Agreement between accelerometric symmetry scores and clinical lameness scores during experimentally induced transient distension of the metacarpophalangeal joint in horses




Reasons for performing study: Equine lameness examination is based on subjective visual scoring of lameness. Instrumented objective methods for lameness examinations may be complicated to perform and the equipment is often stationary. Accelerometry has a potential clinical use; however, the reduction and interpretation of equine accelerometric data are not yet routine and the value of accelerometry in equine lameness examination is unclear.

Objectives: To use accelerometric data to calculate 2 different accelerometric symmetry scores and to evaluate the agreement of these with traditional lameness scores done by experienced equine practitioners.

Methods: Six sound horses were equipped with a 3 axis 10G piezoresistant accelerometer at the lowest point of the back. Horses were trotted and video recorded at 0, 3, 15, 30, 45 and 60 min after injection of saline into one metacarpophalangeal joint. Video recordings were scored in a blind manner according to the AAEP scale by 2 experienced practitioners. Interobserver agreements and 2 symmetry scores S and A, developed on the basis of Fourier transformation of the obtained accelerometric data, were calculated and regression analysis between AAEP scores and symmetry scores was performed.

Results: Interobserver agreements were 70%. There was a statistically significant relationship between AAEP lameness scores and both symmetry scores.

Conclusions: Both symmetry scores showed a significant relationship with the AAEP scores and can be a valuable tool in the detection and quantification of lameness. While the S score was able to detect changes in degree of lameness, the A score was capable of detecting the lame diagonal. However, more research is needed for the development of a combined accelerometric score to take advantage of the strengths of each of the symmetry scores.