Replicate effects and test–retest reliability of quantitative sensory threshold testing in dogs with and without chronic pain

David Knazovicky, Erika S. Helgeson, Beth Case, Andrea Thomson, Margaret E. Gruen, William Maixner, B. Duncan X. Lascelles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective To evaluate replicate effects and test–retest reliability of mechanical and thermal quantitative sensory testing (QST) in normal dogs and dogs with osteoarthritis (OA)-associated pain. Study design A prospective clinical study. Animals A total of 54 client owned dogs (OA, n = 31; controls, n = 23). Methods Mechanical [electronic von Frey (EVF) and blunt pressure] and thermal (hot and cold) sensory thresholds were obtained in dogs with OA-associated pain and control dogs at two visits, 7 days apart, to assess test–retest reliability. Thresholds were measured at the OA-affected joint (hip or stifle), over the tibial muscle and over the midpoint of the metatarsals. Five replicates were obtained for each modality at each site bilaterally. Results Overall, there was no significant effect of replicates on QST response. EVF thresholds were significantly lower at the second visit in OA dogs at the affected and metatarsal sites (p = 0.0017 and p = 0.0014, respectively). Similarly for control dogs, EVF thresholds were significantly lower at the second visit at the metatarsal site (p = 0.001). Significantly higher hot thermal latencies were seen in OA dogs at the affected and tibial testing sites (p = 0.014 and p = 0.012, respectively), and in control dogs at the tibial site (p = 0.004). Conclusions In QST, a replicate does not show a strong effect. However, QST results show variability over time, particularly for EVF and hot thermal stimuli. Clinical relevance If QST is to be used clinically to evaluate a sensitized state, the variability over time needs to be accounted for in the study design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-624
Number of pages10
JournalVeterinary anaesthesia and analgesia
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine (instruments), Morris Animal Foundation (salary support under Grant No. D13CA-406 ) and Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica (screening of dogs under Grant No. BI-43041162 ). ESH was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-1144081 . MEG receives funding support from the National Institutes of Health Ruth L Kirschstein National Research Service Award ( T32OD011130 ). The authors thank Ms Lyndy Harden for assistance in the collection of data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists and American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia

Keywords

  • central sensitization
  • chronic pain
  • dogs
  • quantitative sensory testing
  • replicate effect

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