Physical activity measured with an accelerometer in dogs following extracapsular stabilisation to treat cranial cruciate ligament rupture

L A H Schuster, A L de Carvalho, E A R Dos Santos, M P de Oliveira, C A Camacho-Rozo, E Raposo Monteiro, M P Ferreira, M M Alievi
J Small Anim Pract. 2023 Jun 19. doi: 10.1111/jsap.13645.

Objectives: To quantify the physical activity levels in dogs with cranial cruciate ligament rupture before and after lateral fabellar suture stabilisation surgery.

Materials and methods: Seventeen dogs (mean weight, 12.3±5.1 kg) with unilateral cranial cruciate ligament rupture were fitted with an accelerometer for seven consecutive days at four different time points: before surgery (T0), one (T1), three (T3) and six (T6) months after surgery. The total activity and times spent in sedentary activity, light to moderate activity and vigorous activity were recorded by the accelerometer, and preoperative and postoperative data were compared. At all time points, dogs underwent clinical evaluations (lameness score, stifle pain score and thigh circumference) and their owners were asked to respond to questionnaires to subjectively score the physical activity and quality of life of the dogs.

Results: At the four time points, the dogs spent between 21.2 and 21.4 hours on sedentary behaviour, 2.3 and 2.5 hours performing light to moderate activity, and 13 to 15 minutes performing vigorous activity. There was no increase in physical activity variables or decrease in sedentary behaviour over time. Lameness scores, pain score and dogs' quality of life improved significantly during the postoperative period. At T6, 17 (100%) of 17 dogs presented no lameness, 16 (94%) of 17 dogs presented no stifle pain, 16 (94%) of 17 owners rated the quality of life as very good and excellent, and 16 (100%) of 16 owners reported a total return to normal activity levels.

Clinical significance: The clinical recovery after extracapsular stabilisation of the stifle joint was not associated with a spontaneous increase in physical activity or a decrease in sedentary behaviour.