Expert Consultation, Worldwide
Henk Offereins DVM, MVSc, MRCVS
Henk Offereins DVM is a leading equine sports veterinarian. He works internationally to improve the athletic ability and soundness of top horses.
Through his international sports medicine work Henk has gained years of experience managing horses using remote assessment. This service has up to now only been available to select clients from around the world, and now we wish to open this up to all owners. The assessment is suitable for both competition and leisure horses.
What is Veterinary Performance Medicine?
Henk believes that the inherently generous nature of the horse demands that owners do their part to physically support and maintain their equine athletes so that they are able to perform to their highest possible ability. With the amount of assistance that we grant human athletes, it is almost unthinkable that we are reluctant to do the same for our horses, especially when there is so much available not only to rehabilitate them, but to act preventatively to avoid injury in the first place, keeping them stronger for longer. In a game where champions can lose by a nose, and disappear from the leader’s board with a time fault, can you afford to not give your horse the best of the best to do his job?
The combination of working at the high end of both the elite Dutch sport horse industry and the leading thoroughbred industry in Ireland for the last 20 years has given Henk a huge wealth of experience in all aspects of equine sport medicine, forging a passion that he continues to explore and share.
As such in 2016 Henk started Equine Athlete International as a platform for the total management for equine athletes worldwide. He also started Equinetendon.com to be able to offer worldwide tendon and soft tissue management services. This company currently has officies in Ireland, the UK, The Netherlands and South Africa and will expand in the coming years worldwide.
Henk is the dedicated and specialised performance veterinarian of many well known trainers, owners and sporthorse teams around the world. Having access to the newest and most advanced medicine and technology such as the ground-breaking UTC tendon diagnostic system, and extensive experience in managing equine athletes from Europe to Australia, Henk is a very good choice for fine-tuning the veterinary portfolio of your specialist equine athlete.
What a physical consultation looks like:
Every consult starts with an intake regarding (medical) history of the horse. After that Henk will asses the horse in a similar way as with a clinical vetting. This includes a physical examination in rest. Henk will examine and palpate the whole body, and will pay extra attention to muscle tone, muscle balance, swelling, tendons, ligament and possible pain. He will also test for range of motion and mobility of areas like the neck, back, sacroiliac, pelvic tilt, etc. During examination in motion the horse will be assessed for possible limitations in range of motion of limbs, balance in the body, posture, head carrying, use of lower back and general athletic impression. Additional examinations might include ultrasound of possible affected areas, Ultrasound Tissue Characterisation scans, blood samples and x-rays.
The overall aim of this assessment of the horse is to establish if there is anything that could limit performance, establish possible weaknesses, diagnose injuries and/or problems and eventually judge the horses current athletic ability. Modern competition leaves very little room for “fixing”, so our intention is to try to be ahead of injuries and avoid non training/competitions days by being proactive and ahead of problems. In that light Henk often advice treatments, shoes adjustments, change of diets, change of training, etc to interfere with processes that will only at a later stage might present as a clinical issue.
What an e-consult looks like:
Every e-consult begins in the same way as a like a physical consult, with an intake regarding (medical) history of the horse. For online consultation this means filling in our registration form fully. After that Henk will assess the horse in a similar way as with a physical consult, although remotely.
This begins with a visual examination of the horse in rest. Henk will look at the horses outlook and conformation, and will pay extra attention to muscle tone and balance, watching for swelling, tendons, ligament and possible painful areas. During examination in motion the horse will be assessed for possible limitations in range of motion of limbs, balance in the body, posture, head carrying, use of lower back and general athletic impression.
As the examination is being carried out remotely, at least 2 knowledgeable handlers will be required to carry out the examinations and tests Henk may request during the consultation. Please refer to our instructions for making a suitable video. (for example, Henk may request a fore limb flexion test) Henk will explain thoroughly any procedures of special exams he would like you to do.
Video consultation is available live via smartphone from anywhere in the world. Videos of particular incidents, or problems can also be uploaded for assessment.
Results and advice:
The overall aim both types of assessment is to establish if there is anything that could limit performance, establish possible weaknesses, diagnose injuries and/or problems and eventually judge the horses current athletic ability. Modern competition schedules leave very little room for “fixing”, so our intention is to try to be ahead of injuries and avoid missed training / competitions days by being proactive and ahead of problems. In that light Henk often advises treatments, shoeing adjustments, change of diets, change of training, etc to interfere with processes that will only at a later stage might present as a clinical issue.