Tips to Help Avoid Pre-Purchase Exam Claims

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Equine practitioners insured through the PLIT program frequently report complaints related to a pre-purchase exams.

Use these general tips to help you avoid malpractice allegations:

  • Avoid conflicts of interest
  • Document that all parties waive conflicts of interest or decline the assignment
  • Obtain permission to disclose complete medical history and pre-existing conditions (document omissions and non-compliance)
  • Document everything, including buyer declinations of procedures, such as radiographs, drug testing, etc.
  • Document communications between parties (seller, buyer, agents, trainers) including phone calls, electronic communications, verbal conversations
  • Positively identify horse
  • Insure accuracy and document age (tattoos, registration papers, dental arcade, microchips)
  • Provide good quality imaging with complete radiographic studies 
  • Obtain additional documented opinions of image interpretations when possible
  • Provide a comprehensive form indicating all systems examined including ophthalmic, respiratory, neurologic, integument (scars), and reproductive; update as needed
  • Recommend drug testing for analgesics, anabolic steroids, behavior altering medications, breed specific genetic or inheritable diseases (HYPP, HERDA), etc; assure blood samples are drawn prior to any treatments, such as sedation for radiographs
  • Consider providing pre-sale photography or video for conformation and serviceability documentation for absentee buyers
  • Consider the use of a pre-purchase exam liability release agreement 
  • Provide the buyers with a final copy of the PPE report in a timely manner, including imagery, videos and radiographs. Consider sending a hard copy via certified mail to officially document receipt.

This resource provides general recommendations only and these general tips should not be construed as a representation of practice standards in equine veterinary medicine and pre-purchase exams. 

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