it to the vetting vet. And although they told you she was 'just being lazy' they should also have warned you what it might possibly mean if she wasn't. And if they didn't, that was definitely negligent, and you should have a good case against them.
 

Shay

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Did you have bloods done? Bute would not be my thought - but steroids to the joints. Really common in SJ'ers. You haven't given her age or comp history - but 5K really isn't a lot to pay for a decent SJ'r of medium age / minimum record. Was she older than 8/9? Or with a competition history suggesting she may have been over jumped young?
 

Leo Walker

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If you can get your farrier to say on oath that she did it at the very first shoeing, then I would say you have a fair case at a small claims court on the basis that she was dragging her toes at the vetting and it should have been recorded as a fault. Given the subsequent investigation showing a long term problem, which you'll also need your vet to witness on oath.

I never usually recommend going to court over a horse case, but you do seem to have been badly let down on this one.

I would definitely raise a case against the vet, which will probably go to the Veterinary Defence Society, the insurers, and if the response is not good enough, a small claim, which can be done online and won't cost you too much.

This all depends on whether your own vet will support you in an action against another vet. Without them, you're sunk.

Good luck.


PS I have just read that you have texts to your own farrier pre the vetting saying she was dragging her toes. This is great news as it makes it very unlikely you would not have mentioned it to the vetting vet. And although they told you she was 'just being lazy' they should also have warned you what it might possibly mean if she wasn't. And if they didn't, that was definitely negligent, and you should have a good case against them.
I rarely agree with YBCM, but this is exactly what I would do.
 

Red-1

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I would say no, as the vet gives a best opinion on the day. Personally I would not have wanted the toe dragging on the certificate as then the horse would not be covered on insurance. I would be wary of trying to take action against the vet on the basis of the condition was pre-existing as then the horse would not be covered by insurance if you fail.

The vet did look at the comment, they wooshed the horse forward and felt that there was not an issue.

The vet does not have X ray eyes, that is what X rays are for. If you didn't have them, and the vet felt that the horse was just lazy, after investigating the action and the horse being OK on flexion etc, then that seems like a reasonable vetting to me.

I often get fed up when every single twitch of an ear is noted on a certificate as any hint of an issue means the horse is not covered on insurance. Poor vets, dammed if they do and dammed if they don't.
 
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How awful for the both of you! I have found myself in a similar position where in 2017 I bought a seemingly talented young pony for RC activities and 'low level' dressage. Sadly it turns out he has what can be best described as malformed stifles. This presented itself with on/off lameness, weakness behind, toe dragging etc. Took about 1.5 years to diagnose after trying winter off, physio, targeted exercise, chiro, back injections etc. Then this January I took him into a lesson where my instructor spotted it was the stifles which xrays subsequently confirmed. I now have a lovely highly intelligent enthusiastic pony which is physically unable to do what I bought him for! Interestingly enough at the viewing he crashed into a jump when the dealer asked the rider to jump him. He jumped clear the second time and I thought no more about it (until now). I wish I'd been more alert/experienced as this 'crashing' into jumps turned out to be a symptom of his weak stifles because if he was jumped this was a common occurrence and I also discovered he found raised polework very difficult. But because I didn't buy him to jump him of course I just put the crash at the viewing to be greenness. Sigh. He did pass a 5 stage vetting but this was with the dealer's 'pet vet' for a start and to be fair to all concerned only xrays of the stifles would have indicated a problem.

So note to self - if I ever buy another horse he or she will be xrayed from head to toe!
 

ycbm

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I would say no, as the vet gives a best opinion on the day. Personally I would not have wanted the toe dragging on the certificate as then the horse would not be covered on insurance. I would be wary of trying to take action against the vet on the basis of the condition was pre-existing as then the horse would not be covered by insurance if you fail.

The vet did look at the comment, they wooshed the horse forward and felt that there was not an issue.

The vet does not have X ray eyes, that is what X rays are for. If you didn't have them, and the vet felt that the horse was just lazy, after investigating the action and the horse being OK on flexion etc, then that seems like a reasonable vetting to me.

I often get fed up when every single twitch of an ear is noted on a certificate as any hint of an issue means the horse is not covered on insurance. Poor vets, dammed if they do and dammed if they don't.

It's the duty of the vet to warn the prospective buyer what things might indicate and the buyer then to decide what to do.

It's the commonest thing in the book that toe dragging might indicate hock arthritis, and a buyer wanting a horse to show jump should have been warned and, imo, also be advised to x ray. It's also a fool of a vet who, faced with a buyer expressing concern, did not suggest x rays. What did they have to lose? And on x ray this horse would have failed.

It's the lack of warning of anything else which could have been a potential cause, especially as the buyer mentioned it herself, which ime, is negligent in this case.

I'm the last person who recommends suing a vet, but I really think there's a case in this one.
 

Ambers Echo

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With the horse I bought before Amber who also came with a vetting, my own vet did write on my behalf taking issue with the vetting vet for missing a pre-existing condition. He was not paid for the letter - he wrote it because he simply did not feel the horse should have passed. And his letter said very clearly that his opinion was the horse was not fit for purpose at time of vetting.

Will your vet support you? If a vet supports a client against another vet you can be fairly sure the vet
being queried missed something they should not have. On the other hand if your vet shrugs and says 'bad luck but she must have been sound on the day'' I doubt there is much that can be done.
 

Steerpike

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Because if you go to the trouble and expense of having a 5 stage vetting on a horse you may as well get X-rays done as well, especially if you are buying a horse for a specific job and you are going to insure.
 
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She is 12, I appreciate the view that spending £5k on a show jumper may be cheap for some of you but for someone like me who has only ever had £500 horses to muddle on with, this was a large purchase to help me move up the levels.

I wasn’t expecting to buy Milton but I was thinking with an average budget, a 5 stage vetting and good breeding I was doing it right think and getting an experienced BS horse to show me the ropes.

What I wasn’t expecting for my money was to have a lawn mower 4 months later.
 

ihatework

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She is 12, I appreciate the view that spending £5k on a show jumper may be cheap for some of you but for someone like me who has only ever had £500 horses to muddle on with, this was a large purchase to help me move up the levels.

I wasn’t expecting to buy Milton but I was thinking with an average budget, a 5 stage vetting and good breeding I was doing it right think and getting an experienced BS horse to show me the ropes.

What I wasn’t expecting for my money was to have a lawn mower 4 months later.
Bless you. I can understand how gutting it must be. 5k is a lot of money to the vast majority of people.

If it was 5k on a 12yo BN/disco horse with a few poles here and there then I’d have thought nothing of it. If it was 5k on a horse jumping bigger tracks and with a break in its record there would have been a strong fishy smell floating around and I’d have been xraying and insuring LOU on the gamble if I could afford to write the money off. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.

In terms of moving forwards proceed carefully. I’d get some legal advice from someone who knows about the complexities of buying sport horses before you do anything else.

My gut feeling is that you will have to swallow this and move on. I’ve been there so know how you feel.
 
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