Artificial Intelligence Veterinary medicine Equine ophthalmology Lameness in horses

Publications & References

Artificial intelligence as a tool to aid in the differentiation of equine ophthalmic diseases with an emphasis on equine uveitis


Background Due to recent developments in artificial intelligence, deep learning, and smart-device-technology, diagnostic software may be developed which can be executed offline as an app on smartphones using their high-resolution cameras and increasing processing power to directly analyse photos taken on the device.

Objectives A software tool was developed to aid in the diagnosis of equine ophthalmic diseases, especially uveitis.

Study design Prospective comparison of software and clinical diagnoses.

Methods A deep learning approach for image classification was used to train software by analysing photographs of equine eyes to make a statement on whether the horse was displaying signs of uveitis or other ophthalmic diseases. Four basis networks of different sizes (MobileNetV2, InceptionV3, VGG16, VGG19) with modified top-layers were evaluated. Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) were trained on 2346 pictures of equine eyes, which were augmented to 9384 images. 261 separate unmodified images were used to evaluate the performance of the trained network.

Results Cross validation showed accuracy of 99.82% on training data and 96.66% on validation data when distinguishing between three categories (uveitis, other ophthalmic diseases, healthy).

Main limitations One source of selection bias for the artificial intelligence presumably was the increased pupil size, which was mainly present in horses with ophthalmic diseases due to the use of mydriatics, and was not homogeneously dispersed in all categories of the dataset.

Conclusions Our system for detection of equine uveitis is unique and novel and can differentiate between uveitis and other equine ophthalmic diseases. Its development also serves as a proof-of-concept for image-based detection of ophthalmic diseases in general and as a basis for its further use and expansion.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; blindness; equine uveitis; horse; machine/deep learning; ophthalmology

Artificial Intelligence for Lameness Detection in Horses — A Preliminary Study


Lameness in horses is a long-known issue influencing the welfare, as well as the use, of a horse. Nevertheless, the detection and classification of lameness mainly occurs on a subjective basis by the owner and the veterinarian.

The aim of this study was the development of a lameness detection system based on pose estimation, which permits non-invasive and easily applicable gait analysis. The use of 58 reference points on easily detectable anatomical landmarks offers various possibilities for gait evaluation using a simple setup.

For this study, three groups of horses were used: one training group, one analysis group of fore and hindlimb lame horses and a control group of sound horses. The first group was used to train the network; afterwards, horses with and without lameness were evaluated.

The results show that forelimb lameness can be detected by visualising the trajectories of the reference points on the head and both forelimbs. In hindlimb lameness, the stifle showed promising results as a reference point, whereas the tuber coxae were deemed unsuitable as a reference point.

The study presents a feasible application of pose estimation for lameness detection, but further development using a larger dataset is essential.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; deep learning; pose estimation; lameness; equine

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