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Measuring symmetry of hindlimb mechanics in orthopaedically normal dogs

G. R. Colborne, L. Good, L. E. Cozens, L. S. Kirk

TO MAKE an accurate assessment of the gait of lame dogs, there is a need to characterise an orthopaedically normal gait for reference purposes. This study evaluated the symmetry of the hindlimbs in healthy dogs while trotting.

Nineteen labrador retrievers with no history of lameness were enrolled in the study. Small circular retroflective markers were attached to the skin of the hindlimb joints; markers were also attached to the third phalanx of the paws and tuber coxae of each limb to measure the angular motion of the metatarsophalangeal and hip joints, respectively. Infrared cameras were positioned to record the sagittal plane motions of the markers as each dog trotted along a runway and over a forceplate. Morphometric data were combined with kinematic and force data to calculate net joint moments and powers, as well as total support moment for each limb. Dogs were identified as mechanically dominant in the left or right hindlimb if their total support moment was more than 10 per cent asymmetrical between sides.

Ten dogs were mechanically dominant in the right hindlimb, one dog was dominant …

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