The aim of this study was to perform electromyographic measurements of the extensor (M. biceps brachii/M. brachialis) and flexor (M. triceps brachii) muscles of the elbow joint in healthy dogs.
Measurements were carried out during normal gait in walk and during special physiotherapeutic exercises. These contained of walking uphill, downhill and cavaletti work. The surface electrodes for the electromyography (EMG) were placed on the shaved and cleaned skin over the selected muscles. Additionally kinematic data were recorded simultaneously with the electromyographic measurement. The surface electromyography performed during normal walk and during special physiotherapeutic exercises revealed that the elbow flexor muscles showed their main activity during the swing phase while the elbow joint is flexed. In contrast the main activity of the elbow extensor muscle was recorded either during swing phase (decline, cavaletti) or early in the stance phase (walk, incline) while the elbow is extended.
Therefore this study showed that walking uphill is the best way to strengthen the extensor muscles, while the flexor muscle can be exercised best by walking uphill as well as downhill. Physiotherapeutic exercises aimed to strengthen the flexor and extensor muscles of the elbow can be performed more effectively, using the acquired knowledge about the activity patterns of the proximal forelimb muscles.
The results found in the current study could be used as baseline data for muscle biomechanics in the dog. Moreover data obtained in this study provide information for evaluation, follow up and targeted use of surgical and conservative treatments. Unfortunately so far not many studies have been carried out using surface EMG in dogs, especially measuring muscle activity of the front limbs. Therefore this study can be an impulse for further studies in this field of scientific research.
Surface electromyography, elbow joint, dog
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