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Methodology and validity of assessing kinematics of the thoracolumbar vertebral column in horses on the basis of skin-fixated markers

Marjan Faber MSc1, Henk Schamhardt PhD †2,3, René van Weeren DVM, PhD4, and Ab Barneveld DVM, PhD5
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  • 1 Equine Biomechanics Research Group, Department of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TD, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TD, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • | 3 †Deceased.
  • | 4 Equine Biomechanics Research Group, Department of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TD, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • | 5 Equine Biomechanics Research Group, Department of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TD, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the validity of using skin-fixated markers to assess kinematics of the thoracolumbar vertebral column in horses.

Animals—5 Dutch Warmblood horses without abnormalities of the vertebral column.

Procedure—Kinematics of T6, T10, T13, T17, L1, L3, L5, S3, and both tuber coxae were determined by use of bone-fixated and skin-fixated markers. Threedimensional coordinate data were collected while horses were walking and trotting on a treadmill. Angular motion patterns were calculated and compared on the basis of 2-dimensional analysis of data from skin-fixated markers and 3-dimensional analysis of data from bone-fixated markers.

Results—Flexion-extension of thoracolumbar vertebrae and axial rotation of the sacrum were satisfactorily determined at both the walk and trot, using skinfixated markers. Data from skin-fixated markers were accurate for determining lateral bending at the walk in the midthoracic and lower lumbar portion of the vertebral column only. However, at the trot, data from skin-fixated markers were valid for determining lateral bending for all thoracolumbar vertebrae.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Caution should be taken when interpreting data obtained by use of skin-fixated markers on lateral bending motions during the walk in horses. For determination of other rotations at the walk and all rotations at the trot, use of skin-fixated markers allows valid calculations of kinematics of the vertebral column. Understanding to what extent movements of skin-fixated markers reflect true vertebral motion is a compulsory step in developing noninvasive methods for diagnosing abnormalities of the vertebral column and related musculature in horses. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:301–306)

Abstract

Objective—To determine the validity of using skin-fixated markers to assess kinematics of the thoracolumbar vertebral column in horses.

Animals—5 Dutch Warmblood horses without abnormalities of the vertebral column.

Procedure—Kinematics of T6, T10, T13, T17, L1, L3, L5, S3, and both tuber coxae were determined by use of bone-fixated and skin-fixated markers. Threedimensional coordinate data were collected while horses were walking and trotting on a treadmill. Angular motion patterns were calculated and compared on the basis of 2-dimensional analysis of data from skin-fixated markers and 3-dimensional analysis of data from bone-fixated markers.

Results—Flexion-extension of thoracolumbar vertebrae and axial rotation of the sacrum were satisfactorily determined at both the walk and trot, using skinfixated markers. Data from skin-fixated markers were accurate for determining lateral bending at the walk in the midthoracic and lower lumbar portion of the vertebral column only. However, at the trot, data from skin-fixated markers were valid for determining lateral bending for all thoracolumbar vertebrae.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Caution should be taken when interpreting data obtained by use of skin-fixated markers on lateral bending motions during the walk in horses. For determination of other rotations at the walk and all rotations at the trot, use of skin-fixated markers allows valid calculations of kinematics of the vertebral column. Understanding to what extent movements of skin-fixated markers reflect true vertebral motion is a compulsory step in developing noninvasive methods for diagnosing abnormalities of the vertebral column and related musculature in horses. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:301–306)