Mobility and spontaneous activity may be compromised during chronic disease. Measurement of these may help the veterinarian evaluate quality of life and treatment efficacy. Controlled testing done in laboratories has typically been the preferred method, but now other ways to test are being researched. In humans with chronic heart failure, impaired mobility at home (measured with a pedometer) is a strong predictor of early death and outperforms the standard in-house treadmill exercise capacity. This study evaluated the correlation between activity as measured by an accelerometer and videographic measurements of movement and mobility in 4 healthy dogs. The accelerometer was small-about the size of a U.S. quarter-and could be attached to various places on the dog. The results compared well, and the authors felt that the accelerometer would provide important information unattainable by other methods.

COMMENTARY: The ability to compare activity before and after treatment will be a helpful tool, not only for companies evaluating therapies but also for practitioners in evaluating their patients' responses. Along with owner assessments and laboratory evaluation, the accelerometer may provide a method to ensure that veterinarians are achieving the primary goal of improving quality of life for their patients with chronic disease.

Evaluation of an accelerometer for at-home monitoring of spontaneous activity in dogs. Hansen BD, Lascelles BDX, Keene BW, et al. Am J Vet Res 68:468-475, 2007.