Objective—To evaluate symmetry of the hind limbs in orthopedically normal trotting dogs.
Animals—19 orthopedically normal Labrador Retrievers with no history of lameness.
Procedures—Retroreflective markers were applied to the hind limb joints, and a 4-camera kinematic system captured positional data at 200 Hz in tandem with force platform data collection while the dogs trotted. Morphometric data were combined with kinematic and force data in an inverse dynamics method to calculate net joint moments and powers at the joints as well as total support moment for each limb. Dogs were identified as right or left dominant when their total support moment was > 10% asymmetric between sides.
Results—10 of the 19 dogs were mechanically dominant in the right hind limb as determined by their total support moments. One dog was left dominant, and the remaining 8 were symmetric. Right-dominant dogs had larger net joint moments at the right hip, tarsal, and metatarsophalangeal joints and a smaller moment at the right stifle joint, compared with values for the left hind limb. The 1 left-dominant dog had the exact opposite findings. Hip and stifle joint moments and powers varied between limbs of the right-dominant and left-dominant groups in the timing of their transition from negative to positive, and power amplitudes varied at the hip, tarsal, and metatarsophalangeal joints but not the stifle joint.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Sound trotting dogs can have asymmetries in limb and joint mechanics. These natural mechanical asymmetries should be taken into account when considering models to evaluate stresses at joints and when considering surgery for cruciate ligament rupture.