The aim of the pre-purchase examination (PPE) is to carry out a thorough clinical examination on behalf of a potential purchaser to identify and assess factors of a veterinary nature that could prejudice a horse’s suitability for its intended use. Each PPE is carried out on behalf of a specific prospective purchaser so that the opinion can be based on that purchaser’s individual needs and the intended use of the horse.

The pre-purchase examination provides an assessment of the horse at the time of examination to help the potential purchaser make an informed decision as to whether or not to continue with their purchase. It is not a guarantee of a horse’s suitability for the intended purpose.

A standardised 5 stage clinical examination is performed by the veterinary surgeon, who will form an opinion as to the significance of any findings and any possible adverse implications for the prospective purchaser’s intended use of the horse. The findings and opinion will  be reported to and discussed with the potential purchaser verbally at the end of the examination  and documented in a certificate. We recommend that a  blood sample is taken for storage (usually for 6 months). This is for possible future analysis to detect substances present in the horse’s system at the time of the examination that might have masked any factors affecting the horse’s suitability for the purchaser’s intended use. In some circumstances further diagnostics may be required.

Our vets are happy to carry out pre-purchase vettings on behalf of our registered clients or on behalf of non-registered clients. If the animal to be vetted belongs to a client of the practice or is known by the practice, the veterinary surgeon will request the permission of the vendor for full disclosure of any clincial history to the purchaser. If permission for disclosure of the horse’s history by the vendor  is not granted, then our veterinary surgeon will decline to perform the examination as he/she will not be able to act wholly in the interests of the purchaser.

In some circumstances our vets will, if requested by the purchaser perform  a limited (two-stage) examination. However the potential purchaser must be aware that the examination will be limited in its scope and may not detect important clinical factors that could  influence their decision to purchase the horse.

Where possible and if required, the prospective purchaser is advised to confirm that they are able to obtain suitable insurance cover before purchasing the horse.

Insurance examinations can also be carried out for an existing owner of a horse and will usually follow the same format as the five-stage PPE but  will not include an opinion and should not be interpreted as a pre-purchase examination.

Click here for more information about the pre-purchase vetting examination.

What our clients say


The Liphook Equine Hospital has provided us with fantastic service for our competition horses for the past 30 years. The team’s depth of experience offers a 5 star level of care for any situation and we have really put them to the test over the years! From the day to day routine treatments to the ” never been seen before ” emergencies they offer knowledgeable and realistic advice.

— Mrs. Elaine Wilson, Milland, Hampshire