The aim of this study was to analyse muscle activity patterns of the hind limb extensor muscles (musculus biceps femoris, musculus quadriceps femoris and musculus gluteus medius) in ten clinically sound dogs of different breeds. Muscle activity was measured using surface electromyography during normal walk and special physiotherapeutic exercises (cavaletti, incline, and decline). For an objective exclusion of lameness the dogs were examined orthopedically, neurologically and kinetically. Surface electrodes were placed on the shaved skin over the selected muscle.
For each dog an individual EMG was evaluated by defining mean values at certain points of the motion cycle. The mean values of each dog were summarized separately for each muscle and exercise. The mean muscle activity as well as maximum, minimum, and their time of occurrence in the motion cycle were evaluated and statistically compared in both halves of the stance phase and during swing phase.
The results of the m. biceps femoris showed a significant higher maximal and mean activity at cavaletti compared to walk. Moreover cavaletti showed a different motion pattern than walk.
Further the m. quadriceps femoris had borderline significant and significant higher maximal and mean activity at cavaletti compared to walk. Additionally the m. quadriceps femoris showed a borderline higher maximal activity at incline compared to walk.
Significant lower minimal activity was found at incline compared to cavaletti. In addition the muscle showed a significant earlier appearance of one maximal activity at incline compared to cavaletti and a significant later appearance of maximal activity at decline compared to cavaletti. The m. gluteus medius had a small activity range throughout the entire motion cycle. Significant differences of the mean activity were found between incline and decline, cavaletti and decline, respectively. Incline also showed significant higher maximal activity compared to decline. Moreover a significant earlier appearance of the maximal activity at incline was detected compared to normal walk. Furthermore cavaletti showed a significant higher maximal activity compared to decline and revealed significant earlier appearance of the maximal activity compared to normal walk. At decline the minimal activity was significantly lower compared to incline. Significant higher mean activity was found at cavaletti compared to decline.
This study represents a database of muscle biomechanics in dogs during walking and special physiotherapeutic exercises. In summary the results of the current study revealed that the physiotherapeutic exercise cavaletti provides a suitable method to strengthen all of the above mentioned muscles. The m. quadriceps femoris and gluteus medius can be trained most effectively by walking incline.
surface electromyography / dog / hind limb / physiotherapeutic exercises
Publication(s) resulting from University thesis:
Breitfuss, K; Franz, M; Peham, C; Bockstahler, B
(2015): Surface Electromyography of the Vastus Lateralis, Biceps Femoris, and Gluteus Medius Muscle in Sound Dogs During Walking and Specific Physiotherapeutic Exercises.
Vet Surg. 2015; 44(5):588-595