The magnitude of muscular activation of four canine forelimb muscles in dogs performing two agility-specific tasks

Publication type
Journal article
Cullen KL Dickey JP Brown SH Nykamp SG Bent LR Thomason JJ Moens NM
Date published
2017 Mar 07
BMC Veterinary Research
Open Access?

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to measure the muscular activation in four forelimb muscles while dogs performed agility tasks (i.e., jumping and A-frame) and to provide insight into potential relationships between level of muscular activation and risk of injury. Muscle activation in eight healthy, client-owned agility dogs was measured using ultrasound-guided fine-wire electromyography of four specific forelimb muscles: Biceps Brachii, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, and Triceps Brachii - Long Head, while dogs performed a two jump sequence and while dogs ascended and descended an A-frame obstacle at two different competition heights. RESULTS: The peak muscle activations during these agility tasks were between 1.7 and 10.6 fold greater than walking. Jumping required higher levels of muscle activation compared to ascending and descending an A-frame, for all muscles of interest. There was no significant difference in muscle activation between the two A-frame heights. CONCLUSIONS: Compared to walking, all of the muscles were activated at high levels during the agility tasks and our findings indicate that jumping is an especially demanding activity for dogs in agility. This information is broadly relevant to understanding the pathophysiology of forelimb injuries related to canine athletic activity