New tool to help diagnose canine arthritis

June 4, 2013
New tool to help diagnose canine arthritis

Veterinary scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed a new tool to support clinicians in treatment programmes for osteoarthritis in dogs.

Unlike most other diseases, which can be monitored by blood tests, there is no test for how uncomfortable a dog is when walking or how good their quality of life is as arthritis progresses.

Subjective

At Liverpool, veterinary scientists can measure ground reaction forces, such as peak vertical force, using force platforms or pressure-sensitive walkways, as a reliable way of measuring limb function, but it is currently available at very few research centres in the UK.

Dr Ben Walton, from the University's School of Veterinary Science, said: "In first opinion and referral practices canine mobility is assessed in a subjective fashion, either by a vet or owner. Assessment can differ between vets, and if more than one limb is affected it becomes even more difficult.

"Pain and mobility associated with this condition depends on recent activity levels, medication and even , which mean that a dog can have good and bad periods and any physical assessment will only provide a snapshot of the disease."

Dr Walton continued: "The most reliable data on this disease is often gathered from informally asking owners for their observations of their pet's behaviour. The difficulty until now has been knowing how to reliably record this valuable information so that it can recalled the next time the patient visits."

The team at Liverpool has devised a new tool, in questionnaire form, that attaches score rates to quantify the level of disease against key questions addressed to the dog's owner. The information is recorded digitally so that it can be referred to throughout a patient's treatment programme.

Grade activity and exercise levels

Owners are asked to grade their dog's activity and , and , and any changes that occur in different weather conditions.

Dr Walton added: "Pain is a subjective experience, so it is not unreasonable to measure it on a subjective scale. Owners are the best judge of their pet's behaviour and how they might be feeling.

"This record of behaviour history, together with clinical assessment, could provide a more detailed understanding of how the disease is progressing, and importantly how healthy and comfortable the dog is."

Explore further: Exercise restraint: Veterinarian says starting slow is way to go when introducing dog to physical activity

Related Stories

New insight into dogs' fear responses to noise

February 19, 2013

A study has gained new insight into domestic dogs' fear responses to noises. The behavioural response by dogs to noises can be extreme in nature, distressing for owners and a welfare issue for dogs.

Recommended for you

Researchers design first artificial ribosome

July 29, 2015

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins ...

Studies reveal details of error correction in cell division

July 29, 2015

Cell biologists led by Thomas Maresca at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with collaborators elsewhere, report an advance in understanding the workings of an error correction mechanism that helps cells detect and ...

Researchers discover new type of mycovirus

July 29, 2015

Researchers, led by Dr Robert Coutts, Leverhulme Research Fellow from the School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire, and Dr Ioly Kotta-Loizou, Research Associate at Imperial College, have discovered ...

Stressed out plants send animal-like signals

July 29, 2015

University of Adelaide research has shown for the first time that, despite not having a nervous system, plants use signals normally associated with animals when they encounter stress.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.