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

New app to improve street dog welfare

News Story 1
 A new free app will support vital work in clinics caring for stray dogs around the world, experts say. Created by the University of Edinburgh, the tool allows vets to track the wellbeing of dogs going through catch-neuter-return schemes, which are common in countries with large numbers of strays.

Vets say the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during the process of capture, transport or surgery. The app, piloted across Asia and Africa, helps staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care. It was launched at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Farm to fork traceability championed in new service

Defra has created a new information service to offer farm to fork traceability when the UK leaves the EU. The Livestock Information Service, which is set to be operational from 2019, will identify and track animal movements via electronic IDs, meaning the industry and government are better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food. NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.”