Eighteen observers were influenced to different extents in the grades of lameness they allocated to eight horses by whether they knew that a nerve block had been administered; on a scale from 0 to 10 the mean difference in grade allocated once the observer knew a horse had been nerve-blocked was increased by 0·4. The consistency of the assessments made by the individual observers was good, with a an average of 0·6 of a grade difference when grading the same horse on two occasions. The agreement between the assessments of four orthopaedic experts was reasonable (±1 grade), but significantly poorer for four non-experts and 10 final year veterinary students.
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