Objective—To evaluate the effects of a weight reduction program combined with a basic or more complex physical therapy program including transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation on lameness in overweight dogs with osteoarthritis.
Design—Nonblinded prospective randomized clinical trial.
Animals—29 adult overweight or obese dogs with a body condition score of 4/5 or 5/5 and clinical and radiographic signs of osteoarthritis.
Procedures—A weight-loss program was initiated for all dogs. One group received caloric restriction and a home-based physical therapy program. The other group received the identical dietetic protocol and an intensive physical therapy program including transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Lameness was assessed clinically and by kinetic gait analysis on a treadmill with 4 force plates to measure symmetry of ground reaction forces (GRFs) of the affected and contralateral limbs in bimonthly intervals for 6 months.
Results—Significant weight loss was achieved in both groups; however, greater weight reduction was attained by dogs treated with caloric restriction and intensive physiotherapy. Mobility and symmetry indices of GRFs were improved after 6 months; the best outcome was detected in the group receiving energy restriction combined with intensive physical therapy.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Caloric restriction combined with intensive physical therapy improved mobility and facilitated weight loss in overweight dogs. The combination of dietetic and physical therapy may help to improve the health status more efficiently than dietetic treatment alone.