The Benefit of the Gait4Dog System in Clinical Practice
James S. Gaynor DVM, MS
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia
Diplomate, American Academy of Pain Management
Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner
Peak Performance Veterinary Group
Frisco, CO

The Gait4Dog computerized gait analysis system is an invaluable tool in my veterinary practice. We use the system in 3 different ways, screening of “normal” dogs, defining lameness and assessing outcome of therapies.

We have determined that Gait4Dog computerized gait analysis should be a part of annual routine preventative medicine checks for dogs. Although we do provide primary care for pet dogs, our practice has dove-tailed into providing musculoskeletal care for law enforcement, agility, and search and rescue dogs. These dogs typically have very astute handlers who recognize subtle changes in their dogs’ behaviors and gaits. Despite the handlers’ close attention, we have identified that ~85% of dogs whose handlers believe they are normal actually have subclinical changes in pressure bearing in one or more limbs. The computer analysis drives a more detailed assessment of range of motion and possible pain. Identification of these subtle changes then allows immediate institution of an appropriate therapy before the problem becomes clinically significant.

We use the Gait4Dog system in every dogwhich comes into our practice for assessment of pain, as long as the dog weighs greater than 12 pounds, has 4 legs, and does not have neurologic deficits. We interview the owners to determine their assessment of the problem and which limbs they believe to affected. During this time, dogs are undergoing a computerized gait analysis. Afterwards, we examine all dogs from neck to tail, assessing muscle sensitivities and pain, and limitations in range of motion. Integration of all the information allows a specific and detailed assessment of abnormalities. It is just not unusual for an owner to have identified the correct limb with a problem when it is very obvious. The gait analysis report then allows us to put an objective assessment and set of numbers to the problem. Owners truly are amazed at the technology and the gait printout which accompanies the discharge instructions. With less obvious gait issues, the Gait4Dog system helps us identify an area of abnormal pressure bearing and pain, typically to the surprise of the owner. The confirmation of an objective computerized assessment helps provide legitimacy in the owner’s mind of what has been discovered on physical examination.

Since virtually all of our canine patients undergo Gait4Dog computerized gait analysis, we have baseline information year to year in normal dogs and then recognize abnormalities when they occur. We then also have baseline assessments for dogs in which we identify abnormalities. As we implement one or more interventions we use the Gait4Dog system, in conjunction with owner impression and physical examination to provide an outcome assessment. The Gait4Dog system is our objective assessment. Frequently, the Gait4Dog system corroborates what the owner believes in terms of improvement and once again provides a numerical value to validate the owner assessment. We then use the system for serial evaluations to track a dog’s progress and improvement. Sometimes an owner believes the dog has not improved at all. The Gait4Dog system can validate this or not. It is common that the objective computerized assessment actually identifies improvement in pressure bearing. While the improvement may not be clinical, it allows us to know that we are proceeding down the correct pathway, giving owners confidence in our knowledge and services. Of course, sometimes the dog has not improved, and may have actually worsened based on gait analysis. This information is just as valuable and positive outcome gait analysis. It drives us to rethink our diagnosis and treatment plan quickly develop and therapeutic intervention and possible another set of diagnostics.

The Gait4Dog system sets our practice apart from practices locally and regionally. There is no other way for us to have the same clinically relevant assessment information in a timely manner. It has become obvious to our clients and ourselves that we practice a much high level of medicine with the Gait4Dog system. We certainly could not envision going forward practicing without it.