Objective—To determine hip, stifle, and tarsal joint
ranges of motion (ROM) and angular velocities during
swimming and walking in healthy dogs and dogs with
surgically corrected cranial cruciate ligament (CCL)
Design—Prospective clinical study.
Animals—13 healthy dogs and 7 dogs with CCL rupture.
Procedure—Dogs with CCL rupture were enrolled in
a postoperative aquatic rehabilitation program and
evaluated 21 to 35 days after surgery. Dogs were
filmed while swimming in a pool and while walking at
a fast (1.3 m/s) or slow (0.9 m/s) pace on a treadmill.
Maximal angles of extension and flexion, ROM, and
angular velocities were calculated.
Results—In healthy dogs, swimming resulted in a
significantly greater ROM in the hip joint than did
walking, but in dogs with CCL rupture, ROM of the
hip joint did not vary with swimming versus walking.
For dogs in both groups, swimming resulted in significantly
greater ROM of the stifle and tarsal joints than
did walking, primarily because of greater joint flexion.
Stifle joint ROM was significantly lower in dogs with
CCL rupture than in healthy dogs, regardless of
whether dogs were swimming or walking.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested
that following surgical management of a ruptured CCL
in dogs, swimming resulted in greater ROM of the stifle
and tarsal joints than did walking. This suggests that if
ROM is a factor in the rate or extent of return to function
in these dogs, then aquatic rehabilitation would likely
result in a better overall outcome than walking alone.
(J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222:739–743)