Variance associated with subject velocity and trial repetition during force platform gait analysis in a heterogeneous population of clinically normal dogs

Hans EC, Zwarthoed B, Seliski J, Nemke B, Muir P. Vet J. 2014 Dec; 202 (3): 498-502.

Factors that contribute to variance in ground reaction forces (GRF) include dog morphology, velocity, and trial repetition. Narrow velocity ranges are recommended to minimize variance. In a heterogeneous population of clinically normal dogs, it was hypothesized that the dog subject effect would account for the majority of variance in peak vertical force (PVF) and vertical impulse (VI) at a trotting gait, and that narrow velocity ranges would be associated with less variance.

Data from 20 normal dogs were obtained. Each dog was trotted across a force platform at its habitual velocity, with controlled acceleration (±0.5 m/s(2)). Variance effects from 12 trotting velocity ranges were examined using repeated-measures analysis-of-covariance. Significance was set at P <0.05. Mean dog bodyweight was 28.4 ± 7.4 kg. Individual dog and velocity significantly affected PVF and VI for thoracic and pelvic limbs (P <0.001). Trial number significantly affected thoracic limb PVF (P <0.001). Limb (left or right) significantly affected thoracic limb VI (P = 0.02). The magnitude of variance effects from largest to smallest was dog, velocity, trial repetition, and limb. Velocity ranges of 1.5-2.0 m/s, 1.8-2.2 m/s, and 1.9-2.2 m/s were associated with low variance and no significant effects on thoracic or pelvic limb PVF and VI. A combination of these ranges, 1.5-2.2 m/s, captured a large percentage of trials per dog (84.2 ± 21.4%) with no significant effects on thoracic or pelvic limb PVF or VI.

It was concluded that wider velocity ranges facilitate capture of valid trials with little to no effect on GRF in normal trotting dogs. This concept is important for clinical trial design.