OBJECTIVE To develop contact time (ConT) and withers height-normalized relative ConT (ConT*) for force platform gait analysis of dogs.
ANIMALS 29 healthy client-owned dogs.
PROCEDURES Height at the most dorsal aspect of the shoulders (withers) was measured with a framing square. Dogs were trotted across a force platform at their preferred velocity with controlled acceleration (± 0.5 m/s2). Ranges of ConT and ConT* centered on the population mean ConT were created. Variance effects on ground reaction forces (GRFs) for 4 thoracic limb and 4 pelvic limb ConT and associated ConT* ranges were examined. Efficiency of trial capture and effects of velocity ranges on GRF variance were determined.
RESULTS Individual dogs had the greatest effect on GRF variance for thoracic and pelvic limbs. Narrow ConT and ConT* ranges had few significant effects on GRFs but were inefficient at capturing trials. The ConT ranges of 0.22 to 0.29 seconds and 0.19 to 0.25 seconds for thoracic and pelvic limbs, respectively, provided the most efficient rates of trial capture with the fewest significant effects on GRFs. Compared with ConT and ConT* ranges, relative velocity ranges had higher efficiency and smaller GRF variance effects.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Dogs of various morphologies have differing limb velocities. Use of ConT as a surrogate for limb velocity may improve GRF data quality. We identified ConT and ConT* ranges associated with low GRF variance. However, relative velocity ranges captured data more efficiently. Efficient capture of data may help avoid worsening of lameness during gait analysis of dogs.