Gait and electromyographic alterations due to early onset of injury and eventual rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament in dogs: A pilot study

Adrian CP, Haussler KK, Kawcak CE, Reiser RF 2nd, Riegger-Krugh C, Palmer RH, McIlwraith CW, Taylor RA.
Vet Surg. 2019 Feb 13. doi: 10.1111/vsu.13178. [Epub ahead of print]

OBJECTIVE: Identify relevant electromyography (EMG), kinematic, and kinetic changes resulting from monopolar radiofrequency energy (MRFE)-induced cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injury and eventual rupture in dogs.

STUDY DESIGN: Experimental, repeated measures.

ANIMALS: Five purpose-bred female dogs free of orthopedic and neurologic disease.

METHODS: Surface EMG, joint kinematics, and ground reaction forces were assessed at a trot in the pelvic limbs at baseline, at 2 and 4 weeks after unilateral MRFE-induced CCL injury, and at 4, 8, and 16 weeks after CCL rupture (CCLR).

RESULTS: After MRFE-induced injury, average hip joint range of motion (ROM) during stance decreased within the untreated pelvic limb. After CCLR, stifle flexion angles decreased within the treated limb at 8 weeks and within the untreated pelvic limb at all time points, whereas average tarsal joint ROM decreased in the treated limb and increased in the untreated limb. Peak vertical ground reaction force and impulse decreased within the treated limb. Qualitative alterations of many EMG values were noted after MRFE-induced injury and CCLR, although significant differences between limbs or from baseline values were not detected.

CONCLUSION: Monopolar radiofrequency energy-induced injury altered contralateral hip kinematics, suggesting early regional compensatory gait alterations. After CCLR, additional compensatory gait patterns occurred in both pelvic limbs.

CLINICAL IMPACT: The qualitative analysis of trial-averaged EMG data in this small population supports a relationship between neuromuscular function and induced CCL injury leading to rupture.