Combining Evaluation Tools


Assessing the Canine Patient

After receiving the veterinary notes and diagnosis, I like to use (where applicable) 4 tools for evaluating my canine patient:

  1. Infra-red image
  2. Dynamic gait analysis
  3. Hands on palpation
  4. ROM (range-of-movement) assessment


Combined these give me a good understanding of both the primary and secondary (compensatory) issues.


Problem with the thoracic spine

One case demonstrates this approach really well, both in understanding the problem and evaluating treatment efficacy. The patient had been having problems jumping in Agility (measuring)*. The vet had diagnosed pain in mid thoracic spine, probably related to a soft tissue strain (or trigger point).

Infrared canine image











Patient evaluation

1) Thermal image shows heat spot on thoracic area
2) Gait analysis (GLS)** shows less weight bearing on left hand side
3) Reluctance to flex left shoulder
4) Sensitive to palpation mid thoracic spin


These can be seen in the images on this page.

  • Left hand image represents the patient before treatments.
  • The right hand image represents patient after treatments

Canine gait analysis



This was based around multiple sessions of LASER using the MKW IIIB in conjunction with soft tissue release (STR). Combined the aim was to reduce the trigger point sensitivity in the thoracic area and restore ROM in the shoulder. The owner was also given a home exercise program to compliment the consultation based treatments.



The tools provided a focus the the veterinary diagnosis, allowing for targeted treatments. The dog has now returned to Agility, and the owner reports that they are both enjoying the sport again with no reoccurance of issues.


*Measuring', essentially taking bunny hops to clear a fence rather than a smooth jumping action.

**GLS Score

  • The GLS score is designed to show a grade for the amount of off loading and over loading of a limb.  
  • A perfect score is 100.  Numbers below 100 indicate a level of off loading of a limb (lameness).  
  • Numbers above 100 indicate over loading of a limb (compensation).  
  • GLS scores in the range of 83 - 92 indicate a grade 1 lameness.  
  • GLS scores of 47 - 83 indicate a grade 2 lameness.  
  • GLS scores below 47 represent a grade 3 lameness.