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HESTEFORSK Running in circles – straightening out lameness diagnostics on the lunge

Awarded: NOK 0.55 mill.

Horses are often assessed on the lunge during lameness examinations and it is a common method for owners to perform a quick lameness check at home. The circular movement can increase lameness visibility but also adds complexity that predisposes for misinterpretation. In this project, we aim to provide evidence-based guidelines to interpret objective gait analysis data collected on the lunge. Specifically, to describe common compensatory patterns and investigate if withers movement is useful to differentiate between a compensatory head nod and a true forelimb lameness. Further, to explore if lameness severity differs with the affected limb on the inside or outside of the circle for different diagnoses, a possible adjunct method for localizing pain. Effectively sharing this knowledge with horse owners and trainers will improve early lameness detection. Transferring the knowledge from this project to equine veterinarians will increase animal welfare by improved lameness diagnostics.

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