EQUUS - - Eq Medical Front -

Although se­da­tion can help make a lame­ness exam go more smoothly, a new study from Ger­many sug­gests that it might af­fect how the horse moves, mak­ing di­ag­no­sis more dif­fi­cult.

Xy­lazine or other mild seda­tives are some­times ad­min­is­tered to horses who might oth­er­wise make lame­ness ex­am­i­na­tions chal­leng­ing, ex­plains Matthias Ret­tig, DVM, of the Free Univer­sity of Ber­lin. “Some horses are un­co­op­er­a­tive dur­ing a lame­ness exam and kick, which can be dif­fi­cult and dan­ger­ous,” he says. But se­da­tion can make a horse slug­gish, so Ret­tig and his fel­low re­searchers set out to de­ter­mine whether it af­fects the biome­chan­i­cal pa­ram­e­ters that vet­eri­nar­i­ans use to di­ag­nose and pin­point lame­ness.

For the study, re­searchers at­tached in­er­tial sen­sors to 44 horses who were ran­domly split into two groups. Base­line lame­ness ex­am­i­na­tions were per­formed on all of the horses, then half were given a low dose of the xy­lazine. The re­main­ing


Vet­eri­nary Jour­nal,

The data re­vealed that se­da­tion had no sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on pelvic move­ment in horses with hind-limb lame­ness. Nor, ini­tially, did it in­flu­ence the move­ment of horses with fore­limb lame­ness. How­ever, in a few of those horses, head move­ment de­creased 60 min­utes af­ter se­da­tion.

The rea­son for the de­layed ef­fect in a short-act­ing seda­tive is un­clear, says Ret­tig, but he of­fers two the­o­ries: “One rea­son could be that it calms the horses down and they get more used to the trot­ting-up-and-down pro­ce­dure dur­ing the exam, which re­sults in a re­duced head move­ment,” he says. “Also, the anal­gesic ef­fect of

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