Use of the Spatiotemporal and Kinetic Gait Variables for Differentiation of Spinal Ataxia and Bilateral Pelvic Limb Orthopedic Disease in Dogs

Purpose

To describe gait parameters of dogs with pelvic limb ataxia or pelvic limb lameness and to determine if it is possible to discriminate cases based on spatiotemporal and kinetic variables in absence of a clinical examination.

Background

Animals with gait abnormalities such as ataxia or lameness are often categorized based on the visual observations of trained veterinary specialists. Although this kind of evaluation can be easily performed without requiring any equipment, such evaluations are subjective and therefore limited. Pressure sensitive walkways are a relatively new method of gait analysis and can provide an objective measure of spatial, temporal, and kinetic gait parameters. The goals of this study are to describe gait parameters of dogs with pelvic limb ataxia or pelvic limb lameness and to determine if it is possible to discriminate cases based on spatiotemporal and kinetic variables in absence of a clinical examination.

This study is funded by a grant from the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians (AARV).

Eligibility

Three groups of dogs will be enrolled: neurologic, orthopedic, and normal dogs. All enrolled dogs must:

  • Be aged between 1-8 years
  • Weigh >10 lbs.
  • Have no significant metabolic, endocrine, or systemic disease.

Specific enrollment criteria for each group are:

  • Neurologic
    • Dogs must be ambulatory and be able to walk across the gait analysis mat.
    • Grade II pelvic limb ataxia (ambulatory paraparesis), localized to T3-L3.
    • No abnormalities in the thoracic limbs.
    • No concurrent orthopedic disease.
  • Orthopedic
    • Clinically lame in the pelvic limbs bilaterally, but weight bearing.
    • No abnormalities in the thoracic limbs.
    • No concurrent neurologic disease.

  • Normal
    • No current or previous history of neurologic or orthopedic disease.

Exclusion

  • History of other orthopedic or neurologic disease
  • Systemic illness
  • Gait abnormalities in the thoracic limbs

Study Design

Each dog will be walked on a leash for at least 5 minutes with a trained handler for acclimation before data collection. A pressure sensor walkway will then be used to measure the spatial, temporal, and kinetic parameters as the dog walks. Dogs will be examined by board-certified specialists or residency trained clinicians to verify diagnosis and/or health status.

Compensation

Enrolled dogs will get full orthopedic/neurologic exams from board-certified specialists or residency trained clinicians at no cost. We hope the information gained in this study will improve diagnosis and treatment of future pets and humans with gait abnormalities.

Contact

Flori Bliss, Rehabilitation Coordinator
Phone: 540-231-6664 | Email: florence@vt.edu

Mindy Quigley, Clinical Trials Coordinator
Office Phone: 540-231-1363 | Email: vettrials@vt.edu

If your query is urgent, please call the Small Animal Hospital on 540-231-4621.