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The development of locomotor kinetics in the foal and the effect of osteochondrosis

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Reason for performing study: Foals stand and walk immediately after birth, but insight into the subsequent longitudinal development of their gait kinetics in the early juvenile phase and the possible influence of osteochondrosis thereon is lacking. Objectives: To quantify gait kinetics in foals during the first half year of life, taking into account their osteochondrosis status. Study design: Prospective, cohort study performed at a single stud farm. Methods: Pressure plate measurements at walk and trot from 11 Dutch Warmblood foals during the first 24 weeks of life were used to determine body mass normalised peak vertical force, normalised vertical impulse and stance duration. Coefficients of variation of peak vertical force and stance duration were used as measures for gait maturity. Radiographs of tarsocrural and femoropatellar joints were taken at age 4-6 weeks and after 6 months to check for osteochondrosis. A linear mixed model was used to determine the effects of age, limb, presence of osteochondrosis and speed on gait parameters. Results: Mean walking and trotting velocity increased over time as did stance duration and normalised vertical impulse, normalised peak vertical force values however remained relatively constant. During the first weeks of their life only the coefficient of variation of stance duration decreased significantly, while the coefficient of variation of peak vertical force did not. None of the foals was visibly lame, but the presence of osteochondrosis resulted in a temporarily but significantly reduced normalised peak vertical force. Main limitations: This study is a relatively small sample size of one breed from a single stud farm. A stand-alone pressure plate was used and body mass was estimated rather than measured. Conclusions: Despite being precocious, foals need time to mature their gait. During growth, velocity at walk and trot increases, but normalised peak vertical force remains relatively constant. Although not visibly lame, a temporary reduction in normalised peak vertical force was detected in osteochondrosis positive foals using a pressure plate.
Tijdschrift: Equine Veterinary Journal
ISSN: 0425-1644
Issue: 4
Volume: 49
Pagina's: 467 - 474
Jaar van publicatie:2017
Trefwoorden:Diergeneeskundige wetenschappen