If I do a PPE-and I don't always-I like at least 1 shot of the front feet and maybe a hock shot. This gives you a baseline for changes over time. If it's a horse you're planning on having a long time, these base shots can be invaluable as they age. With these minimal views and the basic, eyes, lungs, lameness, about $500.
Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!
I paid about $1000 for my last PPE 3 years ago. I wanted x-rays. My feeling is that a pleasure horse needs a good prepurchase if you are like me and keep them for years. I want to know if there is an obvious problem that will require Adequan or repeated hock injections or surgery to remove a bone chip or a premature retirement. We have 1 retiree now, and I don't want to have to retire anyone else any time soon.
My most expensive ppe has been around 170, but the owner already did pre-ppe xrays hence no added cost. This horse was in the pricerange of a decent F250. The other 5 horses we vetted before finding "the one" never made it past the lameness stage and my highest bill was 110. I never ask for a ppe. I ask for a lameness exam (85-100 at a top vet hospital for a lameness specialist to declare lame/not lame) and basic health evaluation (50-65) and then sometimes and office fee of upto 35. I always haul in (or have horse hauled in) for vet checks because it give me one more opportunity to see the horse in a new environment plus trailering before deciding.
If you ask for a PPE the cost automatically goes up so you get a "PPE report" and the vets opinion on the horses ability to stay sound for inteded use. My problem with this is 1) they don't have a crystal ball that works any better than a knowledgeble horse buyers crystal ball and 2) during a normal lameness exam, I can ask the vet opinion of the horse's chance of soundess at xyz and they have never blinked and eye or charged me more.
Now most people know the biggest cost of a ppe is the xrays or looking at a found problem further. So basically you have to decide what level, if any, of unsoundess is acceptable and how much you want to spend to determine how bad it is on that day.
If I were shopping again, I personally would (still) stop the exam if the horse shows lameness and move on. There are so many good horses out there, that there is little reason to start with one with problems. I do think people become attatched to a horse they found fairly quickly and like to see if the unsoundess is caused by something minor or soon to be resolved, but really the seller is doing everything they can to bring in a sound horse and I don't find excuses acceptable. I did actually have someone tell me that when the horse was lame on flexions during the ppe 4 days after I had been there to ride the horse, that I had caused the horse's lameness by jumping him 3'3" (a 5 year old) and therefore would not be receiving my 2 grand deposit back yet they clearly knew I looking for an upper level jumper prospect (had that in writing) and the contract stated the deposit would be returned if the horse was deemed not fit for inteded use during ppe. The funny part was we used THEIR vet and he told us the horse would probably not be usuable in jumping if it causes any not to mention this much (3/5 grade lamess) lameness 4 days after an easy jump school. he also quietly informed us the horse failed a ppe 3 weeks earlier that he preformed. Seriously, that vet should be given a gold star for honesty! He could have "sided" with his client and told me the horse was sound since I was out of the country during the ppe and would have known none the wiser until I got him home.
Anyways, that has nothing to do with the OP, so now back to regular scheduled posting!
I think my last one, with x-rays of front feet, ran around $400. But, that was because the vet was one I worked with through a HS equine science class I taught and he gave me the PPE workup for the cost of a lameness exam (this was at a top clinic in the region I was in at the time), hence a substantial discount. It included lameness exams on a straightaway and circle, flexions, x-rays and the appropriate sedation, vision, lungs, ears, new Coggins (he had one but would have needed a new one before show season ended anyway). I chose not to scope him (mild roarer) but that would have added to the price. I didn't skip it because of the cost though. I felt that it was very thorough and well worth the price.
Last 2 purchases I just did the "health inspection" - eyes, ears, heart, lungs, jog and eyeball 360' by vet. $65 each plus $25 farm fee.
Granted, a week later one got kicked and is just now coming sound (9 months), that vet visit cost $1K.
The horse I bought 2 years ago I did the "whole nine yards" - 3 hour PPE with extensive x-rays, including cervicle. Spent $1K
You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts!