Mobility, functionality and functional mobility: A review and application for canine veterinary patients

G Wells*, K Young, MJ Haskell, AC Carter, Dylan N. Clements

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Mobility is an essential aspect of a dog's daily life. It is defined as the ability to move freely and easily and deviations from an animals’ normal mobility capabilities are often an indicator of disease, injury or pain. When a dog's mobility is compromised, often functionality (ability to perform activities of daily living [ADL]), is also impeded, which can diminish an animal's quality of life. Given this, it is necessary to understand the extent to which conditions impact a dog's physiological ability to move around their environment to carry out ADL, a concept termed functional mobility. In contrast to human medicine, validated measures of canine functional mobility are currently limited. The aim of this review is to summarise the extent to which canine mobility and functionality are associated with various diseases and how mobility and functional mobility are currently assessed within veterinary medicine. Future work should focus on developing a standardised method of assessing functional mobility in dogs, which can contextualise how a wide range of conditions impact a dog's daily life. However, for a true functional mobility assessment to be developed, a greater understanding of what activities dogs do on a daily basis and movements underpinning these activities must first be established.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106123
JournalVeterinary Journal
Early online date19 Apr 2024
Publication statusFirst published - 19 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

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  • Pain
  • Mobility assessment
  • Canine activity
  • Dogs
  • Lameness


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