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Evaluation of a low-technology system to obtain morphological and mobility trial measurements in dogs and investigation of potential predictors of canine mobility

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  • 1 1Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG, Scotland.
  • | 2 2Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.
  • | 3 3Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.
  • | 4 4Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, and the Department of Biology, College of Arts & Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To develop a low-technology system that can be used by dog owners to obtain morphological and mobility measurements in companion dogs as candidate components of an eventual canine frailty scale.

ANIMALS

57 adult (≥ 1-year-old) dogs enrolled by 43 owners.

PROCEDURES

Morphological measurements of dogs were performed by investigators and dog owners. Dogs participated in timed in-clinic mobility trials across a flat surface (on-leash trial with the owner, on-leash trial with the investigator, and off-leash trial) and on stairs; each trial was repeated 3 times. Owners were asked to conduct a second stair trial at home 2 weeks later. Agreement between owner- and investigator-obtained measurements was assessed with Shrout-Fleiss intraclass correlation coefficients and paired t tests. Age, quartile of projected percentage of mean life span attained (adjusted for body weight), and height were evaluated as predictors of speed and stride length in mobility trials with linear regression and Spearman rank correlation analysis.

RESULTS

Agreement between owner- and investigator-obtained morphological measurements was strong. Age was a weak but significant predictor of decreased dog speed in mobility trials (adjusted R2, 0.10 to 0.23). Speed decreased significantly with increasing quartile of projected life span attained. A linear regression model that included height and age predicted dog speed better than models with age or height alone.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Morphological and mobility trial measurements can be obtained by dog owners with minimal training. Low-technology measurements of mobility trial speed offer potential as components in a future scoring scale for canine frailty.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To develop a low-technology system that can be used by dog owners to obtain morphological and mobility measurements in companion dogs as candidate components of an eventual canine frailty scale.

ANIMALS

57 adult (≥ 1-year-old) dogs enrolled by 43 owners.

PROCEDURES

Morphological measurements of dogs were performed by investigators and dog owners. Dogs participated in timed in-clinic mobility trials across a flat surface (on-leash trial with the owner, on-leash trial with the investigator, and off-leash trial) and on stairs; each trial was repeated 3 times. Owners were asked to conduct a second stair trial at home 2 weeks later. Agreement between owner- and investigator-obtained measurements was assessed with Shrout-Fleiss intraclass correlation coefficients and paired t tests. Age, quartile of projected percentage of mean life span attained (adjusted for body weight), and height were evaluated as predictors of speed and stride length in mobility trials with linear regression and Spearman rank correlation analysis.

RESULTS

Agreement between owner- and investigator-obtained morphological measurements was strong. Age was a weak but significant predictor of decreased dog speed in mobility trials (adjusted R2, 0.10 to 0.23). Speed decreased significantly with increasing quartile of projected life span attained. A linear regression model that included height and age predicted dog speed better than models with age or height alone.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Morphological and mobility trial measurements can be obtained by dog owners with minimal training. Low-technology measurements of mobility trial speed offer potential as components in a future scoring scale for canine frailty.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Appendix s1 (PDF 116 kb)
    • Supplementary Table s1 (PDF 135 kb)

Contributor Notes

Ms. Morgan was a third-year veterinary student at the time of the study.

Address correspondence to Dr. Creevy (kcreevy@cvm.tamu.edu).