OBJECTIVE To determine variance effects influencing ground reaction forces (GRFs) in a heterogeneous population of lame dogs during trotting.
ANIMALS 30 client-owned dogs with thoracic limb lameness and 31 dogs with pelvic limb lameness.
PROCEDURES GRFs, velocity, height at the dorsal aspect of the scapulae (ie, withers), and shoulder height were obtained. Each dog was trotted across a force platform at its preferred velocity. Variance effects for 12 velocity and associated relative velocity (V*) ranges were examined.
RESULTS Individual dog, velocity, V*, and limb significantly influenced GRFs. Withers height V* ranges were associated with small variance in GRFs, but all absolute and V* ranges were associated with significant effects for all 4 limbs and both types of lameness. Significant changes in lame limb GRFs and velocity in ipsilateral trials in dogs with thoracic limb and pelvic limb lameness were evident with trial repetition. Withers height V* range of 0.55 to 0.93 captured a large proportion of trials (> 90%) in dogs with thoracic limb or pelvic limb lameness, with limited effects on peak vertical force and vertical impulse.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Trial repetition caused alterations to GRFs and subject velocity that may have confounded assessment of lameness, which supported the concept that a priori selection of a velocity or V* range for force platform gait analysis should use a range that captures valid trials efficiently while minimizing GRF variance. These ranges typically would span the preferred velocity of subject dogs, such as withers height V* of 0.55 to 0.93.