Team Tests Proper Exercises for Dogs with Arthritis

August 30, 2010

Using a specially designed treadmill for dogs and computer algorithms, researchers from Vienna created an experiment to test three exercise regimes for arthritic dogs.

Using a specially designed treadmill for dogs and computer algorithms, researchers from Vienna created an experiment to test three exercise regimes for arthritic dogs.

The team, which included Peter Holler, of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, examined the movements of the joints in the front and back legs of dogs performing three different types of exercises used in physiotherapy. The movements included: walking uphill, walking downhill, and walking over low obstacles. They compared the findings to movements when the dogs walked on the level without obstacles.

The team found that the three regimes had different and specific effects on the movements of the dogs’ joints.

The results indicated that walking uphill and using obstacles could both play a part in therapy, while walking downhill does not appear to have much therapeutic benefit.

Walking uphill could be used to improve the flexibility of affected joint, particularly of the hip. Walking over low obstacles could be useful for improving the bending of joints in the fore- and hind limbs.

The study appears in the American Journal of Veterinary Research.