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Researchers at Michigan State University characterized the gait changes caused by spavin type lameness in the hock. The effects on locomotion were studied at the trot using sophisticated gait analysis techniques before and after temporary inflammation in the lower hock joints was created by injecting endotoxin into the joints.
There were no significant changes in stride, stance or swing durations or stride length in the lame limb. Peak vertical ground reaction force and range of motion in the hock decreased significantly, as did peak power and work done across the joints. Few compensatory changes were detected in other joints or limbs, however there was a decrease in the vertical impulse in the diagonal forelimb.
The authors concluded horses are able to compensate for mild unilateral hind limb lameness by reducing the airborne phase of the stride and unloading the lame and diagonal limbs without concurrent increased loading of the other limbs. These adaptations were further described as producing a less bouncy gait.
—Khumsap S, Lanovaz JL, Rosenstein DS, et al. Effect Of Induced Unilateral Synovitis Of Distal Intertarsal And Tarsometatarsal Joints On Sagittal Plane Kinematics And Kinetics Of Trotting Horses. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 2003;64:1491-1495.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides physiologic and structural information about bone and soft tissue structures unlike other imaging modalities…