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Dog motion measurements

It is a fact that most of the pain experienced by dogs originates from the skeletal system. Other types of pain are visceral (organic) forms of pain or tumor pain. Another fact is that dogs suffer from headaches, so-called tension headaches, or cluster pains. On this subject and topic, I would like to inform you at another time.


Let us therefore revert to the orthopaedic pains.

It is a fact that incorrect and overloading of one or several joints can lead to osteoarthritis. Further consequences of the form function: changes of one or more joints can lead to inflammation, pain and, of course, to degenerative diseases. A further fact is that any objective measurement methods for movement patterns, whether related to human beings or animals, are currently lacking in practice. Under laboratory conditions, with great efforts, such systems are available which, however, cannot be used and transposed into practice. This situation is very unsatisfactory. In a recent published medical article of human medicine, this shortcoming has been reported, as well as about all the efforts taken to close the leak in this respect. For several years I have already been rather active and busy trying to change this situation. In my pilot test and trial, which ended a year ago, we have been able to achieve some interesting success which currently lies in the final phase of a new development.


Well first things first!

If the joints do not function as usual, the movement pattern is first compensated in the sense that the other leg takes over the additional workload of the bad leg. The consequence of this posture reduces the pain of the diseased joint, whereby the joint inflammation and the reduction of joint cartilage in diseased joints can progress obscured. Incipient osteoarthritis is not detected under these circumstances, and the abrasion of joints will also continue undetected, in other words, it will "thrive".  In the dog or horse this is certainly much more difficult to detect because of the compensation for a number of legs being available! Here's our first example:


Patient 4

Patient 4 is an 11-year-old Australian Shepherd with severe back change. He can no longer climb the stairs and runs very slowly. The diagnosis was made by CT, a high-grade stenosis (narrowing) in the lumbosacral junction. He was already registered for the back surgery. The dog owners were confused about the situation and requested an additional second opinion. The movement pattern was altered in such a way that the dog really moved very slowly and the hindquarters were tracked very widely.  In addition, the left thoracic limb caught my attention as the orthopaedic investigation revealed elbow osteoarthritis as well as pain in the shoulder girdle, which caused a clear limitation of activity of the back. The neurological examinations of peripheral reflexes, the proprioception and the postural and pointing reactions were still intact. As a consequence, the movement patterns of the patient were measured, x-rayed and thereafter treated with a manual orthopaedic therapy. During the following aftercare, the dog was measured again and treated with further manual therapies. Fortunately, the symptomatology normalized immediately and there was no further question as to why the patient should undergo any surgery, as was presented to me (and planned) initially. The dog has been able to climb stairs again, enjoyed swimming again (which he could not do for a long time) and was also rather fast moving during walks. The pains of the elbow osteoarthritis were limited / minimized and the mechanical impairment of osteoarthritis was kept under control. Although the dog has not been operated on, he is feeling well. In the figure below, you can see the pattern of movement for the left and right thoracic limb (left column relating to the left elbow, and the right hand column to the right elbow).



Fig. 3. Patient 4, position 2 sensor left (7) and right (6). On the left column the three measurements done on the left elbow are visualized. On the right part the right elbow.



On the next two sheets you see the energy and the peak frequency for the left elbow joints. In the diagram, Chart 4 shows the development of energy in this joint. This reflects the strength of the mobility in the joint. In Chart 5, you see the maximum flexibility of the elbow joint.  Both charts reveal a positive development of the changed joint.




Fig. 4. Patient 4, position 2 sensor left (7) Energy of the three measurements (blue = first measure, red = second measure, green = third measure)




Fig. 5. Patient 4, position 2 sensor left (7) Peak frequency of the three measurements (blue = first measure, red = second measure, green = third measure)





Röntgenaufnahmen des Patienten 4




What is really positive, regarding patient 4, is the fact that the movement pattern is performing very well indeed in spite of stenosis in the back and elbow osteoarthritis,  and this is without even adding or using any drugs/medicines! This proves that osteoarthritis is not only an inflammation, but also reflects a mechanical restriction. When we ask ourselves for explanations as to whether this movement measurements will bring any benefit, there are various reasons.

