Subjective vs. Objective Lameness Evaluation

by | 03.22.2016 | 2:33pm

Lameness is the leading cause for horses to be presented to veterinarians for treatment and each year more than half a billion dollars are spent on the diagnosis and treatment of equine lameness. While roughly 70 percent of lameness consultations with a veterinarian result in a full recovery for the animal, 30 percent come in the form of chronic, career-ending or life-threatening lameness.

Many veterinarians implement a subjective classification techniques when diagnosing lameness, evaluating the horse and assigning it a grade of one through five, with one being mildly lame and five being significantly lame. While the industry norm is for a clinician to visually evaluate a horse's movements and the degree to which and where it is impaired, opinions can vary widely from one clinician to the next on the same horse.

Objective methods, on the other hand, utilize bio-mechanics and technology to quantify lameness. Tools used may include force plates, video capture and other line-of-sight techniques, body-mounted inertial sensor system and more.

Learn more about the different types of lameness evaluation techniques and benefits of each at

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