The inter- and intra-observer reliability of a locomotion scoring scale for sheep

Vet J. 2009 May;180(2):189-94. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2007.12.028. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


A seven point locomotion scoring scale, ranging from 0=normal locomotion to 6=unable to stand or move, has been developed. To test the between and within observer reliability of the scale, 65 movie clips of sheep with normal and varying degrees of abnormal locomotion were made. Three observers familiar with sheep locomotion were trained to read the movie clips. Thirty clips were randomly selected and used to test between and within observer agreement. There was high inter-(intra-class correlation coefficient [ICC]=0.93, weighted kappa [kappa(w)]=0.93) and intra-(ICC=0.90, kappa(w)=0.91) observer reliability, with no evidence of observer bias. The main between score differences were for scores 0 (normal) and 1 (uneven posture and shortened stride but no head movement). The results indicate that the locomotion scoring scale using groups of defined observations for each point on the scale was reliable and may be a useful research tool to identify and monitor locomotion in individual sheep when used by trained observers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Lameness, Animal / diagnosis*
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Observer Variation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sheep / physiology*