April 10, 2008

NASA technology developed for use in robotic walkers could ultimately save the lives of thousands of horses recovering from surgery.

The technology, developed and patented by the Goddard Space Flight Centre, has been used in a device to help keep horses standing before and after surgery.

The equipment has been developed by Enduro Medical Technology, which has a licence to use the technology.

Discussions with veterinarians at veterinary hospitals convinced company engineers that the technology could be incorporated into equipment for horses.

The result was Secure Ambulation Module for equine use, or the SAM-Equine, which can used either long-term on horses of for short periods, allowing their safe recovery from anaesthesia.

It will enable therapeutic standing in a controlled environment, greatly reducing the risk of accidents associated with standing a horse after medical procedures.

The equipment is expected to:

Keeping horses upright is also better for their heart, lungs and blood pressure.

Initial response from professionals contacted at veterinarian facilities has been encouraging, the developers say.

A professor at a major university school of veterinary medicine reportedly said: "I believe that if this piece of equipment had been available last spring, Barbaro would be alive today."

Equine surgeons who have seen the device agreed it would dramatically improve equine rehabilitation, and widens the scope of surgery that could potentially be performed.