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.