2019 journal article
Development of a Novel Gait Analysis Tool Measuring Center of Pressure for Evaluation of Canine Chronic Thoracolumbar Spinal Cord Injury
JOURNAL OF NEUROTRAUMA, 36(21), 3018–3025.
Gait evaluation after spinal cord injury (SCI) is an important component of determining functional status. Analysis of center of pressure (COP) provides a dynamic reflection of global locomotion and postural control and has been used to quantify various gait abnormalities. We hypothesized that COP variability would be greater for SCI versus normal dogs and that COP would be able to differentiate varying injury severity. Our objective was to investigate COP, COP variability, and body weight support percentage in dogs with chronic SCI. Eleven chronically non-ambulatory dogs after acute severe thoracolumbar SCI were enrolled. COP measurements in x (right-to-left, COPx) and y (craniocaudal, COPy) directions were captured while dogs walked on a pressure-sensitive treadmill with pelvic limb sling support. Root mean square values (RMS_COPx and RMS_COPy) were calculated to assess variability in COP. Body weight support percentage was measured using a load cell. Gait also was quantified using an open field scale (OFS) and treadmill-based stepping and coordination scores (SS, RI). Mean COPx, COPy, RMS_COPx, and RMS_COPy were compared between dogs with SCI and previously evaluated healthy controls. RMS measurements and support percentage were compared with standard gait scales (OFS, SS, RI). Mean COPy was more cranial and RMS_COPx and RMS_COPy were greater in SCI versus normal dogs (p < 0.001). Support percentage moderately correlated with SS (p = 0.019; R2 = 0.47). COP analysis and body weight support measurements offer information about post-injury locomotion. Further development is needed before consideration as an outcome measure to complement validated gait analysis methods in dogs with SCI.