Research on Cutting Horse Lameness and Poor Performance

A recent JAVMA article looked at lameness and poor performance in cutting horses.
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research on cutting horse lameness

Researchers recommended that veterinarians should be vigilant for problems affecting the stifle joint region.

A recent article looked at lameness and poor performance in cutting horses. The article is titled, "Musculoskeletal problems associated with lameness and poor performance in cutting horses: 200 cases (2007–2015)" and was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

The authors of this research were Tamara M. Swor, DVM; Robin M. Dabareiner, DVM, PhD; Cliff M. Honnas, DVM; Noah D. Cohen, VMD, MPH, PhD; Jerry B. Black, DVM. Swor, Dabareiner and Cohen are with the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Honnas is with Texas Equine Hospital in Bryan, Texas. Black is with the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University.

Following is from the abstract on this research.

Objective 

To describe the chief complaints by owners and the types and prevalences of musculoskeletal problems associated with lameness or poor performance in cutting horses.

Animals

Animals included in this retrospective case study were 200 client-owned cutting horses examined at the Texas A&M University Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2015, because of lameness or poor performance.

Procedures 

Medical records were reviewed, and data were collected regarding signalment, history, findings on physical and lameness examinations, results of diagnostic procedures performed, diagnosis and treatment. Distribution of observed proportions of forelimb and hind limb involvement was compared with a hypothetical distribution of 50% by means of a χ test.

Results

More horses were examined because of a recent decrease in performance (116/200 [58%]) than for lameness (84 [42%]). All horses had at least 1 lame limb, with lameness affecting a total of 281 limbs. Of the 281 lame limbs, 189 (67%) were hind limbs and 92 (33%) were forelimbs. These proportions were substantially different from a hypothetical distribution of 50% hind limbs and 50% forelimbs. The most common performance change was that horses would not reverse direction to follow pre-specified individual cattle, and the most common cause of lameness was pain localized to the stifle joint region (69 [35%]).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Cutting horses sustained more hind limb than forelimb musculoskeletal problems, and although these horses were more likely to be examined for decreased performance than lameness, veterinarians should be vigilant for problems affecting the stifle joint region.

You can access or purchase a full copy of this research here.

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