THE LAMENESS LOCATOR
“Has your horse got what you perceive as a lameness issue resulting in poor performance, training difficulties or behavior changes? This piece of equipment in combination with a detailed lameness examination can help you understand what is happening with your horse. Subtle changes in a horse’s gait can be seen before the issue becomes severe. No longer will you be told to work your horse more to make it sorer so that a lameness that you can feel can be seen.”
The lameness locator is an invaluable tool that we have added to our repertoire to help diagnose and manage ongoing lameness issues.
WHY USE IT?
We often see in older competition horses that they may have multiple limb lameness issues. There can be a mild hind limb lameness in combination with a low-grade forelimb lameness. These horses can be challenging to not only diagnose but also to assess on an ongoing basis. In combination with the lameness locator we can use the machine to help us break down the lameness in to a forelimb and a hindlimb component and also can help is diagnosing the primary leg lameness. It can be easy to see a forelimb lameness, but the hind limb lameness can be subtle to see. Did you know that often a low to moderate hindlimb lameness can cause a forelimb lameness? This is often the case and using the machine can help us show you the issues in a simple way with data produced on each limb.
Scintigraphy is not a very sensitive tool in the adult performance horse due to the presence of soft tissue injuries that cannot be seen using this modality. Studies have shown that the usefulness of this equipment in an older performance horse can be questionable. Once it has been done there is then the need to perform nerve blocks to isolate primary and secondary problems. With the lameness locator we can use the equipment to isolate lameness primarily and then head to diagnostics saving clients several thousand dollars in costs.
OBJECTIVE VERSUS SUBJECTIVE DATA?
To understand why we would add this piece of equipment to our practice we need to understand the difference between objective and subjective data.
WHAT IS IT?
SO WHAT DOES IT TELL US?
The movement of the head is very dependent on the stride with the ‘head bob’ produced as the lame leg hits the ground the head will go upwards. However, the lameness locator can break this down even further in to the three types of lameness within the one stride:
- Impact lameness as the lame limb hits the ground
- Midstance lameness as the load is increased on the lame leg
- Push off lameness as the lame leg pushes off
Each stride is assessed and the output is a graph similar to below
The accuracy of the machine allows a very thorough assessment of the lameness to be made.
Traditionally hind limb lameness is harder to assess some people using the movement of the point of the hip being their reference point. With the Lameness Locator the vertical movement of the pelvis is measured for each stride. The output for the hind leg is less extensive and is broken down in to two parts:
- Impact lameness
- Push off lameness
The assessment of these two components in the hind limb allow for a very accurate assessment of the lameness to be made.