Validity and practical utility of accelerometry for the measurement of in-hand physical activity in horses

Morrison, R., Sutton, D. G. M., Ramsoy, C., Hunter-Blair, N., Carnwath, J., Horsfield, E. and Yam, P. S. (2015) Validity and practical utility of accelerometry for the measurement of in-hand physical activity in horses. BMC Veterinary Research, 11, 233. (doi:10.1186/s12917-015-0550-2) (PMID:26362544) (PMCID:PMC4566433)

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Abstract

Background: Accelerometers are valid, practical and reliable tools for the measurement of habitual physical activity (PA). Quantification of PA in horses is desirable for use in research and clinical settings. The objective of this study was to evaluate a triaxial accelerometer for objective measurement of PA in the horse by assessment of their practical utility and validity. Horses were recruited to establish both the optimal site of accelerometer attachment and questionnaire designed to explore owner acceptance. Validity and cut-off values were obtained by assessing PA at various gaits. Validation study- 20 horses wore the accelerometer while being filmed for 10 min each of rest, walking and trotting and 5 mins of canter work. Practical utility study- five horses wore accelerometers on polls and withers for 18 h; compliance and relative data losses were quantified. Results: Accelerometry output differed significantly between the four PA levels (P <0•001) for both wither and poll placement. For withers placement, ROC analyses found optimal sensitivity and specificity at a cut-off of <47 counts per minute (cpm) for rest (sensitivity 99.5 %, specificity 100 %), 967–2424 cpm for trotting (sensitivity 96.7 %, specificity 100 %) and ≥2425 cpm for cantering (sensitivity 96.0 %, specificity 97.0 %). Attachment at the poll resulted in optimal sensitivity and specificity at a cut-off of <707 counts per minute (cpm) for rest (sensitivity 97.5 %, specificity 99.6 %), 1546–2609 cpm for trotting (sensitivity 90.33 %, specificity 79.25 %) and ≥2610 cpm for cantering (sensitivity 100 %, specificity 100 %) In terms of practical utility, accelerometry was well tolerated and owner acceptance high. Conclusion: Accelerometry data correlated well with varying levels of in-hand equine activity. The use of accelerometers is a valid method for objective measurement of controlled PA in the horse.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Yam, Dr Philippa and Sutton, Professor David
Authors: Morrison, R., Sutton, D. G. M., Ramsoy, C., Hunter-Blair, N., Carnwath, J., Horsfield, E., and Yam, P. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:BMC Veterinary Research
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1746-6148
ISSN (Online):1746-6148
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Morrison et al.
First Published:First published in BMC Veterinary Research 11:233
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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