Objective lameness evaluation with the Equinosis Lameness Locator is both incorporated into our standard Advanced Lameness Exams and offered as a separate referral service. If you have a case that you think would benefit from the information that the wireless inertial sensor-based system provides, it is an option to refer the horse specifically for evaluation with the sensors. You would receive the objective report and interpretation, enabling you to proceed with the workup and to perform any diagnostics or imaging that is indicated. Alternatively, patients can be referred for a complete lameness evaluation including diagnostic nerve and/or joint blocks and imaging and then returned to your care for follow up treatment.
Wireless inertial sensor-based lameness evaluation is invaluable for many subtle and multiple limb lamenesses. It is beneficial for quantification of improvement seen with nerve blocks and at recheck examinations.
In a study investigating the reliability of subjective evaluation by experienced equine practitioners (Keegan et al., 2010), evaluators agree on whether a limb was lame or not after straight line evaluation in 77% of cases. This improved to 93% agreement if the lameness was AAEP grade >1.5, but worsened to 62% agreement in a lameness of AAEP grade ≤1.5. After a full lameness evaluation, agreement on whether the horse was lame and choosing the worst limb decreased to 52%. The conclusion of this study was that subjective evaluation of lameness is actually not very reliable for horses with mild lameness.
Studies comparing wireless inertial sensor based evaluation to a gold standard of force plate showed that it was sufficiently repeatable and of adequate analytic sensitivity for clinical use (Keegan et al,, 2011, 2012). When compared to subjective evaluation in a study using special shoes to induce lameness (McCracken et al., 2012), the inertial sensors selected the correct limb sooner (after fewer turns of the screw that was inducing the lameness) than the consensus of three subjective evaluators, indicating a greater sensitivity of the sensors. When compared to subjective evaluation in horses with natural lameness (Keegan et al., 2013), all inertial sensor measures were positively and significantly correlated with subjective results. Agreement between the sensors and the subjective results was fair to moderate for forelimb lameness and slight to fair for hindlimb lameness, indicating that the sensors were contributing a significant amount of new information to the workup of these horses.
At Burwash Equine, we have been incorporating the wireless inertial sensors into our lameness examinations for four years, and have found that it is a valuable adjunct to our subjective evaluation. For more information on the Equinosis Lameness Locator, please visit www.equinosis.com.