Gait analysis plays an important role in the assessment of neurologic function in many diseases. In dogs with neurologic disease, gait is often assessed with subjective numeric rating scales.1 Subjective evaluation of patients may cause bias because it is not always possible to adequately blind an evaluator.2 Subjective rating scales are also insensitive at detecting subtle differences between groups.3–5 Developments in gait analysis instrumentation and software have allowed clinicians and researchers to accurately and efficiently assess the canine gait cycle.6 During a subjective evaluation, a clinician is only able to perceive a few kinematic variables at a time, but a modern kinematic or kinetic analysis system can capture, analyze, and store hundreds of observations per second.6
Temporospatial variables, including stance phase duration, swing phase duration, gait cycle duration, stride length, gait velocity, and cadence, represent the basic pattern of critical events during a gait.7 Kinetic gait analysis provides an objective, noninvasive method for measuring ground reaction forces by use of measurement systems to evaluate kinetic variables.8 A pressure-sensitive walkway has been used to evaluate limb functions of dogs and cats and has revealed advantages for measuring kinematic and kinetic variables with the same equipment.9–11 Assessing neurologic status objectively by use of temporospatial and kinetic analysis can allow for unbiased assessment of treatment methods and outcome.
Cervical spondylomyelopathy is the most common disease of the cervical vertebral region of large- and giant-breed dogs, with Doberman Pinschers and Great Danes being overrepresented.12–14 Affected dogs have variable degrees of neurologic dysfunction, such as ataxia, tetraparesis or tetraplegia, and neck pain.15–17 Diagnosis of CSM is based on patient history and results of neurologic examination and advanced diagnostic imaging or myelography.18–20 Both medical and surgical treatments can be used to treat CSM. However, surgical treatment offers a higher chance of improvement than does medical management.21 There is substantial controversy regarding surgical treatment of CSM because there are at least 27 surgical techniques proposed for treatment of the condition.12 A major void in this field is the lack of methods to objectively assess outcome and compare results of treatments.
The objective of the study reported here was to characterize temporospatial and kinetic gait variables of clinically normal Doberman Pinschers during walking and to compare these quantitative variables with those of Doberman Pinschers with CSM. We hypothesized that there would be significant differences in temporospatial and kinetic variables between clinically normal and CSM-affected dogs.
Supported by the Canine Funds of the College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University.
Presented in abstract form at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, Nashville, Tenn, June, 2014.
The authors thank Amanda Disher for assistance with data collection.
Peak vertical force
HR Mat high-resolution floor mat force measurement system, Tekscan, South Boston, Mass.
Walkway gait analysis system 6.31, Tekscan, South Boston, Mass.
Stata, version 12.1, Stata Corp, College Station, Tex.
1. Olby NJ, De Risio L, Muñana KR, et al. Development of a functional scoring system in dogs with acute spinal cord injuries. Am J Vet Res 2001; 62: 1624–1628.
2. Gordon-Evans WJ, Evans RB, Knap KE, et al. Characterization of spatiotemporal gait characteristics in clinically normal dogs and dogs with spinal cord disease. Am J Vet Res 2009; 70: 1444–1449.
3. Basso DM. Behavioral testing after spinal cord injury: congruities, complexities, and controversies. J Neurotrauma 2004; 21: 395–404.
4. Giglio CA, Defino HLA, da-Silva CA, et al. Behavioral and physiological methods for early quantitative assessment of spinal cord injury and prognosis in rats. Braz J Med Biol Res 2006; 39: 1613–1623.
9. Kim J, Kazmierzcak KA, Breur GJ. Comparison of temporospatial and kinetic variables of walking in small and large dogs on a pressure-sensing walkway. Am J Vet Res 2011; 72: 1171–1177.
10. Lascelles BDX, Roe SC, Smith E, et al. Evaluation of a pressure walkway system for measurement of vertical limb forces in clinically normal dogs. Am J Vet Res 2006; 67: 277–282.
11. Lascelles BDX, Findley K, Correa M, et al. Kinetic evaluation of normal walking and jumping in cats, using a pressure-sensitive walkway. Vet Rec 2007; 160: 512–516.
