Learn more about what a stance analyzer is and how it helps your vet determine a game plan for helping your dog.
What is a Stance Analyzer?
Stance analyzers are a tool your dog steps on, placing a paw in each quadrant on the plate. It assesses the weight distribution on each leg, detecting unequal weight distribution.
This tool can help a vet diagnose medical issues like hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, osteoarthritis, intervertebral disc disease, and cruciate ligament tears (CCL).
It’s an accurate, objective, non-invasive, and fast method to collect data. And, it’s easy to use as a vet can remotely control it to take fast snapshots of the dog’s stance.
The system then averages the data collected by each capture to provide an overall assessment.
How Does a Stance Analyzer Help?
A stance analyzer helps your rehab vet quickly evaluate how a patient is standing and shifting weight. This is particularly helpful as collecting this data removes subjectivity and provides an objective reporting.
Knowing how a dog is holding their weight can help to identify lameness and where to look for it. Lameness is a clinical sign relative to a physiological or mechanical change in the body, resulting in an impact on their gait and the dog’s ability to move its body. It can be due to an injury, pain, or abnormal anatomy.
Evaluating lameness can be subjective and a challenge to quantify. With a stance analyzer, a vet has data with which to do so.
It can be used as an early warning system of sorts to identify an issue before an owner even realizes it. Just like people, dogs can learn to compensate for a feeling of discomfort or pain. Mild lameness can often unnoticed, even by a vet.
By identifying lameness early on, the vet and owner have the means to proactively address the issue, before it becomes severe. A vet may recommend additional diagnostics, other treatment options, supplements, or prescriptions to help.
Who Uses a Stance Analyzer?
Rehab vets generally use stance analyzers during an initial evaluation of a dog. And, they also use it for re-checks to objectively determine progress from a prescribed treatment plan. And, if the stance analyzer doesn’t show progress, the data may suggest an alternative treatment is needed.
Primary vets may also use them during wellness exams, limping evaluations, and re-checks.
What's a Normal Reading on Stance Analyzer?
As you might expect, readings on a stance analyzer will vary. And most dogs don’t hold perfectly still, so rehab vets expect a range in the reading.
A normal reading is 30%/30% in the front and 20%/20% in the back. However, this can vary plus or minus by one or even two percent given a dog’s movement on the tool. This is why it’s important to take three to five “readings,” and each is an average of a dozen or so individual single readings.
What to Do if You Think Your Dog Has a Mobility Issue
If your dog is limping or seems to have a mobility issue, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your primary vet right away. They are able to evaluate your dog to determine an appropriate course of action.
Of course, if your dog is currently seeing me, please bring it up at your next appointment. Or contact me and I can try to fit you in sooner. I do tend to book out a couple of months for new patients, and it’s often a good idea to not wait.
A stance analyzer is a useful tool for proactively identifying potential mobility issues, objectively securing data to quantify an issue, and determining the effectiveness of a mobility treatment plan. It’s one of many tools rehab vets use to help your dog live the best life possible.