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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Changes in Head, Withers, and Pelvis Movement Asymmetry in Lame Horses as a Function of Diagnostic Anesthesia Outcome, Surface and Direction

Marunova, Eva; Hoenecke, Karl; Fiske-Jackson, Andrew; Smith, Roger K. W.; Bolt, David M.; Perrier, Melanie; Gerdes, Carolin; Hernlund, Elin; Rhodin, Marie; Pfau, Thilo


Evaluation of diagnostic anesthesia during equine lameness examination requires comparison of com-plex movement patterns and can be influenced by expectation bias. There is limited research about how changes in movement asymmetries after successful analgesia are affected by different exercise condi-tions. Movement asymmetry of head, withers and pelvis was quantified in N = 31 horses undergoing forelimb or hindlimb diagnostic anesthesia. Evaluation on a straight line and a circle was performed with subjective diagnostic anesthesia outcome and quantitative changes recorded. Mixed linear models ( P < .05) analyzed the differences in movement asymmetry before/after diagnostic anesthesia -random fac-tor: horse, fixed factors: surface (soft, hard), direction (straight, inside, outside, inside-outside average), diagnostic anesthesia outcome (negative, partially positive, positive) and two-way interactions. Forelimb diagnostic anesthesia influenced primary movement asymmetry (all head and withers parameters) and compensatory movement asymmetry (two pelvic parameters) either individually ( P <=.009) or in interac-tion with surface ( P <=.03). Hindlimb diagnostic anesthesia influenced primary movement asymmetry (all pelvic parameters) and compensatory movement asymmetry (two head and two withers parameters) ei-ther individually ( P <=.04) or in interaction with surface ( P <=.01;) or direction ( P <=.006). Direction was also significant individually for two pelvic parameters ( P <=.04). Changes in primary movement asymmetries after partially positive or positive outcomes indicated improvement in the blocked limb. Compensatory changes were mostly in agreement with the 'law of sides'. The changes were more pronounced on the hard surface for hindlimb lameness and on the soft surface for forelimb lameness. Withers asymmetry showed distinct patterns for forelimb and hindlimb lameness potentially aiding clinical decision-making.(c) 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license ( )


Gait analysis; Equine lameness; Inertial sensors; Kinematics; Orthopedics; Lunging

Published in

Journal of Equine Veterinary Science
2022, Volume: 118, article number: 104136Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC