Mama the research horse in the equine lift.

An uplifting story

An interdisciplinary research team has partnered with a local engineering firm to find a solution for horses that sustain life-threatening injuries. 

Armed with expertise in veterinary radiology and internal medicine, engineering and kinetic biomechanics, the team is working with RMD Engineering on a robotic equine lift. This will help rehabilitate horses suffering from acute injuries and other musculoskeletal problems by providing mobility, weight distribution and support.

Leading the team is Dr. Julia Montgomery, a large animal internal medicine specialist at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Working alongside here are faculty from the Colleges of Engineering, Kinesiology and Montgomery's husband James, a board-certified veterinary radiologist.

Veterinarians regularly use slings to help support injured horses, but current designs significantly limit the animals' normal activity and support all of their weight on the thorax and abdomen. This leads to further problems because of compression on the lungs and development of pressure sores.

With the lift system, Montgomery says clinicians can reduce and redistribute the weight the horse is carrying dynamically. The system allows the animal to be mobile with its weight partially or fully supported by the lift.

See a video of the lift in action, or read more at WCVM Today.
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