At this stage, and firstly, I would like to broach the topic of the disease and / or the prevention of osteoarthritis. Today, the treatment of osteoarthritis is very individual.  There are dogs which show little pain and hardly any conspicuous movement patterns, or rather hardly compensate for the movement even in cases of massive osteoarthritis. In turn, other dogs have little osteoarthritis, however do suffer from extremely painful joints and a limited general condition. What is the reason for this behaviour? The explanation is that such a dog cannot, for any obvious reason, adapt the movement pattern. This in turn means that the arthritis is subject to full friction. If you rub one hand against the other, then heat is created between your palms which starts quickly to ache. This happens if, and when, an osteoarthritis joint is moved. It is getting warm and the inflammation is in full swing. On the one hand, this is due to one or more joints, which do not take over the relief of the osteoarthritis joint and which itself has an on-going pain process (form-function change). On the other hand, osteoarthritis is a mechanical irritation and, once it is moved, an inflammation in each joint takes place and thus a pain process instead. Orthopaedically speaking, this dog is in a decompensation condition i.e. he is unable to compensate and relocate the malposition. Due to this vicious circle, the pain and inflammation processes begin to become systematic.  The dog gets increasingly quiet, avoids play, and sometimes begins to cut out food on the strength of this pain process. Due to the measurements, it is now apparent if movement occurs in the osteoarthritis joint, and as to how this should be interpreted, also, whether any other blockages or orthopaedic problems exist in the body (form-function changes). The aim and target of orthopaedic examination is to discover the problem areas and the treatment of these by selective ways and means. The more mobile an osteoarthritis joint is, the better the whole body is able to compensate for the incorrect loading and overloading, and the less pain and inflammation occurs in the body and in the skeletal system, and the less pain medication has to be used on the dog, resulting in the better general health of the dog. For a dog with osteoarthritis, the quality of life is the top priority. Inflammatories are important but too many of these can bring distress to the body system (liver and kidney).



Patient 8 (Charly)

Let's move to a second case study. This patient has a long case history. The main problem with this patient is his general condition. Let's call this dog Charly.  Charly is walking very slowly; is unmotivated; pants rapidly ; is a poor eater, and is regularly standing in a stooped posture.   As a young dog, Charly's left shoulder underwent surgery due to OCD.  Following any kind of strain, the dog limps repeatedly left front then left rear alternately.  Charly was already examined by various parties but no pathological findings have been ascertained which could explain the poor general condition, and the limping on the front and rear sides left. The thyroid values were changed only marginally. The other laboratory values were all within the usual norm. The substitution of thyroid hormones has yielded no improvement!

This patient is a clear chronic pain patient with a form-function change in the shoulder and pelvic girdles! The shoulder girdle is referring to and originating from the OCD surgery and the pelvic girdle can now be the compensation thereof, or the sequence of several small traumas in the pelvic girdle. As a result, a deformity in the thigh occurred, which in turn led to a changed pattern of movement with pain.



Fig. 9. Patient 8, position 2 sensor left (7) and right (6).




Fig. 10. Energy values of the acceleration vector, patient 8, position 2 sensor right.




Fig. 11. Patient 8, Position 2 sensor right, Energy signal.



In Chart 10 you see the power and energy of the movement. You also notice therein as to how the movement has improved massively and consequently became more vigorous. This was achieved by the orthopaedic manual therapy. In Chart 11 you see the "peak frequency. " This parameter describes the size of the movement. In the first measurement Charly made very small steps and in the third measurement, expansive movements are reflected. The conclusion is that due to mobilising, the  freedom of movement in the joint, i.e.  the "Range of Motion", has significantly improved while the pain has been reduced to a minimum.


To date, improvements in gait were collected purely subjectively. On the strength of this newly developed method, it is possible to measure changes in movement patterns objectively, especially if the eye is unable to recognise the fine movement patterns which can be raised with this method and, moreover, to adjust the diagnosis and  therapy accordingly. As from late summer, you will be able to make use of this measuring method in our Practice.




Röntgenaufnahmen des Patienten 8




Orthovet Informations


Dr. med. vet.

Patrick Blättler Monnier

Fasanenstrasse 13

4402 Frenkendorf

Tel. 061 903 11 11

Fax 061 903 11 13




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Office hours

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Summer holiday 21.06 - 16.07.2021

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Your pet is of most importance. To maintain this, we would like to draw your attention to our direct payment.

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Dr. med. vet.

Patrick Blättler Monnier

Fasanenstrasse 13

4402 Frenkendorf

Tel. 061 903 11 11

Fax 061 903 11 13




Anfahrt Kleintierpraxis


Fasanenstrasse 13

4402 Frenkendorf


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