Objective—To determine the magnitude and location of skin movement attributable to the cutaneus trunci muscle reflex in response to localized stimulation of the skin of the dorsolateral aspect of the thoracic wall in horses.
Procedures—A grid of 56 reflective markers was applied to the lateral aspect of the body wall of each horse; markers were placed at 10-cm intervals in 7 rows and 8 columns. A motion analysis system with 10 infrared cameras was used to track movements of the markers in response to tactile stimulation of the dorsolateral aspect of the thoracic wall at the levels of T6, T11, and T16. Marker movement data determined after skin stimulation were used to create a skin deformation gradient tensor field, which was analyzed with custom software.
Results—The sites of maximal skin deformation were located close to the stimulation sites; the centers of the twitch responses were located a mean distance of 7.7 to 12.8 cm ventral and between 6.6 cm cranial and 3.1 cm caudal to the stimulation sites.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings of this study may have implications for assessment of nerve conduction velocities of the cutaneus trunci muscle reflex and may enhance understanding of the responses of horses to placement of tack or other equipment on skin over the cutaneus trunci muscles.
Objective—To compare effects of 4 types of stimulation devices attached to the hind feet on hoof flight, joint angles, and net joint powers of trotting horses.
Animals—8 clinically normal horses.
Procedures—Horses were evaluated under 5 conditions in random order: no stimulators, loose straps (10 g), lightweight tactile stimulators (55 g), limb weights (700 g), and limb weights with tactile stimulators (700 g). Reflective markers on the hind limbs were tracked during the swing phase of 6 trotting trials performed at consistent speed to determine peak hoof heights and flexion angles of the hip, stifle, tarsal, and metatarsophalangeal joints. Inverse dynamic analysis was used to calculate net joint energies. Comparisons among stimulators were made.
Results—Peak hoof height was lowest for no stimulators (mean ± SD, 5.42 ± 1.38 cm) and loose straps (6.72 ± 2.19 cm), intermediate for tactile stimulators (14.13 ± 7.33 cm) and limb weights (16.86 ± 15.93 cm), and highest for limb weights plus tactile stimulators (24.35 ± 13.06 cm). Compared with no stimulators, net tarsal energy generation increased for tactile stimulators, limb weights, and limb weights plus tactile stimulators, but only the weighted conditions increased net energy generation across the hip joint.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The type and weight of foot stimulators affected the magnitude of the kinematic and kinetic responses and the joints affected. These findings suggest that different types of foot stimulators are appropriate for rehabilitation of specific hind limb gait deficits, such as toe dragging and a short stride.