Systematic review of ground reaction force measurements in cats

Schnabl E, Bockstahler B. Vet J. 2015 Oct; 206( 1): 83-90.

Although orthopaedic abnormalities in cats are frequently observed radiographically, they remain clinically underdiagnosed, and kinetic motion analysis, a fundamental aspect of orthopaedic research in dogs and horses, is not commonly performed. More information obtained with non-invasive measurement techniques to assess normal and abnormal gait in cats would provide a greater insight into their locomotion and biomechanics and improve the objective measurement of disease alterations and treatment modalities.

In this systematic review, 12 previously performed studies that investigated ground reaction force measurements in cats during locomotion were evaluated. The aims of these studies, the measurement methods and equipment used, and the outcomes of parameters used to assess both sound and diseased cats are summarised and discussed. All reviewed studies used pressure sensitive walkways to gain data and all provided an acclimatisation period as a prerequisite for measurements.

In sound cats during walking, the forelimb peak vertical force was greater than in the hindlimb and the peak vertical force in the hindlimb was greater in cats than in dogs. This review confirms that ground reaction forces can be used to evaluate lameness and treatment effects in the cat.