Technology has crept into our lives like vines overtaking a picket fence. We interact with it in all aspects of life- from washing our hands in the bathroom (with this finicky faucets and soap dispensers) to connecting us to the world through our smart phones. The horse world has not been forgotten in this age of technology either!
In the past decade we have seen advents such as digital high-resolution radiography, Ultrasound, MRI and CT Scan assist vets in diagnosing lameness. We also have uncovered widespread ailments like gastric ulcers through improvements in endoscopy. Now, even the most rudimentary part of the equine lameness exam can be assisted by technology! That’s right, the Lameness Locator by Vetel Diagnostics can assist the veterinarian in finding lameness when the horse walks and trots.
The Lameness Locator is a system that enables a veterinarian to objectively identify lameness in horses. The system provides an analysis that indicates whether the horse is lame, an amplitude of the severity of the lameness, the limb or limbs involved, and the part of the motion cycle at which peak pain is occurring (impact, mid-stance, or push off). It achieves this through the attachment of small, wireless, body-mounted inertial sensors to the horse’s body that transmit data at a rate of 200 times per second to a hand-held tablet PC. In the end, the veterinarian can look at a graph which points to the lame leg!
These types of diagnostic instruments cannot replace a lameness exam and should only be used by a veterinarian since results simply “point to the lame leg” but do not diagnose which structure or structures in the leg are the source of the lameness. This technology can be particularly useful in subtle cases of lameness, or in which lameness is present in multiple limbs.
If you're vet has used the lameness locator on your horse, I would love to hear about your experience with it.