15. Seim HB, Withrow SJ. Pathophysiology and diagnosis of caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy with emphasis on the Doberman Pinscher. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1982; 18: 241–251.
17. Trotter EJ, deLahunta A, Geary JC, et al. Caudal cervical vertebral malformation-malarticulation in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1976; 168: 917–930.
18. Sharp NJH, Cofone MT, Robertson ID, et al. Computed tomography in the evaluation of caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy of the Doberman Pinscher. Vet Radiol Ultrasound 1995; 36: 100–108.
19. De Decker S, Saunders J, Duchateau P, et al. Radiographic vertebral canal and body ratios in Doberman pinschers with and without clinical signs of disk associated wobbler syndrome. J Vet Intern Med 2010; 24: 737.
20. Sharp NJH, Wheeler SJ, Cofone MT. Radiological evaluation of ‘wobbler’ syndrome—caudal cervical spondylomyelopathy. J Small Anim Pract 1992; 33: 491–499.
21. Jeffery ND, McKee WM. Surgery for disc-associated wobbler syndrome in the dog—an examination of the controversy. J Small Anim Pract 2001; 42: 574–581.
22. da Costa RC, Parent JM. One-year clinical and magnetic resonance imaging follow-up of Doberman Pinschers with cervical spondylomyelopathy treated medically or surgically. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2007; 231: 243–250.
23. da Costa RC, Parent JM, Partlow G, et al. Morphologic and morphometric magnetic resonance imaging features of Doberman Pinschers with and without clinical signs of cervical spondylomyelopathy. Am J Vet Res 2006; 67: 1601–1612.
24. Besancon MF, Conzemius MG, Evans RB, et al. Distribution of vertical forces in the pads of Greyhounds and Labrador Retrievers during walking. Am J Vet Res 2004; 65: 1497–1501.
25. Light VA, Steiss JE, Montgomery RD, et al. Temporal-spatial gait analysis by use of a portable walkway system in healthy Labrador Retrievers at a walk. Am J Vet Res 2010; 71: 997–1002.
26. Mölsä SH, Hielm-Björkman AK, Laitinen-Vapaavuori OM. Force platform analysis in clinically healthy Rottweilers: comparison with Labrador Retrievers. Vet Surg 2010; 39: 701–707.
27. Foss K, da Costa RC, Moore S. Three-dimensional kinematic gait analysis of Doberman pinschers with and without cervical spondylomyelopathy. J Vet Intern Med 2013; 27: 112–119.
28. Millis DL. Assessing and measuring outcomes. In: Millis DL, Levine D, eds. Canine rehabilitation and physical therapy. St Louis: Saunders, 2004; 211–227.
29. DeCamp CE. Kinetic and kinematic gait analysis and the assessment of lameness in the dog. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 1997; 27: 825–840.
30. Voss K, Wiestner T, Galeandro L, et al. Effect of dog breed and body conformation on vertical ground reaction forces, impulses and stance times. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2011; 24: 106–112.
31. Riggs CM, DeCamp CE, Soutas-Little RW, et al. Effects of subject velocity on force plate-measured ground reaction forces in healthy Greyhounds at the trot. Am J Vet Res 1993; 54: 1523–1526.
32. McLaughlin R Jr, Roush JK. Effects of increasing velocity on braking and propulsion times during force plate gait analysis in Greyhounds. Am J Vet Res 1995; 56: 159–161.
33. Roush JK, McLaughlin RM Jr. Effects of subject stance time and velocity on ground reaction forces in clinically normal Greyhounds at the walk. Am J Vet Res 1994; 55: 1672–1676.
34. Renberg WC, Johnston SA, Ye K, et al. Comparison of stance time and velocity as control variables in force plate analysis of dogs. Am J Vet Res 1999; 60: 814–819.
35. Foss K, da Costa RC, Rajala-Schultz PJ, et al. Force plate gait analysis in Doberman Pinschers with and without cervical spondylomyelopathy. J Vet Intern Med 2013; 27: 106–111.