Inter-and Intra-installments Reliability of Soft Tissue Palpation Scoring in the Equine Thoracic Epaxial Region

Megan Merrifield-Jones, Gillian Tabor, Jane Williams

Research output: Contribution to Lay press/specialist publicationAbstract


Back pain is a significant factor for horses and is challenging for professionals to diagnosis, with Assessment frequently using subjective tools such as manual palpation. Reliable and Valid objective
Measures are required and use of a pressure algometer (PA) has been investigated as an assessment tool; However, it has limitations, and other more realistic methods may be better suited for the task.
The aim of the study was to it inter-and intra-installments reliability for PA, FlexiForce Sensor (FFS), and manual palpation for equine epaxial soft tissue, measuring mechanical nociception threshold responses.
In group 1, 10 horses underwent three repeated tests with PA and FFS, and once for manual palpation, with three Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT) Chartered Physiotherapists in the right thoracic epaxial region. Group 2 followed the same protocol using one ACPAT Chartered Physiotherapist and 22 horses. The order of palpation was randomly applied for each test and each experimenter.
Manual palpation showed excellent interinstallment reliability with no significant differences between scores (P 1 ⁄ 4.64; intraclass correlaƟon coefficient [ICC] 90.0%). PA (P 1 ⁄ 4.002) and FFS (P 1 ⁄ 4.025) scores significantly differed between experimenters. Intrarater testing showed significant differences (P 1 ⁄ 4.014) with horses increasing sensitvity over repeated PA measures. The FFS showed no significant differences (P 1 ⁄ 4.347; ICC 94.7%) In repeated measures with excellent reliability and consistency. The PA showed a lack of consistency in intrarater reliability conflicting with previous research findings, whereas the FFS showed greater reliability in comparison; However, it proved difficult to use in clinical practice.
Manual palpation by physiotherapists was shown to have excellent interinstallments reliability when using a interactive scoring system.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationDanish Equine Physiotherapists Members Newsletter
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Inter-and Intra-installments Reliability of Soft Tissue Palpation Scoring in the Equine Thoracic Epaxial Region'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this