To investigate, noninvasively, the soft tissue artifact (STA) in canine kinematic gait analysis.

Study Design

Experimental study.


Labrador retrievers (n = 4).


Kinematic study: Reflective markers were glued to the skin over bony landmarks, with the distance between 2 markers representing the length of the underlying scapula, humerus, ulna, femur, and crus. The distance between these markers (marker distance [MD]) was measured with infrared cameras while the dogs stood still or walked on a treadmill. Fluoroscopy study: Radiopaque markers were glued on the skin over the spinous process of the L6 vertebra and the stifle to allow fluoroscopic observation of the markers and underlying skeletal segments while the dogs walked on the treadmill. The position of the markers was compared with the position of the underlying skeletal segments during different phases of the step cycle.


Kinematic study: Significant differences were found between MD during standing and walking for all bones investigated. