Identification of canine osteoarthritis using an owner-reported questionnaire and treatment monitoring using functional mobility tests

A Wright, D M Amodie, N Cernicchiaro, B D X Lascelles, A M Pavlock, C Roberts, D J Bartram
J Small Anim Pract. 2022 Apr 6. doi: 10.1111/jsap.13500.

Objectives: To investigate the diagnostic value of an owner-completed canine osteoarthritis screening checklist to help identify previously undiagnosed osteoarthritis cases, and assess their response to carprofen treatment by monitoring pain and functional mobility.

Materials and methods: Dogs (n=500) whose owners reported ≥1 positive response to the osteoarthritis checklist were examined to identify dogs with previously undiagnosed osteoarthritis. Eligible dogs (n=133) were evaluated for pain and video mobility analysis by Helsinki Chronic Pain Index and visual analogue scale scores, respectively, following carprofen treatment, administered for 30 days (n=95) or up to 120 days (n=38). Dogs were filmed at clinics performing activities (walking, jogging, sitting/lying, walking up and down stairs), and scored at days 0, 30 and 120 using visual analogue scale by an independent blinded expert.

Results: A diagnosis of osteoarthritis was confirmed by a veterinarian in 38% (188 of 500) of dogs. Balance of sensitivity and specificity across the original group of nine screening questions was optimised to approximately 88 and 71%, respectively, after elimination of three questions. Pain measured by Helsinki Chronic Pain Index and functional mobility improved over time in response to treatment with carprofen. Mean ability scores for activities significantly improved between days 0 and 30 for walking, jogging, sitting/lying and walking down stairs, and days 0 and 120 for sitting/lying and walking up stairs.

Clinical significance: More osteoarthritis cases were identified in study dogs than previous prevalence estimates, indicating the screening checklist's potential to help identify for further evaluation cases that could otherwise remain undiagnosed. Improvements in function were demonstrated after carprofen treatment.