02139-A: Development of a Neuromusculoskeletal Computer Simulation Gait Model to Characterize Functional Recovery in Dogs with Intervertebral Disk Herniation

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,740
Dr. Gina E Bertocci, PhD, University of Louisville
September 1, 2014 - August 31, 2017
Sponsor(s): Alaskan Malamute Club of America, American Belgian Tervuren Club, American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club Charitable Trust, American Pointer Club, Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute, Collie Health Foundation, English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association Foundation, Field Spaniel Society of America, German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America, Giant Schnauzer Club of America, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America, Health & Rescue Foundation of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Club of America, Irish Water Spaniel Club of America , Keeshond Club of America, National Beagle Club, Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Piedmont Border Collie Association, Siberian Husky Club of America, St. Bernard Club of America, Toby's Foundation, United States Australian Shepherd Foundation, Vizsla Club of America, Vizsla Club of America Welfare Foundation
Breed(s): Dachshund
Research Program Area: Neurology

Abstract

Intervertebral disk herniation (IVDH) leads to spinal cord injury (SCI) in dogs. The most commonly affected breed is the Dachshund, of which 19% develop IVDH. IVDH compresses the spinal cord and can lead to paralysis, incontinence, reduced quality of life, permanent neurological deficits and secondary conditions. Dogs that receive decompressive surgery (standard of care) and rehabilitation immediately following IVDH may regain the ability to walk. Certain aspects of recovery, such as muscle activation patterns, are not clearly understood and play a pivotal role in whether dogs regain full function of their limbs. Scientists know that neurologic disruption following IVDH alters muscle recruitment strategies leading to compensatory changes in muscle function post-injury. An improved understanding of muscle activation during walking following IVDH-associated SCI is paramount to developing strategies to enable full recovery. The goal of Dr. Bertocci�s study is to characterize individual muscle activation patterns during walking. Her research group is responsible for development of landmark computer simulation techniques that have transformed our understanding of Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease. She will now apply this successful methodology to IVDD and assess muscle function in: 1) a healthy Dachshund, 2) a Dachshund with moderate IVDH-associated SCI following surgical decompression at multiple time points during recovery. Proof-of-principle computer models will be developed based on medical imaging, and hind-limb motion, ground reaction forces, and body weight support provided during walking. They will characterize differences in hind-limb motion and muscle activation patterns during walking between the healthy dog and dog with SCI, as well as differences in the dog with SCI throughout recovery. Their outcomes will enhance understanding of functional recovery following surgical treatment of IVDH, which will provide a foundation for improved clinical decision making regarding treatment options and investigating future therapeutic interventions. Funding for the research is provided through the efforts and generosity of the Dachshund Club of America.

Publication(s)

None at this time.

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