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Papers of the Week

2019 Apr

J Equine Vet Sci


Using Movement Sensors to Assess Lying Time in Horses With and Without Angular Limb Deformities.


Clothier J, Small A, Hinch G, Barwick J, Brown WY
J Equine Vet Sci. 2019 Apr; 75:55-59.
PMID: 31002093.


Chronic musculoskeletal pathologies are common in horses, however, identifying related effects can be challenging. This study tested the hypothesis that movement sensors and analgesics could be used in combination to confirm the presence of restrictive pathologies by assessing lying time. Four horses presenting a range of angular limb deformities (ALDs) and four nonaffected controls were used. The study comprised two trials at separate paddock locations. Trial A consisted of a 3-day baseline phase and 2 × 3-day treatment phases, during which two analgesics were administered to two ALD horses and two controls in a standard crossover design. Trial B replicated trial A, except that as no difference between analgesics had been evident in trial A, only one analgesic was tested. Movement sensors were used to measure the horses' lying time and lying bouts. In trial A, ALD horses' basal mean lying time was significantly less than controls (means ± SD for ALD horses 213 ± 1.4 minutes and for controls 408 ± 46.7 minutes, P = .007); with analgesic administration, the difference became nonsignificant. In trial B, ALD horses' basal mean lying time was also significantly less than controls (ALD horses 179 ± 110.3 minutes; controls 422.5 ± 40.3 minutes, P < .001), again becoming nonsignificant with analgesic administration. Given the increases in ALD horses' lying time with analgesic administration, it is possible that their shorter basal lying time is associated with musculoskeletal discomfort. Despite the small sample size, movement sensors effectively measured this behavior change, indicating that they could be a useful tool to indirectly assess the impact of chronic musculoskeletal pathologies in horses.