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Effects of a flotation vest and water flow rate on limb kinematics of Siberian Huskies swimming against a current

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  • 1 From the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610 (Fisher, Scott, Reiter, Reid, Roe, Hill); and Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 (Colee).

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the effects of a flotation vest (FV) and water flow rate (WFR) on limb kinematics of dogs swimming against a current.

ANIMALS

7 (1 male and 6 female) healthy adult Siberian Huskies.

PROCEDURES

Dogs were habituated to swim with and without an FV beside an investigator in a continuous-flow pool against WFRs up to 2.9 km/h. During each of 4 experimental sessions in a repeated-measures study, markers were wrapped around the right carpus and tarsus, and a video was recorded while each dog swam with or without an FV for about 2 minutes at each of 7 WFRs between 0 and 2.9 km/h when the WFR was incrementally decreased or increased. Motion tracking software was used to measure stroke excursion and frequency.

RESULTS

Stroke excursion varied more than frequency among all dogs and in response to changes in experimental conditions. The male dog and 1 female dog were unable to complete the study. For the remaining 5 dogs across all experimental conditions, mean tarsus excursion was 30% that of the carpus. Mean total excursion (sum of the excursion-frequency products for the carpus and tarsus) decreased when an FV was worn and increased with WFR by 69% and 19% when WFR was incrementally increased and decreased, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

In dogs, range of motion during swimming was greater for the carpus than tarsus, when an FV was not worn, and increased more with WFR when WFR was incrementally increased. Those factors should be considered during swimming-based rehabilitation.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the effects of a flotation vest (FV) and water flow rate (WFR) on limb kinematics of dogs swimming against a current.

ANIMALS

7 (1 male and 6 female) healthy adult Siberian Huskies.

PROCEDURES

Dogs were habituated to swim with and without an FV beside an investigator in a continuous-flow pool against WFRs up to 2.9 km/h. During each of 4 experimental sessions in a repeated-measures study, markers were wrapped around the right carpus and tarsus, and a video was recorded while each dog swam with or without an FV for about 2 minutes at each of 7 WFRs between 0 and 2.9 km/h when the WFR was incrementally decreased or increased. Motion tracking software was used to measure stroke excursion and frequency.

RESULTS

Stroke excursion varied more than frequency among all dogs and in response to changes in experimental conditions. The male dog and 1 female dog were unable to complete the study. For the remaining 5 dogs across all experimental conditions, mean tarsus excursion was 30% that of the carpus. Mean total excursion (sum of the excursion-frequency products for the carpus and tarsus) decreased when an FV was worn and increased with WFR by 69% and 19% when WFR was incrementally increased and decreased, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

In dogs, range of motion during swimming was greater for the carpus than tarsus, when an FV was not worn, and increased more with WFR when WFR was incrementally increased. Those factors should be considered during swimming-based rehabilitation.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Figure S1 (PDF 380 KB)
    • Supplementary Figure S2 (PDF 235 KB)
    • Supplementary Table S1 (PDF 132 KB)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Hill (hillr@ufl.edu).