Measuring activities in dogs with chronic arthritis

chocolate lab portrait
Principal Investigator
Caitlin Feiock, DVM
Assistant Professor, Veterinary Clinical Sciences

Andrea Chehadeh, CVT
Research Study Technician Specialist
[email protected]

Current status: Open and enrolling

Study title

Resultant vector acceleration to measure time spent performing activities of various intensity in normal dogs and in dogs with chronic pain secondary to arthritis

Purpose of study

Activity monitors can be a simple pedometer/step counter, but most are "inertial measurement units", or IMUs, that also measure acceleration and the position of a body in space. IMUs give us a way to objectively measure a pet's activity in their natural environment. Most IMUs are commercially available and have been used in clinical veterinary research in both dogs and cats. However, none of these has been fully validated. This study aims to measure activity in dogs that have chronic pain due to osteoarthritis (OA) before and after treatment with either a placebo or a common pain medication (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID).

Eligibility criteria

  • Any breed
  • Less than 10 years of age
  • In general good health (no on-going skin or ear conditions)
  • Not pregnant
  • Owner willing to follow IMU instructions
  • Have taken an NSAID (for example: Rimadyl or carprofen, Previcox, Deramaxx) in the past with no adverse effects (vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite) or received other treatment for arthritis
  • Have pain in one or more legs based upon orthopedic exam
  • Minimum LOAD score acceptable (Liverpool Osteoarthritis in Dogs owner assessment)
  • Have X-rays showing osteophytosis (bone spurs) in at least one joint
  • Have not taken oral pain medications for 7 days prior to enrollment
  • Have not had joint injections for 3 months prior to enrollment
  • Have not had surgery for 6 months prior to enrollment
  • All other medications will remain the same for the duration of the study


The study has three visits to the clinic:

  • Day 0: screen and enroll: complete physical and orthopedic exam, LOAD assessment, X-ray of affected joints (if none available). If the X-rays and LOAD score qualify, we will fit the dog with an IMU on a collar and dispense medication for the next 14 days.
  • Day 14: Owner only returns to clinic with the IMU for download and fresh batteries, to complete LOAD assessment, and to receive medication for the next 14 days.
  • Day 28: Final visit with the dog for exam, return the IMU and complete the LOAD assessment.


The study visits described above will be paid for by the study. At the final visit, with the return of the IMU, owners will be eligible to receive a $50 debit card.