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Pietsch, Sebastian; Steigmeier-Raith, Stephanie; Reese, Sven ORCID: 0000-0002-4605-9791; Meyer-Lindenberg, Andrea (October 2020): Reliability of kinetic measurements of healthy dogs examined while walking on a treadmill. In: American Journal of Veterinary Research, Vol. 81: pp. 804-809
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OBJECTIVE To investigate whether an actual improvement in gait could be differenti¬ated from physiologic differences or habituation effects during gait analysis of dogs. ANIMALS 11 healthy dogs. PROCEDURES On 4 examination days, kinetic parameters were measured while dogs were walking on a treadmill. Differences in mean parameter values and habitua¬tion effects (ie, effect sizes) were quantified and compared among examination days. Coefficients of variation for repeated measurements were calculated to determine measurement reproducibility, and minimum differences were calculated to distinguish between physiologic fluctuation and an actual change in gait pattern. RESULTS Among the 4 examination days, mean absolute differences in peak vertical force and vertical impulse (VI) varied from 1.5% to 5.3% of body weight (BW) and 0.9% to 1.8% of BW•s, respectively. Mean absolute differences in the percentage of stance-phase duration (%SPD) and relative stride length (RSL) varied from 0.9% to 3.2% and 1.7% to 3.0%, respectively. Reproducibility of parameter measurements was good. Values for %SPD had the lowest amount of dispersion and largest effect size, suggesting a habituation effect for this parameter. Calculated minimum differences among the days for peak vertical force, VI, %SPD, and RSL did not exceed 9.9% of BW, 3.3% of BW•s, 5.8 percentage points, and 5.2 percentage points, respectively. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The %SPD of healthy dogs walking on a treadmill was the most sensitive and diagnostically reliable of the measured kinetic parameters, in contrast to VI and RSL. Findings suggested that actual changes can be distinguished from random physiologic fluctuations during gait analysis of dogs.