Equine Lameness Locator

(Chris) Hello and welcome to Horsin’ Around. I’m Dr. Chris Blevins at Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center, today joined by our Equine Surgeon Dr. Elizabeth Santschi. So welcome. (Elizabeth) Thank you Dr. Blevins. (Chris) One of the aspects of new things going on here at the vet school that a lot of people have asked about is a thing called a Lameness Locator. Could you describe a little bit about what the Lameness Locator is and how it works? (Elizabeth) One of the challenges that we have with the detection of of lameness is determining what leg the horse is lame on, particularly in cases of multiple limb lameness. So, Lameness Locator is a computer based system that allows us to make that determination. It does it by putting two accelerometers and a gyroscope on the horse. If you’re familiar with the technology in some video games like the Wii, where the machine knows where your arm is in space, it’s very similar to that sort of arrangement. So, the two accelerometers are placed on the horse’s head and on the horse’s rump and they move up and down. Lame horse are asymmetric in the way in which those accelerometers move and the gyroscope is placed on the distal leg usually the right front, and that tells the machine sort of what phase of the stride the horse is in when the asymmetry is occurring. So, what it does is it gives us an objective measurement of lameness and if you’re doing nerve blocks to sort of ameliorate the lameness, when the lameness has improved, which helps you localize the source of the pain. (Chris) And I know, I think some people they wonder like is this still in research base, or is this actually clinically based, or they’re using them on client owned animals? So, what do you do about that? (Elizabeth) So, this system was developed at the University of Missouri, by a team led by Dr. Kevin Keegan. And it has gone through extensive and rigorous evaluation, both from a research perspective and a clinical perspective. So, they’ve been using this particular system clinically for many years. Probably almost as long as ten years. And I’ve used it myself for a half a dozen years. And recently we’ve reintroduced it to Kansas State, or introduced I should say, to Kansas State so we can bring this technology which is continually improving in its computer algorithms that help us, that help it work and introduced it to the people of Kansas. (Chris) And I think this is a great opportunity for the vet school here at Kansas State to have this extra modality in lamenesses because lamenesses are seen almost on a daily basis in any practice especially even here. What do, I guess if somebody wanted to come and have that aspect or use of, what would they expect with the use of the Lameness Locator if they would bring an animal here at the vet school? (Elizabeth) My experience is the clients love the Lameness Locator, because it gives them a graphical representation of their horse’s particular problem that’s concerned them. So, it can show them not only what leg is lame, but how lame that leg is. And so, it’s quite valuable for them to experience the Lameness Locator. It’s really a fairly, is a system with a minimal footprint on the horse. So there’s two, as I said, there’s three different small boxes, maybe an inch by an inch, by an inch that are placed on the horse and taped on so that they’re rigid. And they’re very useful for the detection of lameness. (Chris) I think these are all just great things and if they ever need to contact you or any other equine surgeons here at the vet school, they can call 785-532-5700. (Elizabeth) And we’ll be happy to help them. (Chris) Well, thank you Dr. Santschi for joining us here today and talking about the Lameness Locator. (Elizabeth) Thank you Dr. Blevins. (Chris) I’m Dr. Chris Blevins at Kansas State Veterinary Health Center with Horsin’ Around and we’ll see you around.

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