Lameness Exams: Vets Seek Reliable Approach

After identifying a lack of reliability and repeatability in experienced veterinarians’ evaluation of lameness, a group of vets have challenged the industry to search for and develop “a more objective and reliable method of lameness evaluation for us in the field,” and noted that such efforts “should be encouraged and supported.”
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After identifying a lack of reliability and repeatability in experienced veterinarians' evaluation of lameness, a group of vets have challenged the industry to search for and develop "a more objective and reliable method of lameness evaluation for us in the field," and noted that such efforts "should be encouraged and supported."

While other published studies have previously found low agreement between veterinarians for the subjective scoring of lameness using videotapes of horses on a treadmill, no studies had been performed assessing veterinarian's agreement in lameness assessment using the American Association of Equine Practitioners' (AAEP) lameness scale for examining large numbers of live horses over ground.

To fill this void and estimate the reliability of equine practitioners' full lameness evaluations in live horses over ground, Kevin Keegan, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, associate professor of equine surgery in the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery at the University of Missouri, and 15 colleagues analyzed the results of lameness examinations performed by an average of 2.5 clinicians (with approximately 18.7 years of experience) using 131 mature horses.

"Veterinarians graded each limb using the AAEP lameness scale by first watching the horse trot in a straight line only and then after full lameness evaluation," wrote the researchers

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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