Indistinct Gait Deficits: Musculoskeletal and Neurologic Causes

Strategies to identify specific problems in a horse with indistinct or unusual gait deficits, particularly if
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Strategies to identify specific problems of a horse with indistinct or unusual gait deficits, particularly if it’s unclear whether they’re related to the musculoskeletal system, neurologic deficits, or behavior, were discussed at the 2009 Association of Equine Practitioner’s convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas, Nev. Bradford Bentz, VMD, discussed a systematic diagnostic approach that relies on an algorithm involving information on the horse’s history, breed, age, gender, and athletic use, along with rider input about changes in behavior and performance.

The equine practitioner then begins a thorough physical examination that includes palpation of the skeleton and musculature, assessment of flexibility and range-of-motion, palpation and manipulation of the neck, spine, and pelvis, as well as exam of airway and heart function.

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Nancy S. Loving, DVM, owns Loving Equine Clinic in Boulder, Colorado, and has a special interest in managing the care of sport horses. Her book, All Horse Systems Go, is a comprehensive veterinary care and conditioning resource in full color that covers all facets of horse care. She has also authored the books Go the Distance as a resource for endurance horse owners, Conformation and Performance, and First Aid for Horse and Rider in addition to many veterinary articles for both horse owner and professional audiences.

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