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Load redistribution in walking and trotting Beagles with induced forelimb lameness

Jalal AbdelhadiSmall Animal Clinic, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, 30559 Germany.
Department of Surgery and Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tripoli, Tripoli, Libya.

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Patrick WefstaedtSmall Animal Clinic, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, 30559 Germany.

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Vladimir Galindo-ZamoraSmall Animal Clinic, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, 30559 Germany.
Small Animal Clinic, National University of Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.

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Alexandra AndersSmall Animal Clinic, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, 30559 Germany.

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Ingo NolteSmall Animal Clinic, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, 30559 Germany.

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Nadja SchillingSmall Animal Clinic, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, 30559 Germany.
Institute of Systematic Zoology and Evolutionary Biology, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena, 07743 Germany.

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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the load redistribution mechanisms in walking and trotting dogs with induced forelimb lameness.

Animals—7 healthy adult Beagles.

Procedures—Dogs walked and trotted on an instrumented treadmill to determine control values for peak and mean vertical force as well as verticle impulse for all 4 limbs. A small sphere was attached to the ventral pad of the right forelimb paw to induce a reversible lameness, and recordings were repeated for both gaits. Additionally, footfall patterns were assessed to test for changes in temporal gait variables.

Results—During walking and trotting, peak and mean vertical force as well as vertical impulse were decreased in the ipsilateral forelimb, increased in the contralateral hind limb, and remained unchanged in the ipsilateral hind limb after lameness was induced. All 3 variables were increased in the contralateral forelimb during trotting, whereas only mean vertical force and vertical impulse were increased during walking. Stance phase duration increased in the contralateral forelimb and hind limb during walking but not during trotting.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Analysis of the results suggested that compensatory load redistribution mechanisms in dogs depend on the gait. All 4 limbs should be evaluated in basic research and clinical studies to determine the effects of lameness on the entire body. Further studies are necessary to elucidate specific mechanisms for unloading of the affected limb and to determine the long-term effects of load changes in animals with chronic lameness.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the load redistribution mechanisms in walking and trotting dogs with induced forelimb lameness.

Animals—7 healthy adult Beagles.

Procedures—Dogs walked and trotted on an instrumented treadmill to determine control values for peak and mean vertical force as well as verticle impulse for all 4 limbs. A small sphere was attached to the ventral pad of the right forelimb paw to induce a reversible lameness, and recordings were repeated for both gaits. Additionally, footfall patterns were assessed to test for changes in temporal gait variables.

Results—During walking and trotting, peak and mean vertical force as well as vertical impulse were decreased in the ipsilateral forelimb, increased in the contralateral hind limb, and remained unchanged in the ipsilateral hind limb after lameness was induced. All 3 variables were increased in the contralateral forelimb during trotting, whereas only mean vertical force and vertical impulse were increased during walking. Stance phase duration increased in the contralateral forelimb and hind limb during walking but not during trotting.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Analysis of the results suggested that compensatory load redistribution mechanisms in dogs depend on the gait. All 4 limbs should be evaluated in basic research and clinical studies to determine the effects of lameness on the entire body. Further studies are necessary to elucidate specific mechanisms for unloading of the affected limb and to determine the long-term effects of load changes in animals with chronic lameness.

Contributor Notes

This manuscript represents a portion of a thesis submitted by the first author as partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.

Supported by the University of Tripoli and the Libyan government through a scholarship awarded to Mr. Abdelhadi, the National University of Colombia and the Colombian government in cooperation with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) through a scholarship awarded to Dr. Galindo-Zamora, and the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena and the Berufsgenossenschaft Nahrungsmittel und Gastgewerbe Erfurt (Germany) through the Center of Interdisciplinary Prevention of Diseases related to Professional Activities of Dr. Schilling.

The authors thank Daniela Helmsmüller for assistance with the data processing.

Address correspondence to Dr. Schilling (nadja.schilling@tiho-hannover.de).