What is it?
Equinosis Q provides vets with an objective measurement of how the horse is moving, not only with obvious lameness but also with more subtle changes. It does this through movement sensors attached to the horse at three points - the poll, the right pastern and the pelvis. Data provided from the sensors is then used to produce diagrams providing an objective assessment of gait asymmetry.
How does it work?
Every time the horse takes a stride, the three sensors detect the movement and send the data via bluetooth to a tablet computer. The computer then displays the data in various ways to enable us to make an assessment of the horse’s mobility, with a higher temporal resolution than the human eye is capable of. The data is produced within a matter of seconds, so we can quickly analyse the results and move on to the next part of the lameness exam.
What does it measure?
The sensors are able to detect asymmetry in vertical head and pelvic positions, which is used in conjunction with the movement of the right forelimb. Together these sensors are able to detect which limb or limbs are exhibiting lameness, the amplitude of the lameness and when in the stride the horse is most affected (impact, mid-stance or push-off). This is an invaluable aid in localising subtle lameness, or distinguishing primary lameness from compensatory asymmetry.
What is it used for?
Equinosis Q can be used for every lameness case, not just the difficult ones! The Equinosis can pick up very subtle movements that we can easily miss with the naked eye, so even if we are confident about which leg the horse is lame on, we may be missing a less obvious lameness in another limb.
During the lameness work-up, the Equinosis system can be particularly useful for measuring a response to nerve blocks or flexion tests as it gives us a quantifiable measurement of the lameness before and after the change. Thus, “partial improvement to abaxial block” becomes “32% improvement”, for example, giving us far more information to work with!
Equinosis Q can also be used for monitoring the response to treatment, when a period of time has passed since last examining the horse, it may be difficult to remember what the extent of the lameness was, this is where Equinosis can be really helpful. The use of objective data to assess improvement or progression is invaluable in these situations, or those where more than one clinician may be dealing with the patient.
How do we make the most of Equinosis?
Equinosis can be very beneficial in the lameness workup but, as with anything, the better the data that goes in, the more reliable the results are. Therefore, we need to make sure that the horse takes enough strides and that they are reliable strides to make a good assessment of the lameness. While a sequence of 3 or 4 strides may be processed more quickly by the machine, getting a longer sequence of strides will give us a more accurate (if slower - up to 15 seconds) result. An intermittent lameness can be difficult to assess, so the horse may need to be trotted for a longer period of time to ensure that enough data is collected. If a horse isn’t trotting very well then it is likely that more strides will be required so that a reliable result is obtained.
Can it replace a human?
Although the Equinosis can detect lameness that humans can’t see, it is more a tool in our lameness toolkit, rather than a replacement. We still need to be able to identify lameness, analyse the results and query whether it is relevant and reliable or not and of course, we need to examine the horse as part of the lameness work-up.