Objective—To assess biometric tools for gait analysis in healthy calves by use of pressure mat sensors, a handheld algometer, and serial circumferential measurements of selected joints.
Animals—20 six- to eight-week-old healthy male Holstein calves.
Procedures—Calves were evaluated over a 4-day period. Gait analysis was performed by training calves to walk over a pressure-sensitive mat, which recorded quantitative measurements. An algometer was applied perpendicular to each joint until an aversion response was observed or a preset limit of 50 N/cm2 was obtained. Circumference measurements of the carpal and tarsal joints were obtained by the application of a flexible measuring tape to defined areas of each limb. Variability between joint circumference measurements and pressure mat variables were analyzed with a standard least squares means model. Algometer measurements were dichotomized, and logistic regression was used to assess the probability that a calf reacted to algometer-applied pressure.
Results—1 calf was removed from the study because of lameness. Mean carpal and tarsal joint circumference measurements were reliable and consistent among calves. Algometry results suggested that healthy calves were more sensitive to pressure applied to the elbow and stifle joints, compared with pressure applied to the carpal, tarsal, and metacarpophalangeal or metatarsophalangeal joints. Pressure mat variables of stance time and stride velocity varied greatly among calves, whereas impulse and maximum forces varied little.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings can serve as reference points for other studies and be used for comparison with results for calves with lameness or altered gaits.