Systematic review of outcome measures reported in clinical canine osteoarthritis research

Belshaw Z, Asher L, Dean RS. Vet Surg. 2016 May; 45 (4): 480-7

OBJECTIVE: To record and categorize the outcome measures used in dogs with naturally occurring osteoarthritis (OA) by systematically reviewing the peer reviewed publications on OA in dogs.

STUDY DESIGN: Systematic literature review.

STUDY POPULATION: Peer reviewed literatureon canine OA.

METHODS: A computer-based bibliographic search was performed on PubMed and CAB Abstracts in August 2013 to find peer reviewed publications relevant to canine OA. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied. The outcome measures reported within each publication were recorded and categorized for comparison. Adequately described outcome measures were assessed for uniqueness and evidence of prior validation.

RESULTS: Of 3,697 publications identified and screened, 117 were deemed eligible for inclusion. Within eligible publications, outcome measures were used 618 times (median of 4 outcome measures per publication). Outcomes measured were divided into 5 groups containing 65 categories. The most frequently assessed outcomes were lameness assessment with no stated gait/mixed gaits (66 outcomes), radiography (58), and lameness single gait/lateral motion (55). Of 618 outcome measures reported, 491 were assessed for uniqueness and 348 (71%) were unique to a single publication. Ten outcome measures were reported to have been validated.

CONCLUSION: Many outcome measures have been used to assess canine OA. There is no consensus on which are the most useful outcomes or by which method they should be assessed. There is a pressing need for agreement on outcomes reporting in canine OA and for validation of outcome measures used for these assessments. Until consensus is reached, we recommend at least one validated outcome measure be used in every clinical study.