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Selected Publication:

Type of publication: PhD Thesis
Type of document:

Year: 2011

Authors: Zsoldos, Rebeka R

Title: Biomechanics of the equine cervical vertebral column.

Source: PhD-Arbeit, Vet. Med. Univ. Wien, pp. 99.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Licka Theresia
Zsoldos Rebeka

Licka Theresia
Peham Christian

Van Weeren Rene P.

Vetmed Research Units
University Equine Clinic, Clinical Unit of Equine Surgery

Vetmed Research Units:
University Equine Clinic, Clinical Unit of Equine Surgery

Modern equestrian disciplines place enormous biomechanical stress on the horse’s locomotory system. The basic anatomy of the neck of the horse is not unlike other mammals, with seven vertebrae connected one to another by paired joints on the left and right sides. The large volume of muscle responsible for neck and head movement, along with forward movement of the forelimbs is adapted to the very large forces at play. In ungulates the crest is formed by the strong nuchal ligament, which attaches to the back of the head and runs along the top of the neck to the withers, coupling back and neck movements. The goal of the first study of this thesis was to develop a model close to the measured neck movements and calculate inverse kinematics based on cervical vertebral motion. The model was reconstructed from CT scans of the bony structures and developed in SIMM (Software for Interactive Musculoskeletal Modelling). Calculation of inverse kinematics was done in OpenSim. The simulated motion was generated from the recorded motion of the skin markers. The motion of each joint was documented, giving an insight into the biomechanics of the equine neck. The small range of flexion extension motion at C5–C6 illustrates the pathogenetical relevance of the model for understanding of the development of osteoarthritis. In the second study of this thesis, the activity of the splenius muscle together with kinematics of head and cranial neck at walk and trot was investigated. Head and neck angles were calculated in sagittal and horizontal planes. Maximum surface electromyography values at trot were higher than at walk, and maximum splenius muscle activity was reached at the beginning of the forelimb stance phases in trot, indicating stabilisation against flexion of the head and neck. The third study of this thesis was aimed at investigating the spatial capacity of the equine cervical vertebral canal during motion in an in-vitro study. Standard laterolateral radiographs are known to be inaccurate in determining the site of spinal cord lesions even if a myelogram is carried out. After removal of the spinal cord the dura mater of 16 cervical vertebral columns was filled with polyurethane foam and then moved in flexion-extension, lateral bending and 30° rotated flexion and extension during its plastic phase. Resulting moulded foam structures were scanned with a 3D laser scanner. Functional narrowing of the vertebral canal was mainly located dorsolateral or ventrolateral, explaining its underrepresentation on laterolateral radiographs. A fully functional musculoskeletal model is also the first step towards understanding locomotor control of the neck which can later be used as a scientific tool e.g. to test hypotheses about neural circuits and biomechanical principles in vertebrates.

Publication(s) resulting from University thesis:

Zsoldos, RR; Groesel, M; Kotschwar, A; Kotschwar, AB; Licka, T; Peham, C (2010): A preliminary modelling study on the equine cervical spine with inverse kinematics at walk. 8th International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology, Stellenbosch, SOUTH AFRICA, South Africa, NOV 7-12, 2010. Equine Vet J Suppl. 2010; 516-522

Zsoldos, RR; Kotschwar, AB; Kotschwar, A; Groesel, M; Licka, T; Peham, C (2010): Electromyography activity of the equine splenius muscle and neck kinematics during walk and trot on the treadmill. 8th International Conference on Equine Exercise Physiology, Stellenbosch, SOUTH AFRICA, South Africa, NOV 7-12, 2010. Equine Vet J Suppl. 2010; 455-461

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