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Temporal variability of lameness in horses kept on pasture

This project aims to investigate the temporal variability of objectively detected lameness in horses kept on pasture and not subjected to controlled exercise.

Equine health yard

Lameness is the most common clinical problems in horses. Lameness compromises performance and horse welfare since it is typically associated with pain. Clinical observation suggests that lameness is quiet variable overtime, but well controlled studies investigating the temporal variability of lameness in horses are lacking.

Even in horses not used for any kind of work, it seems likely that they may occasionally hurt themselves while exercising freely and/or fighting each other. These lamenesses unrelated to work likely persist, spontaneously resolve or are eventually changed - aggravated or masked by lameness in another limb - by more recent injury.

Key methodology:

  • A portable inertial sensor-based system (PISBS) will be repeatedly used to non-invasively detect and quantify lameness at the trot in 12 adult horses belonging to the University of Adelaide according to the following protocol:
    • One lameness evaluation every hour for 6 consecutive hours;
    • then one evaluation every 6 h for 36 consecutive hours;
    • then one evaluation every 24 h for 6 consecutive days;
    • then one evaluation once a week for 6 consecutive weeks;
    • then one evaluation once a month for 6 consecutive months (total 30 lameness evaluations per horse).
  • All lameness evaluations will be recorded in digital video and the images will be used for subjective detection and quantification of lameness.
  • Temporal variability of the affected limb(s) and lameness severity will be quantified.
  • Agreement between the 2 approaches for lameness evaluation (PISBS vs. subjective evaluation of videos) will also be quantified.

Marco Lopes


Associate Professor Marco Lopes

Research area: Equine health and performance; equine surgery, intensive care, lameness and gait analysis

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Animal Science

Tagged in Honours projects - Animal science, Honours in Animal Science subtheme - Equine health, Honours projects - Marco Lopes

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