The purpose of this study was to verify the sensitivity of 2 gait analysis methods in detecting subtle lameness and to compare the results to the traditional orthopaedic evaluation. Twenty-two horses were evaluated (1) subjectively by 3 different experienced clinicians and (2) objectively with synchronised ground reaction force and accelerometric gait measurements on a treadmill. The horses were assigned for each of the 3 methods independently to one of 3 groups (GR): sound, lameness front limb, lameness hindlimb. Additionally, for each horse, the affected limb (AL) and degree of lameness (DL) were defined. The accordance between the 3 assessment methods for the categorical variables was tested with a Spearman correlation analysis. The relationship between vertical ground reaction forces and dorsoventral as well as mediolateral accelerations were studied using a Pearson correlation matrix. Significant correlation was found between the clinical GR and GR based on force (r = 0.51, P < 0.05) and acceleration data (r = 0.47, P < 0.05), respectively, and between AL based on clinical and ground reaction force (r = 0.65, P < 0.05) assessment. No significant correlation was found, neither for GR between the 2 measuring methods, nor for DL between the 3 assessment methods. The Pearson correlation matrix revealed significant correlations between peak vertical forces and dorsoventral acceleration in the hindlimbs. We conclude that the measurement of kinetic parameters represents a helpful complementary tool in the assessment of subtle gait alterations. However, this information needs to be interpreted carefully and always related to the clinical observation.
Weishaupt, M. A., Wiestner, T., Hogg, H. P., Jordan, P., Auer, J. A., & Barrey, E. (2001). Assessment of gait irregularities in the horse: eye vs. gait analysis. Equine Veterinary Journal, 33, 135–140. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.31.1.343