Article Text

Download PDFPDF

The Finnish Canine Stifle Index: responsiveness to change and intertester reliability
  1. Heli K Hyytiäinen1,
  2. Mikael Morelius1,
  3. Anu K Lappalainen1,
  4. Anna F Bostrom1,
  5. Kirsti A Lind2,
  6. Jouni J T Junnila3,
  7. Anna Hielm-Björkman1 and
  8. Outi Laitinen-Vapaavuori1
  1. 1 Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  2. 2 Veterinary Teaching Hospital, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  3. 3 Statistics, 4Pharma, Helsinki, Finland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Heli K Hyytiäinen; heli.hyytiainen{at}


Background The responsiveness and the intertester reliability of the Finnish Canine Stifle Index (FCSI) were tested, and a cut-off between compromised and severely compromised performance level was set.

Methods Three groups of dogs were used, 29 with any stifle dysfunction (STIF), 17 with other musculoskeletal disease except stifle (OTHER) and 11 controls (CTRL). All dogs were tested with the FCSI by the same physiotherapist at three occasions, at baseline, at six weeks and 10 weeks, and once also by another physiotherapist.

Results Dogs in the STIF group demonstrated significantly higher (P<0.001) FCSI scores than in OTHER or CTRL groups at baseline. Only the STIF group showed a significant (P<0.001) change in FCSI score at all time points, indicating responsiveness to change. There were no significant differences between the evaluators (P=0.736), showing good intertester reliability, supported by moderate to good (0.78) intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). The evaluator performing the FCSI did not have a significant effect when comparing the groups of dogs (P=0.214). The 95 per cent confidence intervals of the ICC per group were 0.79 (0.60, 0.91) for STIF, 0.83 (0.53, 0.96) for OTHER 0.78 (0.64, 0.88) for all dogs. A cut-off differentiating a severely compromised from a compromised performance was set at 120, having sensitivity of 83 per cent and specificity of 89 per cent.

Conclusion The FCSI is a recommendable measure of dogs’ stifle functionality.

  • dogs
  • physiotherapy
  • orthopaedics
  • lameness
  • cruciate ligament
  • assessment

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, an indication of whether changes were made, and the use is non-commercial. See:

View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The study protocol was approved by the University of Helsinki Viikki Campus Research Ethics Committee, and written consent was obtained from all owners.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.