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Evidence of bias affecting the interpretation of the results of local anaesthetic nerve blocks when assessing lameness in horses
  1. M. Arkell, BVetMed, MRCVS1,
  2. R. M. Archer, BVSc, DipACVS, MRCVS1,
  3. F. J. Guitian, DVM, PhD1 and
  4. S. A. May, MA, VetMB, PhD, DVR, DEO, DipECVS, FRCVS1
  1. 1 Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield AL9 7TA
  1. Ms Arkell's present address is Sheepcroft, Park Farm House, Broxmead Lane, Bolney, Sussex RH17 5RJ


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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