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Researchers in Vienna examined the utility of using heart rate and heart rate variability to estimate the degree of pain felt by 12 horses with clinically obvious laminitis compared to five unaffected control horses. In addition, heart rates were compared to the Obel pain scale, historically used to describe the severity of laminitis pain where “1” is used for horses that shift their weight from one foot to another while standing or are lame only at a trot and “4” is used for horses that are very reluctant or refuse to move.
When admitted to the hospital the average heart rate of horses with laminitis (50 ±10 BPM) was significantly higher compared with that of controls (40 ± 2 BPM). Although these data suggest more variability in the heart rate of affected horses, the heart rate variability calculated over time did not add much to the assessment of pain in the horses. Heart rate also correlated well with the Obel pain scale. The authors concluded the additional effort required to obtain heart rate variability scores over time might not be warranted, but it may be helpful to remember that higher resting heart rates may be associated with the pain of laminitis.
— Halmer C et al. Pferdeheilkunde 2014;30:140-147
Using a radiographic survey of 7,396 Hanoverian warmbloods, researchers in Germany determined the genetic correlations between arthritis, osteochondrosis (OCD) and osteochondral fragmentation of the lower limbs, hocks and stifles, as well as…