Tools of the trade: Goniometer (Veterinary Instrumentation, 150mm and 300mm)

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Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Goniometer

by Gaya Elamparithi VN, Vogue Vets, Perth, WA

We do a lot of rehab in our practice and the Goniometer measures the range of movement in limbs. We use it commonly during their first post-op appointment to measure restricted movement and then reassess throughout the treatment to objectively measure improvements in a range of motion. It can be used on shoulders, hips, stifles, elbows and carpi. The Goniometer has two arms hinged together so it’s a simple matter to take a measurement.

What’s good about it

The results let us see if there has been progress during rehab. The post cruciate surgery rehab program lasts 12 weeks. By comparing measurements at the start and the end of the process, we can see if the animal has achieved a good range of motion. We use evidence-based medicine in our clinic and the Goniometer quantifies our results.

We also use it to diagnose hypermobility in cases where the animal may have laxity in their joints. We work to increase muscle tone to help them walk better.

While it’s fairly accurate, there is plenty of opportunity for error. We decrease the chance of this by having two people take the measurements. One holds the pet while the other takes the measurements. They then swap positions to ensure the most accurate results possible.

There are many facets to rehab—pain management, hydrotherapy, physio, therapeutic exercise—and the process is all about achieving improved movement. The Goniometer is one way to check that things are moving in the right direction. It’s a small, simple tool but it has a big impact.

What’s not so good

Human patients don’t have a problem when we are moving their limbs around. Checking an animal’s range of movement, however, can sometimes be difficult. I let the dogs give the Goniometer a good sniff so they’re comfortable with it. The animal needs to be calm and relaxed during the process. If they’re recovering from surgery, they can sometimes be a little uncooperative.

Where did you get it

Provet WA

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