Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

Sensors enhance relationship between lameness and back problems
The sensors are small, lightweight and can be easily attached to the horse.

Researchers construct most precise analysis yet

Researchers are using sensor technology to enhance their understanding of the relationship between lameness and back problems in horses.

The sensors enable researchers to construct the most precise analysis yet of the interactions between of the interactions between different anatomical parts.

They are small, lightweight and can be easily attached to the horse, meaning that assessments of back movement can also be conducted in clinical cases.

In a study by led the RVC and the Animal Health Trust, experts attached the sensors to thirteen horses with hind limb lameness.
The horses were trotted in straight lines and lunged on left and right reins, before and after lameness was improved by diagnostic analgesia. The sensors collected data on gait asymmetry and ranged of motion from along the spine of the horse, as well as from the hips.

The results show that:

    •    Immediately after resolution of lameness, hip movement asymmetry improved by an average of seven per cent.
    •    Movement asymmetry along the back decreased significantly by between 33 per cent and 52 per cent across the pelvis, lumbar and mid thoracic region.
    •    The range of motion on the back showed a clear increase, particularly in the mid-thoracic and lumbar region, suggesting that removing limb related pain allows horses to move more freely through their back.

Dr.-Ing. Thilo Pfau, senior lecturer in bio-engineering at the RVC commented: “The observation that reductions in limb-related lameness immediately resulted in increased ranges of motion of the back can be seen as a model for the inverse process: when a horse develops a limb related lameness, this impedes movement patterns across the body. The back, as the bio-mechanical link between forelimbs and hind limbs, appears of particular interest here.

“It is well documented that horses with hind limb lameness show compensatory head movements, and we have recently shown that the movement of the withers plays an important role in the process of distinguishing between forelimb and hind limb lame horses.”

He continued: “We strongly believe that back movement plays a central role in horses with poor performance and that more research needs to be conducted elucidating back movement as a function of treatment and rehabilitation regimens, such as our recent study on the effect of elastic exercise bands.”

Image (C) RVC

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Survey seeks to learn about racehorse aftercare

News Story 1
 The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is launching a survey to improve understanding of aftercare for thoroughbreds. The survey has been emailed to trainers, who are asked to share their own experiences, with a focus on life after horses finish their racing careers. It forms part of an equine health and welfare strategy being developed by the BHA. 

News Shorts
Charity welcomes new ambassadors

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has appointed the actor Anthony Head and renowned canine behaviourist, Sarah Fisher, as official ambassadors. They join existing ambassadors Paul O’Grady, Amanda Holden, David Gandy and Jacqueline Wilson.

Anthony is best known for his roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Iron Lady and Girlfriends. He has previously lent his voice to Battersea’s videos and appeals, as well as performing readings at the charity’s Christmas Carol Concert and Collars & Coats Gala Ball.

Meanwhile Sarah has worked across all three of the charity’s centres, offering advice in dealing with a variety of complex and challenging dogs. She has also fostered several Battersea animals and trained many members of staff in using the Tellington Touch method of training, to keep dogs calm and relaxed.