Objective Measurement in Equine Physiotherapy

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Objective measurement should be incorporated into all areas of physiotherapy including within the assessment and treatment of horses, as there is a need to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment intervention objectively. Whilst objective measures are available in a research laboratory setting it appears that in clinical practice mostly subjective methods of recording assessment and reassessment data are used. This article reviews the objective measures currently available to equine physiotherapists for use in clinical practice, beyond those available in a research laboratory setting. Within the literature there are studies reporting the reliability and validity of objective measures for the assessment of pain, gait, posture, range of motion, palpation and muscle size in horses. Whilst these validated objective measurement tools are available, they are not presently used consistently in clinical practice. In addition, the non-verbal nature of the equine patients precludes the use of self-reporting, meaning that there are no reported functional outcome scores possible similar to use with human patients. However, the combined use of pain responses, behavioural changes and objective measures collected during clinical assessment, both pre and post treatment, could be useful in practice. Equine physiotherapists should integrate more objective methods of recording data from assessments of horses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Exercise Physiology
Issue number1
Early online date4 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2020


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