Repeatability of quantitative sensory testing in healthy cats in a clinical setting with comparison to cats with osteoarthritis

Elena Addison, Dylan Clements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to evaluate the repeatability of quantitative sensory tests (QSTs) in a group of healthy untrained cats (n=14) and to compare those results to cats with osteoarthritis (n=7).

Peak vertical force (PVF) and vertical impulse (VI) were measured on a pressure plate system. Thermal sensitivity was assessed using a temperature-controlled plate at 7°C and 40°C. Individual paw lifts and overall duration of paw lifts were counted and measured for each limb. Paw withdrawal thresholds were measured using manual and electronic von Frey monofilaments (MVF and EVF respectively) applied to the metacarpal or metatarsal pads. All measurements were repeated twice to assess repeatability of the tests.

In healthy cats all tests were moderately repeatable. When compared to cats with osteoarthritis the PVF was significantly higher in healthy hindlimbs in repeat one but not in repeat two. Cats with osteoarthritis of the forelimbs showed an decrease in the frequency of paw lifts on the 7°C plate compared to cats with healthy forelimbs and the duration of paw lifts was significantly less than healthy forelimbs in the first repeat but not in the second repeat. Osteoarthritic limbs had significantly lower paw withdrawal thresholds with both MVF and EVF than healthy limbs.

Conclusions and relevance
QSTs are moderately repeatable in untrained cats. Kinetic gait analysis did not permit differentiation between healthy limbs and those with osteoarthritis, but thermal sensitivity testing (cold) does. Sensory threshold testing can differentiate osteoarthritic and healthy limbs and may be useful in diagnosis and monitoring of this condition in cats in the clinical setting.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1098612X17690653
Pages (from-to)1274-1282
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
Issue number12
Early online date9 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


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