Objective—To evaluate the effect of underwater treadmill exercise on static postural sway in horses with experimentally induced carpal joint osteoarthritis under various stance conditions.
Procedures—On day 0, osteoarthritis was induced arthroscopically in 1 randomly selected middle carpal joint of each horse. Beginning on day 15, horses were assigned to either underwater or overground (without water) treadmill exercise at the same speed, frequency, and duration. Two serial force platforms were used to collect postural sway data from each horse on study days −7, 14, 42, and 70. Horses were made to stand stationary on the force platforms under 3 stance conditions: normal square stance, base-narrow placement of the thoracic limbs, and removal of visual cues (blindfolded) during a normal square stance. The mean of 3 consecutive, 10-second trials in each condition was calculated and used for analysis.
Results—Displacement of the center of pressure differed significantly depending on the stance condition. Among horses exercised on the underwater treadmill, postural stability in both the base-narrow and blindfolded stance conditions improved, compared with findings for horses exercised on the overground treadmill. Horses exercised on the overground treadmill were only successful at maintaining a stable center of pressure during the normal square stance position.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Variations in stance position had profound effects on the mechanics of standing balance in horses with experimentally induced carpal joint osteoarthritis. Underwater treadmill exercise significantly improved the horses’ postural stability, which is fundamental in providing evidence-based support for equine aquatic exercise.
Objective—To determine kinematic changes to the hoof of horses at a trot after induction of unilateral, weight-bearing forelimb lameness and to determine whether hoof kinematics return to prelameness values after perineural anesthesia.
Animals—6 clinically normal Quarter Horses.
Procedures—For each horse, a sole-pressure model was used to induce 3 grades (grades 1, 2, and 3) of lameness in the right forelimb, after which perineural anesthesia was administered to alleviate lameness. Optical kinematics were obtained for both forelimbs with the horse trotting before (baseline) and after induction of each grade of lameness and after perineural anesthesia. Hoof events were identified with linear acceleration profiles, and each stride was divided into hoof-contact, break-over, initial-swing, terminal-swing, and total-swing segments. For each segment, kinematic variables were compared within and between limbs by use of mixed repeated-measures ANOVA.
Results—During hoof-contact, the left (nonlame) forelimb hoof had greater heel-down orientation than did the right (lame) forelimb hoof, and during break-over, the nonlame hoof went through a larger range of motion than did the lame hoof. Maximum cranial acceleration during break-over for the lame hoof was greater, compared with that at baseline or for the nonlame hoof. Following perineural anesthesia, the sagittal plane orientation of the hoof during hoof-contact did not vary between the lame and nonlame limbs; however, interlimb differences in maximum cranial acceleration and angular range of motion during break-over remained.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that hoof kinematics may be useful for detection of unilateral, weight-bearing forelimb lameness in horses that are trotting.
Objective—To determine kinematic changes to the hoof of horses at a walk after induction of unilateral, weight-bearing forelimb lameness and to determine whether hoof kinematics return to prelameness (baseline) values after perineural anesthesia.
Animals—6 clinically normal Quarter Horses.
Procedures—For each horse, a sole-pressure model was used to induce 3 grades of lameness in the right forelimb, after which perineural anesthesia was administered to eliminate lameness. Optical kinematics were obtained for both forelimbs with the horse walking before (baseline) and after induction of each grade of lameness and after perineural anesthesia. Linear acceleration profiles were used to identify hoof events, and each stride was divided into hoof-contact, break-over, initial-swing, terminal-swing, and total-swing segments. Kinematic variables were compared within and between limbs for each segment by use of mixed repeated-measures ANOVA.
Results—During the hoof-contact and terminal-swing segments, the hoof of the left (nonlame) forelimb had greater sagittal-plane orientation than did the hoof of the right (lame) forelimb. For the lame limb following lameness induction, the break-over duration and maximum cranial acceleration were increased from baseline. After perineural anesthesia, break-over duration for the lame limb returned to a value similar to that at baseline, and orientation of the hoof during the terminal-swing segment did not differ between the lame and nonlame limbs.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Subclinical unilateral forelimb lameness resulted in significant alterations to hoof kinematics in horses that are walking, and the use of hoof kinematics may be beneficial for the detection of subclinical lameness in horses.
Objective—To validate an equine inertial measurement unit (IMU) system rigidly attached to a hoof against a 3-D optical kinematics system in horses during walking and trotting.
Animals—5 clinically normal horses.
Procedures—5 swing phases of the hooves of the right forelimb and hind limb were collected via both 3-D optical and IMU systems from 5 horses during walking and trotting. Linear and angular positions, velocities, and accelerations were compared between the 2 systems.
Results—Of the 55 variables compared between the 2 systems, 25 had high correlations (r > 0.8) and 18 had moderate correlations (r > 0.5). Root mean squared errors were lowest in the sagittal plane and orientation (1.1 to 4.4 cm over a range of 1.5 to 1.9 m in the cranial-caudal direction and 2.5° to 3.5° over a range of 88° to 110° rotating around the medial-lateral axis). There were more differences between the 2 systems during small changes in motion, such as in the medial-lateral and proximal-distal directions and in the angular measures around the cranial-caudal and proximal-distal axes.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The equine IMU system may be appropriate for rigid attachment to a hoof of a horse and use in examination of linear and angular motion in the sagittal plane of the hoof during the swing phase while walking and trotting. Although promising in many respects, the IMU system cannot currently be considered clinically useful for lameness evaluation because of limitations in accuracy, attachment method, and lack of stance phase evaluation.
