Force plate analysis to evaluate arthritis pain in dogs is not a new invention. It's a great tool. It involves having a dog walk across a plate, or walk-way, that measures the amount of weight put on by each limb.
It is an objective, high-tech way of evaluating the pain level and response to treatment in arthritic dogs.
But I haven't seen one in a any of our vet's offices, have you?
I would have loved being able to have Jasmine's situation and progress evaluated this way.
However, scientists at the University of Liverpool believe, that the most reliable data can often be gathered from owner observations of their dog's behavior.
Because pain and mobility associated with arthritis can change with recent activity level, medication, and even weather conditions, is the force-plate analysis such a good measure after all?
It only offers a snapshot of a short moment in time. What if your dog is just having an exceptionally bad (or good) day? And what happens when multiple, or even all four limbs are affected?
Could it be that good ol' observation is the answer after all?
Even the best observation, though, is only as good as the record of it. With Jasmine, I learned that early on. Yes, you remember how your dog did today, or even yesterday, but how accurately do you recall last week? Together with Jasmine's vet we developed a detailed chart, which evolved over time to include all information that was relevant to Jasmine's health at the time.
For arthritic dogs, the veterinary scientists at the University of Liverpool developed a new questionnaire that should help quantify the level of disease.
"This record of behavior history, together with clinical assessment, could provide a more detailed understanding of how disease is progressing, and more importantly, how healthy and comfortable the dog is," says Dr. Watton of Liverpool University.
So maybe a low-tech approach can paint a better picture and our observation of our dogs and can be more useful than one would think.
New tool to help diagnose canine arthritis