A study using a canine hydrotherapy treadmill at five different conditions to kinematically assess range of motion of the thoracolumbar spine in dogs

Heidi Hodgson, Scott Blake, Roberta Ferro de Godoy

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Incline treadmill and underwater treadmill (UWTM) exercises are common canine rehabilitation modalities , which are often used in isolation in dogs recovering from spinal surgery. Early use of an incline during UWTM exercise may have the potential to improve rehabilitation outcomes in dogs, but, it is hypothesised that dorsoventral movement of the spine may be excessive meaning it is unsuitable in some circumstances.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to identify changes in canine spinal kinematics in dogs when using a dry treadmill at different angles of incline compared to an underwater treadmill using the same inclines.

METHODS: Eight dogs were encouraged to walk on a dry, horizontal, underwater treadmill as well as under the same conditions with both a 10% and 20% incline. This was then repeated at a 10% and 20% incline with the addition of water to hock level. Data were collected using reflective anatomical markers placed at the occipital protuberance, T1, T13, L3, L7 and sacral apex, captured by a high-speed camera facing the lateral aspect of the treadmill. Dorsoventral motion of the spine as well as flexion, extension and range of motion (ROM) of T1, T13, L3 and L7 were recorded.

RESULTS: We found significant differences in dorsoventral spinal ROM at T1, L3 and L7, but no significant differences in T13 ROM. No significant differences were found in flexion and extension of any of the joints assessed when comparing dry conditions to the use of water (P>0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: The lack of significant differences in joint flexion and extension at T1, T13, L3 and L7 indicates the potential safe use of combining underwater treadmill and incline exercise in canine rehabilitation. However, a lack of uniformity in results makes distinguishing any patterns of significance difficult. More research is needed to establish the effects of these exercises in additional planes of motion before a treatment protocol can be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Medicine and Science
Volume9
Issue number1
Early online date29 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dogs
  • Animals
  • Water
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exercise Test/veterinary
  • Hydrotherapy/veterinary

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