Regenerative Medicine – Listening for the Hurt
Barrett: The unfortunate thing with animals as patients is that they can’t tell you when it hurts. And so, we’ve developed a number of ways to figure that out.
One way to tell whether a horse is lame is to listen to its gait. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Ambience: Sound of horse walking/trotting on hard surface
Barrett: So, part of what we do to figure out whether a horse has a lameness that’s affecting their performance is we jog them at a slow speed so that we can hear and see very clearly what each of their forelegs is doing.
Dr. Jennifer Barrett is an equine veterinarian.
Barrett: The reason we do it at the jog is because it’s a very symmetrical gait. One front leg moves together and lands together with the opposite hind leg and vice versa. And so, it’s a two-beat gait, and you can hear landing harder, and you can hear a longer delay between hoof-steps when there’s a lameness.
Barrett: Typically, if they have a lameness and it doesn’t show up on a straight line. when you circle them, they have to bear more weight on the inside leg. And so, they will often show a lameness better on a circle than on a straight line.
So, she’s landing a little bit harder on her right front than her left front… And, another thing you can hear on this horse is she’s dragging her toe. She drags her hind toes instead of picking her feet up as she goes.
Barrett: So, she is landing harder in this beat – harder, harder, harder, harder, harder. And she is dragging her toes each step, and you’ll hear – shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research. I’m Jim Metzner.