The extent of the radiographic examination poses another problem: what areas should be included? In my opinion, there are a number of factors to consider. A blemish or unusual physical characteristic may be evaluated radiographically, thus providing additional information that can enable one to assess its importance. An enlarged area on a limb may be revealed radiographically to be a chronic, inactive disease process, which is probably of little or no current or future clinical significance to the horse.
Another consideration are potential areas of future unsoundness. The front feet and hocks of hunters and jumpers are prone to developing degenerative changes such as navicular disease or bone spavin. Therefore, individuals involved with the purchase of these horses frequently feel more confident if they have a chance to review radiographs of the front feet and hocks.
Professional horse owners frequently request radiographs of the front feet for baseline information. Inasmuch as many horses today are purchased primarily for resale, it is helpful at the time of purchase to ascertain if there are potential problems which might seriously jeopardize a future sale.