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  • Author or Editor: Hilary M. Clayton x
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Abstract

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.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine the gross morphology of the multifidus, longus colli, and longus thoracis muscles in the cervical and cranial thoracic portions of the equine vertebral column.

Sample—15 horse cadavers.

Procedures—The vertebral column was removed intact from the first cervical vertebra (C1) to the seventh thoracic vertebra (T7). After removing the superficial musculature, detailed anatomic dissections of the multifidus, longus colli, and longus thoracis muscles were performed.

Results—The multifidus cervicis muscle consisted of 5 bundles/level arranged in lateral, medial, and deep layers from C2 caudally into the thoracic portion of the vertebral column. Fibers in each bundle attached cranially to a spinous process then diverged laterally, attaching caudally on the dorsolateral edge of the vertebral lamina and blending into the joint capsule of an articular process articulation after crossing 1 to 4 intervertebral joints. The longus colli muscle had ventral, medial, and deep layers with 5 bundles/level from C1 to C5 that attached cranially to the ventral surface of the vertebral body, diverged laterally and crossed 1 to 4 intervertebral joints, then attached onto a vertebral transverse process as far caudally as C6. The longus thoracis muscle consisted of a single, well-defined muscle belly from C6 to T5-T6, with intermediate muscular attachments onto the ventral aspects of the vertebral bodies, the intervertebral symphyses, and the craniomedial aspects of the costovertebral joint capsules.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that there were multiple, short bundles of the multifidus cervicis, multifidus thoracis, and longus colli muscles; this was consistent with a function of providing sagittal plane intersegmental vertebral column stability.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To identify differences in intersegmental bending angles in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar portions of the vertebral column between the end positions during performance of 3 dynamic mobilization exercises in cervical lateral bending in horses.

Animals—8 nonlame horses.

Procedures—Skin-fixed markers on the head, cervical transverse processes (C1–C6) and spinous processes (T6, T8, T10, T16, L2, L6, S2, and S4) were tracked with a motion analysis system with the horses standing in a neutral position and in 3 lateral bending positions to the left and right sides during chin-to-girth, chin-to-hip, and chin-to-tarsus mobilization exercises. Intersegmental angles for the end positions in the various exercises performed to the left and right sides were compared.

Results—The largest changes in intersegmental angles were at C6, especially for the chin-to-hip and chin-to-tarsus mobilization exercises. These exercises were also associated with greater lateral bending from T6 to S2, compared with the chin-to-girth mobilization or neutral standing position. The angle at C1 revealed considerable bending in the chin-to-girth position but not in the 2 more caudal positions.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The amount of bending in different parts of the cervical vertebral column differed among the dynamic mobilization exercises. As the horse's chin moved further caudally, bending in the caudal cervical and thoracolumbar regions increased, suggesting that the more caudal positions may be particularly effective for activating and strengthening the core musculature that is used to bend and stabilize the horse's back.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the locomotor mechanics of the tölt in Icelandic horses.

Animals—10 adult Icelandic horses with no history of lameness.

Procedures—Force platform data were captured for 27 trials for horses ridden at a tölt in a lateral sequence single-foot gait at a steady speed from 0.89 to 5.98 m/s. Simultaneous kinematic data were obtained by tracking retroflective markers overlying the right fore- and hind limbs. These kinetic and kinematic data were combined to evaluate 3 mechanical approaches, duty factor, Froude number, and center of mass (COM) mechanics, and to evaluate the capacity to recover mechanical energies during tölting via inverse pendulum and spring-mass (bouncing) mechanics.

Results—Tölting horses had in-phase fluctuations of gravitational potential and kinetic energies of their COM and a capacity to recover mechanical energy through elastic recoil of spring elements in their limbs. These characteristics, along with Froude numbers exceeding values expected for the walk-run transition, are indicative of bouncing mechanics and, hence, most strongly ally tölting with running. Only the footfall pattern of a lateral sequence single-foot gait and low vertical excursions of the COM are more commonly associated with walking.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—At the tölt, horses have unique mechanical characteristics that should be understood for veterinary care. Differences in interlimb coordination between tölting and trotting mask the overall similarities in most other aspects of their locomotor dynamics.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To measure the effect of subject velocity on hind limb ground reaction force variables at the walk and to use the data to predict the force variables at different walking velocities in horses.

Animals—5 clinically normal horses.

Procedure—Kinematic and force data were collected simultaneously. Each horse was led over a force plate at a range of walking velocities. Stance duration and force data were recorded for the right hind limb. To avoid the effect of horse size on the outcome variables, the 8 force variables were standardized to body mass and height at the shoulders. Velocity was standardized to height at the shoulders and expressed as velocity in dimensionless units (VDU). Stance duration was also expressed in dimensionless units (SDU). Simple regression analysis was performed, using stance duration and force variables as dependent variables and VDU as the independent variable.

Results—Fifty-six trials were recorded with velocities ranging from 0.24 to 0.45 VDU (0.90 to 1.72 m/s). Simple regression models between measured variables and VDU were significant (R 2 > 0.69) for SDU, first peak of vertical force, dip between the 2 vertical force peaks, vertical impulse, and timing of second peak of vertical force.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Subject velocity affects vertical force components only. In the future, differences between the forces measured in lame horses and the expected forces calculated for the same velocity will be studied to determine whether the equations can be used as diagnostic criteria. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:901–906)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

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.

Animals—8 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.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To develop a method for arthrocentesis of the temporomandibular joint in adult horses.

Animals—7 equine cadaver heads and 6 clinically normal adult horses.

Procedure—Fluoroscopy, contrast radiography, and computed tomography were used on cadaver specimens to locate the temporomandibular joint, identify externally palpable landmarks for joint access, guide needle placement into the joint, and illustrate regional anatomy. The arthrocentesis technique was performed on 6 live healthy adult horses to determine efficacy and safety of this procedure.

Results—Externally palpable structures were identified as landmarks for temporomandibular arthrocentesis, including the lateral border of the condylar process of the mandible, the zygomatic process of the temporal bone, and the lateral pericapsular fat pad. Arthrocentesis was successful in all 6 joints in the live horses, and no complications developed.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The technique identified will improve the ability to examine and treat the temporomandibular joint in horses. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:729–735).

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To assess the reliability of the center-ofpressure (COP) values obtained from a force platform for analysis of postural sway in horses.

Animals—Six 2-year-old horses that were free from lameness and neurologic disease.

Procedure—Horses stood stationary with all 4 hooves on a force platform; COP data were collected at 1,000 Hz and 3-dimensional kinematics collected at 60 Hz for 10 seconds. Five trials were recorded at each of 3 time periods (15-minute intervals) or at 1 time period on 3 separate days. Mean values for each set of 5 trials and actual, normalized, and relative COP variables were calculated. The reliability was quantified by use of agreement boundary.

Results—The COP results within and across days were similar and provided small agreement boundary limits (eg, across days, in order of least relative reliability: area, ± 62 mm2; mediolateral range, ± 8 mm; radius, ± 2 mm; craniocaudal range, ± 4 mm; and velocity, ± 3 mm/s). Head height possessed the greatest relative intraday reliability (12%) but a high agreement boundary limit (± 0.15 m).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The use of a force platform to analyze postural sway in a group of young healthy horses was found to produce reliable results and may provide a simple and sensitive measure for assessing balance deficiencies in horses. Agreement boundaries provide 95% confidence intervals for use as limits of error and variability in measurements that, if exceeded, may signify meaningful effects. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:1354–1359)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To develop a method of measuring 3-dimensional kinematics of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in horses chewing sweet feed.

Animals—4 mature horses that had good dental health.

Procedure—Markers attached to the skin over the skull and mandible were tracked by an optical tracking system. Movements of the mandible relative to the skull were described in terms of 3 rotations and 3 translations. A virtual marker was created on the midline between the rami of the mandibles at the level of the rostral end of the facial crest to facilitate observation of mandibular movements.

Results—During the opening stroke, the virtual midline mandibular marker moved ventrally, laterally toward the chewing side, and slightly caudally. During the closing stroke, the marker moved dorsally, medially, and slightly rostrally. During the power stroke, the mandible slid medially and dorsally as the mandibular cheek teeth moved across the occlusal surface of the maxillary cheek teeth. The 4 horses had similar chewing patterns, but the amplitudes varied among horses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The TMJ allows considerable mobility of the mandible relative to the skull during chewing. The method presented in this report can be used to compare the range of motion of the TMJ among horses with TMJ disease or dental irregularities or within an individual horse before and after dental procedures.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To calculate forces in the flexor tendons and the influence of heel wedges in affected and contralateral (compensating) forelimbs of horses with experimentally induced unilateral tendinitis of the superficial digital flexor (SDF) tendon.

Animals—5 Warmblood horses.

Procedure—Ground reaction force and kinematic data were obtained during a previous study while horses were trotting before and after induction of tendinitis in 1 forelimb SDF and after application of 6° heel wedges to both forehooves. Forces in the SDF, deep digital flexor (DDF), and the suspensory ligament (SL) and strain in the accessory ligament (AL) of the DDF were calculated, using an in vitro model of the distal region of the forelimb.

Results—After induction of tendinitis, trotting speed slowed, and forces decreased in most tendons. In the affected limb, SL force decreased more than SDF and DDF forces. In the compensating limb, SDF force increased, and the other forces decreased. After application of heel wedges, SDF force in both limbs increased but not significantly. Furthermore, there was a decrease in DDF force and AL strain.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The increase in SDF force in the compensating forelimb of horses with unilateral SDF tendinitis may explain the high secondary injury rate in this tendon. The lack of decrease of SDF force in either limb after application of heel wedges suggests that heel wedges are not beneficial in horses with SDF tendinitis. Instead, heel wedges may exacerbate the existing lesion. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:432–437)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research