Research review – Quantitative sensory testing of the equine face – REPLAY VIDEO


This research club live lunch was run by Dr David Marlin in our Members’ Private Facebook Group on Friday 14th May at 1pm. Watch the video replay below if you missed this.  If you are not a member of the group please, click here

Quantitative sensory testing of the equine face

Live Lunch Club Review Replay Below, to read the full paper scroll down.


Authors: Veres-Nyéki KO, Nyéki J, Bodó G, Spadavecchia C

  • 1 – Anaesthesiology Division, Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
  • 2 – KDV Hungária Ltd, Varbó, Hungary.
  • 3 – Equine Department and Clinic, University of Veterinary Medicine, Üllő, Hungary.

Publication Date: 2020
Access: Open Access (Free full paper)


Background: Quantitative sensory testing methods are now standard in the evaluation of sensory function in man, while few normal equine values have been reported.

Objectives: The aim of this experimental study was (a) to define the tactile sensory, mechanical nociceptive and thermal nociceptive thresholds of the equine face; (b) to assess the effect of age, sex, stimulation site and shaving; (c) to evaluate the reliability of the methods and (d) to provide reference facial quantitative sensory testing values.

Study design: Method description.

Methods: Thirty-four healthy Warmblood horses were used in the study. Six (tactile sensory threshold) and five (mechanical nociceptive and thermal nociceptive thresholds) areas of the left side of the face with clear anatomical landmarks were evaluated. Ten horses had two (mechanical nociceptive threshold) or three (tactile sensory and thermal nociceptive thresholds) of these areas shaved for another study. A linear mixed model was used for data analysis.

Results: All thresholds increased with age (tactile sensory threshold: by 0.90 g/y (CI = [0.12 g; 0.36 g]) P = .001; mechanical nociceptive threshold: by 0.25 N/y (CI = [0.13-0.36 N]) P = .000; thermal nociceptive threshold: by 0.2°C/y (CI = [0.055-0.361]) P = .008). Sex had no effect on thresholds (tactile sensory threshold: P = .1; mechanical nociceptive threshold: P = .09; thermal nociceptive threshold: P = .2). Stimulation site affected tactile sensory and mechanical nociceptive thresholds (P = .001 and P = .008), but not thermal nociceptive threshold (P = .9). Shaving had no significant effect on any of the thresholds (tactile sensory threshold: P = .06; mechanical nociceptive threshold: P = .08; thermal nociceptive threshold: P = .09).

Main limitations: Only the left side was investigated and measurements were obtained on a single occasion.

Key soundbites from paper:
Handheld quantitative sensory testing does not require shaving or clipping to provide reliable measurements. Stimulation over the nostril (tactile sensory threshold), temporomandibular joint (mechanical nociceptive threshold) and supraorbital foramen (thermal nociceptive threshold) resulted in the most consistent thresholds.



About Author

Sarah is our Head of Content - Here to support our members to deliver interesting and useful content. Sarah is often behind the scenes of webinars, the Private Facebook Group and running the website. Please do not hesitate to contact Sarah should you need any support!