The gait pattern of ten dogs with clinical signs and radiographic evidence of cubarthrosis was analysed by ground reaction forces to determine compensatory load redistribution. A control group of 21 clinically and orthopaedically sound dogs was evaluated, too. A second measurement of eleven dogs of the sound group was taken after induction of a slight lameness of the left forelimb. This reversible lameness was induced by fixing a plastic bottle cap which was wrapped into cotton with an adhesive tape and bandage on the ball of the second toe.
The measurements were performed at walk on a treadmill with four integrated force plates. The evaluated ground reaction forces were normalised by the individual body weight of the dog. The results were compared within and between groups.
Peak vertical force, mean vertical force and vertical impulse showed decreased values in the affected limb and compensatory increased values in the contralateral forelimb of the group with naturally occurring lameness and of the group with induced lameness. Furthermore, an increased peak vertical force in the diagonal hindlimb of both groups with lameness was found. Only dogs with cubarthrosis revealed an increased mean vertical force in the diagonal hindlimb. The stance duration of the dogs with naturally occurring lameness in the affected limb decreased. No significant difference was found between the stance duration in the affected limb and the hindlimbs. This was compensated with an elongated swing duration.
An overall decreased loading in the affected forelimb was compensated with an increased loading in the contralateral forelimb and the diagonal hindlimb. Dogs with cubarthrosis showed more severe lameness than the dogs with induced temporary lameness.
The results of load redistribution of this study relieve the preparation of the physiotherapeutic therapy for patients suffering from cubarthrosis. Long term evaluation could give information about the effect of increased loading in limbs and the spinal column.