Effect of perineural anesthesia on the centre of pressure (COP) path during stance phase at trot in sound horses
This study aimed to examine how short-term loss of proprioception in the equine foot influences the individual COP path during the stance phase of the trot in sound horses. Ten horses were evaluated to be objectively non-lame using the ’Equinosis Q System and subsequently examined using a portable pressure measuring system with pressure foils fixed directly underneath both front hooves prior to and after perineural anesthesia of the palmar digital nerves. The individual COP paths of both forelimbs was assessed prior to and after unilateral and bilateral abaxial sesamoid nerve blocks. COP from initial contact to mid stance and breakover as well as the inter-stride variability were descriptively evaluated for each horse and limb. The individual COP path for each horse and limb during stance was shown to be highly repeatable without significant inter-stride variability. Location of initial contact, COP during midstance and breakover are not affected by unilateral or bilateral short-term loss of sensory feedback from the foot after perineural anesthesia. Anesthesia of the foot with an abaxial sesamoid nerve block does not affect the foot’s COP during stance at a trot, therefore, sudden changes in gait pattern after perineural anesthesia should be interpreted with caution and warrant further clinical investigation.