Columbia, Mo.- Hollywood sank the Titanic on the big screen with the same technology that may transform treatment of equine lameness, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia (UM) report.
Veterinarians may be able to objectively measure lameness in horses by applying digital technology scientifically through a process called kinematic motion analysis.
The analysis has been applied for about the last 25 years in capacities such as sports medicine and rehabilitation.
UM researchers Dr. David A. Wilson and Dr. Kevin Keegan, in the College of Veterinary Medicine, are applying this same analysis technology, which bears little resemblance to the more familiar force-plate analysis, to horses.
"In the past, we've relied on intuition and experience to do lameness evaluation, and the problem with that method is often different experts will pinpoint a different limb as the source of trouble," says Wilson, associate professor of equine veterinary medicine and surgery and co-director of the college's teaching hospital.
"Prior research has been very subjective, based on human vision, experience and judgment," Wilson says. "This new method is based on objective scientific measurements."
In the kinematic motion analysis process, the entire horse's motion is studied, explains Keegan, associate professor of equine veterinary medicine and surgery. "What it involves is analyzing quantitatively the movement of the animal."
The kinematic procedure can be used to measure stride, range and variability in the length of the stride.
"The most important thing we have found out is that this technology is very accurate and precise at measuring lameness," says Keegan. "That didn't used to be the case. The previous technology had a lot of errors. The resolution wasn't very good."
Find out more about this up and coming procedure in the June issue of DVM Newsmagazine.