Objective—To measure passive spinal movements induced during dorsoventral mobilization and evaluate effects of induced pain and spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) on passive vertebral mobility in standing horses.
Animals—10 healthy adult horses.
Procedures—Baseline vertical displacements, applied force, stiffness, and frequency of the oscillations were measured during dorsoventral spinal mobilization at 5 thoracolumbar intervertebral sites. As a model for back pain, fixation pins were temporarily implanted into the dorsal spinous processes of adjacent vertebrae at 2 of the intervertebral sites. Vertebral variables were recorded again after pin placement and treadmill locomotion. In a random-ized crossover study, horses were allocated to control and treatment interventions, separated by a 7-day washout period.The SMT consisted of high-velocity, low-amplitude thrusts applied to the 3 non–pin-placement sites. Control horses received no treatment.
Results—The amplitudes of vertical displacement increased from cranial to caudal in the thoracolumbar portion of the vertebral column. Pin implantation caused no immediate changes at adjacent intervertebral sites, but treadmill exercise caused reductions in most variables. The SMT induced a 15% increase in displacement and a 20% increase in applied force, compared with control measurements.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The passive vertical mobility of the trunk varied from cranial to caudal. At most sites, SMT increased the amplitudes of dorsoventral displacement and applied force, indicative of increased vertebral flexibility and increased tolerance to pressure in the thoracolumbar portion of the vertebral column.
Objective—To determine intralimb orientation changes with an inertial measurement unit (IMU) in hooves of horses at a walk and trot after induction of weight-bearing single forelimb lameness and to determine whether hoof orientations are similar to baseline values following perineural anesthesia.
Animals—6 clinically normal horses.
Procedures—3-D hoof orientations were determined with an IMU mounted on the right forelimb hoof during baseline conditions, during 3 grades of lameness (induced by application of pressure to the sole), and after perineural anesthesia. Linear acceleration profiles were used to segment the stride into hoof breakover, stance, initial swing, terminal swing, and total swing phases. Intralimb data comparisons were made for each stride segment. A repeated-measures mixed-model ANOVA was used for data analysis.
Results—Lameness resulted in significant changes in hoof orientation in all planes of rotation. A significant increase in external rotation and abduction and a significant decrease in sagittal plane rotation of the hoof were detected at hoof breakover during lameness conditions. For sagittal plane orientation data, the SDs determined following perineural anesthesia were higher than the SDs for baseline and lameness conditions.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study indicated the IMU could be used to detect 3-D hoof orientation changes following induction of mild lameness at a walk and trot. An increase in data variability for a sagittal orientation may be useful for assessment of local anesthesia for hooves. The IMU should be further evaluated for use in clinical evaluation of forelimb lameness in horses.
Objective—To assess the net mechanical load on the distal end of the third metacarpal bone in horses during walking and trotting.
Animals—3 Quarter Horses and 1 Thoroughbred.
Procedures—Surface strains measured on the left third metacarpal bone of the Thorough-bred were used with a subject-specific model to calculate loading (axial compression, bending, and torsion) of the structure during walking and trotting. Forelimb kinematics and ground reaction forces measured in the 3 Quarter Horses were used with a musculoskeletal model of the distal portion of the forelimb to determine loading of the distal end of the third metacarpal bone.
Results—Both methods yielded consistent data regarding mechanical loading of the distal end of the third metacarpal bone. During walking and trotting, the distal end of the third metacarpal bone was loaded primarily in axial compression as a result of the sum of forces exerted on the metacarpal condyles by the proximal phalanx and proximal sesamoid bones.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of strain gauge and kinematic analyses indicated that the major structures of the distal portion of the forelimb in horses acted to load the distal end of the third metacarpal bone in axial compression throughout the stance phase of the stride.
OBJECTIVE To evaluate the effects of exercise in an underwater treadmill (UWT) on forelimb biomechanics and articular histologic outcomes in horses with experimentally induced osteoarthritis of the middle carpal joint.
ANIMALS 16 horses.
PROCEDURES An osteochondral fragment was induced arthroscopically (day 0) in 1 middle carpal joint of each horse. Beginning on day 15, horses were assigned to exercise in a UWT or in the UWT without water (simulating controlled hand walking) at the same speed, frequency, and duration. Thoracic and pelvic limb ground reaction forces, thoracic limb kinematics, and electromyographic results for select thoracic limb muscles acting on the carpi were collected on days -7 (baseline), 14, 42, and 70. Weekly evaluations included clinical assessments of lameness, response to carpal joint flexion, and goniometric measurements of thoracic limb articulations. At study conclusion, articular cartilage and synovial membrane from the middle carpal joints was histologically examined.
RESULTS Exercise in a UWT significantly reduced synovial membrane inflammation and resulted in significant clinical improvements with regard to symmetric thoracic limb loading, uniform activation patterns of select thoracic limb muscles, and return to baseline values for carpal joint flexion, compared with results for horses with simulated hand walking.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Overall improvements in thoracic limb function, joint range of motion, and synovial membrane integrity indicated that exercise in a UWT was a potentially viable therapeutic option for the management of carpal joint osteoarthritis in horses.