Evaluation of limb symmetry indices, using ground reaction forces in healthy dogs

Steven C. Budsberg From the Departments of Small Animal Medicine (Budsberg, Reece) and Medical Microbiology (Brown), College of Veterinary Medicine, and Biological and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture (Foutz) University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, and Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 (Jevens, DeCamp).

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Dermot J. Jevens From the Departments of Small Animal Medicine (Budsberg, Reece) and Medical Microbiology (Brown), College of Veterinary Medicine, and Biological and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture (Foutz) University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, and Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 (Jevens, DeCamp).

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John Brown From the Departments of Small Animal Medicine (Budsberg, Reece) and Medical Microbiology (Brown), College of Veterinary Medicine, and Biological and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture (Foutz) University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, and Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 (Jevens, DeCamp).

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Tim L. Foutz From the Departments of Small Animal Medicine (Budsberg, Reece) and Medical Microbiology (Brown), College of Veterinary Medicine, and Biological and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture (Foutz) University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, and Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 (Jevens, DeCamp).

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Charles E. DeCamp From the Departments of Small Animal Medicine (Budsberg, Reece) and Medical Microbiology (Brown), College of Veterinary Medicine, and Biological and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture (Foutz) University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, and Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 (Jevens, DeCamp).

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Lynn Reece From the Departments of Small Animal Medicine (Budsberg, Reece) and Medical Microbiology (Brown), College of Veterinary Medicine, and Biological and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agriculture (Foutz) University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, and Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 (Jevens, DeCamp).

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Summary

Limb symmetry was evaluated by measuring ground reaction forces in 2 groups of normal-gaited dogs at a trot. Data were collected from 2 groups of 21 dogs trotted at dog/handler velocities of 1.25 to 1.55 m/s and 1.85 to 2.05 m/s, respectively. Of these dogs, 9 participated in both groups to allow comparison of data at both velocities. Additionally, 16 of the dogs in group 1 were measured in 2 directions of movement to determine whether directional dependence was present. Collected data were then applied to 3 described symmetry indices.

Each index was easy to calculate, but all had limitations. A major limitation was variation in magnitude of ground reaction forces measured between the different axes and the effect of this variation on precision of the derived indices. Vertical ground forces provided the most consistent symmetry indices, in part because of their large magnitude. The indices indicated that no dog had perfect right-to-left symmetry during a trotting gait. Statistical differences were not found in any of the measurements of directional dependence. Likewise, comparing symmetry data in dogs trotted at both velocities indicated no significant differences in any axis.

However, further analysis of the data revealed the actual amount that a variance attributable to right-left limb variation was negligible. Most of the variance was attributable to trial variation. Thus, the aforementioned indices, which use nonconsecutive footfall methods to evaluate limb symmetry, actually measure principally trial variation and not limb-to-limb variation.

Summary

Limb symmetry was evaluated by measuring ground reaction forces in 2 groups of normal-gaited dogs at a trot. Data were collected from 2 groups of 21 dogs trotted at dog/handler velocities of 1.25 to 1.55 m/s and 1.85 to 2.05 m/s, respectively. Of these dogs, 9 participated in both groups to allow comparison of data at both velocities. Additionally, 16 of the dogs in group 1 were measured in 2 directions of movement to determine whether directional dependence was present. Collected data were then applied to 3 described symmetry indices.

Each index was easy to calculate, but all had limitations. A major limitation was variation in magnitude of ground reaction forces measured between the different axes and the effect of this variation on precision of the derived indices. Vertical ground forces provided the most consistent symmetry indices, in part because of their large magnitude. The indices indicated that no dog had perfect right-to-left symmetry during a trotting gait. Statistical differences were not found in any of the measurements of directional dependence. Likewise, comparing symmetry data in dogs trotted at both velocities indicated no significant differences in any axis.

However, further analysis of the data revealed the actual amount that a variance attributable to right-left limb variation was negligible. Most of the variance was attributable to trial variation. Thus, the aforementioned indices, which use nonconsecutive footfall methods to evaluate limb symmetry, actually measure principally trial variation and not limb-to-limb variation.

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