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A study was designed to compare use of an numerical rating scale (nrs) and a visual analogue scale (vas) for subjective assessment of lameness, using sheep as a model. The nrs consisted of 5 divisions, 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4; 4 of these divisions (1–4) described lameness. The vas used a 100-mm horizontal line with vertical bars at either end; one end was labeled 'sound' and the other was labeled 'could not be more lame.' Two independent observers graded lameness in 62 sheep, and between- and within-observer differences were assessed for each scoring system to compare the nrs with the vas.

Results indicated no significant differences between the 2 observers scoring lameness, using either the vas or the nrs. The scores obtained, using the vas, were not normally distributed, although differences between scores for the 2 observers were. The nrs scores followed a normal distribution pattern. Investigation of repeated measurement for the same sheep, using both scales, revealed no significant difference between either. A comparison of the nrs and vas scores made by each observer indicated that although correlation was good (observer 1; r = 0.94; observer 2; r = 0.95), there was not perfect agreement. The maximal nrs score of 4 was associated with vas values > 68 mm, indicating that the nrs divisions did not reflect equal increases in lameness. The vas and nrs scores for each observer were highly reproducible, although they were more variable for sheep that were regarded as moderately lame.

Results indicate that although the nrs and vas compared favorably with respect to repeatability, reproducibility, and use by 2 observers, the vas is inherently more sensitive. In addition, the nrs and vas should not be used interchangeably.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To develop a noninvasive method for the in vivo assessment of flatulence in dogs.

Animals—8 adult dogs.

Procedure—Rectal gases were collected via a perforated tube held close to each dog's anus and attached to a monitoring pump fitted with a sensor that recorded hydrogen sulfide concentrations every 20 seconds. Patterns of flatulence were monitored for 14 hours after feeding on 4 days, and within- and between-dog variation was assessed over 4 hours on 4 consecutive days. Rate of hydrogen sulfide production (flatulence index) and frequency and number of emissions were evaluated as potential indicators of flatus characteristics. An odor judge assigned an odor rating to each flatulence episode, and the relationship between that rating and hydrogen sulfide concentration was determined.

Results—Flatulence patterns varied within and between dogs. Variation was most pronounced for flatulence index; mean coefficients of variance within dogs over time and between dogs on each day were 75 and 103%, respectively. Flatus with hydrogen sulfide concentrations > 1 parts per million could be detected by the odor judge, and severity of malodor was highly correlated with hydrogen sulfide concentration. Odor ratings were accurately predicted by use of the equation 1.51 × hydrogen sulfide concentration0.28.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The technique described in this report appears to provide sensitive, reliable, and relevant data and will enable further studies of the factors that influence flatulence in dogs. Use of this technique also has the potential to aid in investigations of colonic physiology and pathology. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1014–1019).

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research