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Objective—To determine the accuracy of pressure plate kinetic asymmetry indices (ASIs) for diagnosis of unilateral hind limb lameness in dogs and their correlation with visual gait assessment (VGA) scores.

Animals—9 healthy dogs and 16 dogs with previously diagnosed unilateral rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament and concurrent unilateral hind limb lameness.

Procedures—Dogs were walked over a pressure plate to determine paw contact area (PCA), peak vertical pressure (PVP), peak vertical force (PVF), and vertical impulse (VI) of both hind limbs. An ASI was calculated for each gait variable. Simultaneously, gait was assessed visually and scored by use of a numeric rating scale (0 to 10). The ASI of each variable was tested for its usefulness in discrimination between lame and nonlame dogs and for correlation with VGA scores.

Results—Sensitivity and specificity of ASIs to discriminate between lame and nonlame dogs were excellent for PVF, VI, and PCA; these values were substantially lower for ASI of PVP. Cutoff values to discriminate between lame and nonlame dogs were determined by use of ASIs for PVF, VI, and PCA; however, this could not be done for ASI of PVP. Correlations between ASIs of PVF, VI, and PCA and VGA scores were higher than correlation between the ASIs of PVP and VGA scores.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that ASIs of PVF and VI determined via analysis of pressure plate measurements were reliable indicators of clinical lameness in dogs, but the ASI of PVP was not. The ASI of PCA is an interesting new variable for assessment of limb loading symmetry.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine the spectrum and frequency of abnormalities for low-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations of clinically normal Doberman Pinschers and Foxhounds.

Animals—37 clinically normal dogs (20 Doberman Pinschers and 17 Foxhounds).

Procedures—For each dog, MRI of the cervical vertebrae (sagittal, dorsal, and transverse T1- and T2-weighted images) was performed. Variables assessed were intervertebral disk degeneration, disk-associated compression, compression of the dorsal portion of the spinal cord, vertebral body abnormalities, and changes in intraparenchymal signal intensity. Associations between these variables and age, breed, sex, and location of the assessed intervertebral disk spaces were evaluated.

Results—Severe MRI abnormalities were detected in 17 dogs, including complete disk degeneration (n = 4 dogs), spinal cord compression (3), or both (10). Vertebral body abnormalities were detected in 8 dogs, and hyperintense signal intensity was detected in 2 dogs. Severity of disk degeneration and disk-associated compression was significantly associated with increased age. There was a significant association between disk degeneration, disk-as-sociated compression, and compression of the dorsal aspect of the spinal cord and location of the assessed intervertebral disk space, with the intervertebral disk spaces in the caudal portion of the cervical region being more severely affected.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Abnormalities were commonly seen on MRI examinations of the caudal portion of the cervical vertebral column and spinal cord of clinically normal Doberman Pinchers and Foxhounds. Such lesions were probably part of the typical spinal cord degeneration associated with the aging process of dogs.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine intraobserver, interobserver, and intermethod agreement for results of myelography, computed tomography-myelography (CTM), and low-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in dogs with disk-associated wobbler syndrome (DAWS).

Design—Prospective cross-sectional study.

Animals—22 dogs with DAWS.

Procedures—All dogs underwent myelography, CTM, and low-field MRI. Each imaging study was interpreted twice by 4 observers who were blinded to signalment and clinical information of the patients. The following variables were assessed by all 3 techniques: number, site, and direction of spinal cord compressions; narrowed intervertebral disk spaces; vertebral body abnormalities; spondylosis deformans; and abnormal articular facets. Intervertebral foraminal stenosis was assessed on CTM and MRI images. Intraobserver, interobserver, and intermethod agreement were calculated by κ and weighted κ statistics.

Results—There was very good to good intraobserver agreement for most variables assessed by myelography and only moderate intraobserver agreement for most variables assessed by CTM and low-field MRI. There was moderate to fair interobserver and intermethod agreement for most variables assessed by the 3 diagnostic techniques. There was very good or good intraobserver, interobserver, or intermethod agreement for the site and direction of the worst spinal cord compression as assessed by all the imaging modalities; abnormal articular facets and intervertebral foraminal stenosis were the least reliably assessed variables, with poor interobserver agreement regardless of imaging modality used.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—There was considerable variation in image interpretation among observers and between use of various imaging modalities; these imaging techniques should be considered complementary in assessment of dogs with DAWS.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association