Three-Dimensional Kinematic Gait Analysis of Doberman Pinschers with and without Cervical Spondylomyelopathy

K. Foss, R. C. da Costa, S. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The optimal treatment of cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM) is controversial, with the owner's and clinician's perception of gait improvement often being used as outcome measures. These methods are subjective and suffer from observer bias. Objectives: To establish kinematic gait parameters utilizing digital motion capture in normal Doberman Pinschers and compare them with CSM-affected Dobermans. Animals: Nineteen Doberman Pinschers; 10 clinically normal and 9 with CSM. Methods: All dogs were enrolled prospectively and fitted with a Lycra® body suit, and motion capture was performed and used to reconstruct a 3-D stick diagram representation of each dog based on 32 reflective markers, from which several parameters were measured. These included stride duration, length, and height; maximal and minimal spinal angles; elbow and stifle flexion and extension; and maximum and minimum distances between the thoracic and pelvic limbs. A random-effects linear regression model was used to compare parameters between groups. Results: Significant differences between groups included smaller minimum (mean = 116 mm; P = .024) and maximum (mean = 184 mm; P = .001) distance between the thoracic limbs in CSM-affected dogs. Additionally, thoracic limb stride duration was also smaller (P = .009) in CSM-affected dogs (mean = 0.7 seconds) when compared with normal dogs (mean = 0.8 seconds). In the pelvic limbs, the average stifle flexion (mean = 100°; P = .048) and extension (mean = 136°; P = .009), as well as number of strides (mean = 2.7 strides; P = .033) were different between groups. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Our findings suggest that computerized gait analysis reveals more consistent kinematic differences in the thoracic limbs, which can be used as future objective outcome measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical instability
  • Digital motion capture
  • Dog
  • Wobbler

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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