Developing a testing battery for measuring dogs’ stifle functionality: the Finnish Canine Stifle Index (FCSI)

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Abstract

This study aimed at developing a quantitative testing battery for dogs’ stifle functionality, as, unlike in human medicine, currently none is available in the veterinary field. Forty-three dogs with surgically treated unilateral cranial cruciate ligament rupture and 21 dogs with no known musculoskeletal problems were included. Eight previously studied tests: compensation in sitting and lying positions, symmetry of thrust in hindlimbs when rising from lying and sitting, static weight bearing, stifle flexion and extension and muscle mass symmetry, were summed into the Finnish Canine Stifle Index (FCSI). Sensitivities and specificities of the dichotomised FCSI score were calculated against orthopaedic examination, radiological and force platform analysis and a conclusive assessment (combination of previous). One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA)was used to evaluate FCSI score differences between the groups. Cronbach’s alpha for internal consistency was calculated. The range of the index score was 0–263, with a proposed cut-off value of 60 between ‘adequate’ and ‘compromised’ functional performance. In comparison to the conclusive assessment, the sensitivity and specificity of the FCSI were 90 per cent and 90.5 per cent, respectively. Cronbach’s alpha for internal reliability of the FCSI score was 0.727. An estimate of the surgically treated and control dogs’ FCSI scores were 105 (95 per cent CI 93 to 116) and 20 (95 per cent CI 4 to 37), respectively. The difference between the groups was significant (P<0.001).

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