Equine Sport Solutions (ESS),
is a veterinary practice based out of Colorado Springs, promoting the pursuit of excellence in the equestrian sport.

Diagnostic Blocking

Peripheral nerve blocking:

Equine Sport Solutions, in Colorado Springs, is a practice comprised of equine vets that focus specifically in lameness and advanced diagnostics. Diagnostic blocking is a very important step in lameness evaluations in order to specifically locate sources of pain. Peripheral nerve blocking involves injecting local anesthetic (i.e. carbocaine) with a very small needle near a nerve that innervates a particular region. The injection will numb the area that the nerve innervates. If that area contains the source of pain that may be causing a lameness, then once it is numbed, the horse will appear sound or not limp any longer. Typically, our equine vets start by blocking at the lower most part of the limb to insure specificity in the localization process. If the horse’s lameness doesn’t resolve after that block, we will move up the limb and block the next region. This is a step-by-step process that may take some time. Blocking should not be skipped because it will actually save you money in the end. It is better to spend money on diagnostic imaging (the next step of the exam) of one particular region than to image an entire limb. Imaging an entire limb to determine the cause of lameness is like trying to find a needle in a haystack! Moreover, just because one of our equine vets finds pathology on an imaging modality doesn’t mean it is an “active” source of pain. That pathology must block out to prove it is actually the source of pain.

Intra-articular blocking:

Intra-articular blocking may be used alone or in conjunction with peripheral nerve blocking. It is not routinely used during a lameness evaluation because it is slightly more invasive; however it can provide very specific localization of the origin of pain. Intra-articular blocking involves injecting anesthetic (i.e. carbocaine) directly into a joint thereby numbing it. If a joint block successfully resolves a lameness, our equine vets will then move on to imaging that joint.