This study investigated the effects of osteoarthritis (OA) on somatosensory processing in dogs using mechanical threshold testing. A pressure algometer was used to measure mechanical thresholds in 27 dogs with presumed hind limb osteoarthritis and 28 healthy dogs. Mechanical thresholds were measured at the stifles, radii and sternum, and were correlated with scores from an owner questionnaire and a clinical checklist, a scoring system that quantified clinical signs of osteoarthritis. The effects of age and bodyweight on mechanical thresholds were also investigated. Multiple regression models indicated that, when bodyweight was taken into account, dogs with presumed osteoarthritis had lower mechanical thresholds at the stifles than control dogs, but not at other sites. Non-parametric correlations showed that clinical checklist scores and questionnaire scores were negatively correlated with mechanical thresholds at the stifles. The results suggest that mechanical threshold testing using a pressure algometer can detect primary, and possibly secondary, hyperalgesia in dogs with presumed osteoarthritis. This suggests that the mechanical threshold testing protocol used in this study might facilitate assessment of somatosensory changes associated with disease progression or response to treatment.
- Mechanical thresholds