Dog owners concerned about daily living with osteoarthritis

Carprofen for the treatment of dogs with osteoarthiritis significantly improves owner-assessed chronic pain as well as lameness compared with placebo, show US study results.

However, owner assessments of pain on the Canine Brief Pain Inventory (CBPI) did not correlate with force plate gait analysis (FPGA) assessments of lameness, indicating that owners focus on behavior outcomes other than lameness.

Indeed, owners may be much more interested in their dog as a whole "and its ability to perform its activities of daily living in its home environment, as opposed to increased or decreased use of a single limb at a walk or trot," suggests the research team.

Dorothy Brown (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia) and co-workers compared CBPI and FPGA results in 68 dogs with osteoarthritis (50 hind limb, 18 forelimb) before and 14 days after daily treatment with either carprofen or placebo.

Animals were randomly assigned to one of the two treatment groups, and those that received the drug were treated at a dose of 4.4 mg/kg (n=33).

The CBPI allows owners to give a pain severity (PS) score out of 10 (where 10 equals extreme pain) and a pain interference (PI) score out of 10 (where 10 denotes complete interference), while the FPGA assesses animals' gait using a single piezoelectric force plate.

After 14 days of treatment, PS and PI scores were significantly reduced in dogs that received carprofen compared with placebo, by 1.2 and 1.1 points compared with 0.2 and 0.2 points, respectively.

Similarly, changes in peak vertical force and vertical impulse, as measured by the FPGA, improved significantly in the carprofen compared with the placebo group, by 3.20 and 0.32 points compared with -1.30 and -0.09 points, respectively.

Despite these similar patterns, there were no significant correlations or concordances between the CBPI and the FPGA, in data for either the front or hind limb, report Brown et al.

This latter finding was "unexpected," they write, in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

It suggests that "although both vertical forces and owner assessment using the CBPI are useful and appropriate tools to prove intervention efficacy in dogs with osteoarthritis, they are quantifying different things," they add.

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