Technology is always changing and improving in all aspects of life. In recent years we’ve seen advancements that make it easier than ever to see if your horse is afflicted with equine lameness. At The Insurance Emporium, we’re always interested in how new technology can help with looking after your horse. That’s why we spoke to our horse health expert about what new advancements are around to help to diagnose equine lameness.

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A quick history lesson…

Equine lameness is where a horse can’t stand or move normally, usually because of pain or some other restriction of their movement. It’s one of the most common reasons for loss of use in horses. Equine biomechanics has been studied since the late 19th century but affordable and user-friendly technology for assessing this has only become available to horse owners and vets in recent times. These days, wireless inertial sensor-based technology is the leading method of lameness diagnosis because it can analyse the condition objectively and quantify it.

Equinosis Q Lameness Locator

One particularly popular tool among equine vets is the Equinosis Q with Lameness Locator, which was developed at the University of Missouri. It’s a portable device that is designed to work in the field. The Equinosis Q wirelessly transmits data on your horse’s movement via microelectric sensors, which are positioned on the animal’s poll, pelvis and pastern. Using the motion data, the system can identify anything unusual about your four-legged friend’s gait and assess lameness. This technology is accurate to less than a millimetre at 100 metres, so it could be particularly useful for identifying subtle or multi-limb lameness.

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GaitSmart Pegasus

Another system that vets and equine physiotherapists have been leaning towards is the GaitSmart Pegasus, which can be used to provide an instant detailed report on a horse’s movement. This system uses sensors, which are placed inside brushing boots, to check the movement of your four-legged friend’s limbs for any abnormalities. The GaitSmart Pegasus can spot problems before they can be seen by the human eye and are useful to vets and physiotherapists for deciding on the most suitable course of treatment for a lame horse.

The Olympic Dream…

It seems the UK’s world-class equestrian athletes have been turning to technology to deal with equine lameness. Ahead of the London Olympics in 2012, the British Show Jumping Team and the BEF World Class Programme teamed up with GaitSmart to look at their horses’ movement. GaitSmart was used to provide information on how the animals were performing when warming-up compared to when they were in the competition arena. The technology also assessed how the horses’ movement was affected by loss of stamina and the data helped to review approaches to fences and turns.

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Use your smartphone!

These days many people have a smartphone equipped with all sorts of apps that help with various tasks. Did you know that you might even be able to use yours to check your horse’s gait? If your phone has a video function, it could be a useful tool for this purpose. Filming your animal and then going back through the video, frame by frame, could help you spot any asymmetric movement that could be an indicator of equine lameness. So it seems that when it comes to horse health, there’s even an app for that!

Ensuring your horse isn’t afflicted with equine lameness could help to ensure you and your friend enjoy many more years together. With lameness being one of the most common causes for loss of use among horses, catching it early might make a big difference to your horse’s health. If you have any questions or concerns surrounding this issue, it’s well worth asking your vet for advice.

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This blog is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Equinosis or GaitSmart.

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