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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 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 describe the effect of systemically administered oxytetracycline on the viscoelastic properties of rat tail tendon fascicles (TTfs) to provide a mechanistic rationale for pharmacological treatment of flexural limb deformities in foals.

Sample—TTfs from ten 1-month-old and ten 6-month-old male Sprague-Dawley rats.

Procedures—5 rats in each age group were administered oxytetracycline (50 mg/kg, IP, q 24 h) for 4 days. The remaining 5 rats in each age group served as untreated controls. Five days after initiation of oxytetracycline treatment, TTfs were collected and their viscoelastic properties were evaluated via a stress-relaxation protocol. Maximum modulus and equilibrium modulus were compared via a 2-way ANOVA. Collagen fibril size, density, and orientation in TTfs were compared between treated and control rats.

Results—Viscoelastic properties were significantly decreased in TTfs from 1-month-old oxytetracycline-treated rats, compared with those in TTfs from 1-month-old control rats. Oxytetracycline had no effect on the viscoelastic properties of TTfs from 6-month-old rats. Collagen fibril size, density, and orientation in TTfs from 1-month-old rats did not differ between oxytetracycline-treated and control rats.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results confirmed that systemically administered oxytetracycline decreased the viscoelastic properties of TTfs from 1-month-old rats but not those of TTfs from 6-month-old rats. The decrease in viscoelastic properties associated with oxytetracycline treatment does not appear to be caused by altered collagen fibril diameter or organization. The age-dependent effect of oxytetracycline on the viscoelastic properties of tendons may be related to its effect on the maturation of the extracellular matrix of developing tendons.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effects of oxytetracycline on matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) mRNA expression and collagen gel contraction by equine myofibroblasts in an effort to explain the mechanistic basis for the pharmacologic treatment of flexural deformities in foals.

Sample Population—Cultured myofibroblasts from the accessory ligament (distal check ligament) of 6 foals.

Procedure—Collagen gel scaffolds seeded with equine myofibroblasts were cultured in individual culture dishes containing complete media (Dulbecco's modified Eagle medium with 10% fetal bovine serum) and oxytetracycline (0, 12.5, 25, or 75 µg/mL) for 48 hours. After 24 hours, the gels were released from the bottom of the culture plate and allowed to contract. Photographs were taken at 0, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 24 hours after release to assess the degree of collagen gel contraction. Additional gels were harvested at 2 hours after release for RNA isolation and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assessment of the degree of MMP-1 mRNA expression.

Results—Oxytetracycline induced a dose-dependent inhibition of collagen gel contraction by equine myofibroblasts. Oxytetracycline also induced a dose-dependent decrease in MMP-1 mRNA expression by equine myofibroblasts.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study indicate that oxytetracycline inhibits tractional structuring of collagen fibrils by equine myofibroblasts through an MMP-1 mediated mechanism. In young foals, oxytetracycline administration may make the developing ligaments and tendons more susceptible to elongation during normal weight-bearing. Inhibition of normal collagen organization may provide the mechanistic explanation for the results seen following the pharmacologic treatment of flexural deformities in foals by oxytetracycline administration. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:491–496)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research