Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gait Analysis
by: Les Sellnow

There has been a long journey over a relatively short span of time in the world of equine gait analysis. The first studies utilized high-speed cameras and a treadmill and took place at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences some 35 years ago, with Sune Persson, DVM, PhD, as one of the guiding lights. Today, that rudimentary science has evolved at an ever-increasing rate to the point where miniature computerized sensors are capable of recording and analyzing equine movement.

The various applications of this technology also have grown. One of the prime functions continues to be evaluation of lameness, but it also has been highly important in the field of research; recording, for example, just how the hock joint functions in the working horse.

A leading researcher during this technology growth spurt has been Hilary Clayton, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS, Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University.

Another researcher who has helped take the technology to a new level is Kevin Keegan, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, associate professor of veterinary medicine and surgery at the University of Missouri. He has pioneered development of a wireless method for recording and analyzing equine movement with the use of inertial sensors.

We'll hear from both of them as they describe progress in the gait analysis field and report on the ways veterinary medicine is using the latest technological advances. Before we do that, however, it would be well to allow Clayton to take us on a little journey through time to chronicle just how these many advances have come about.


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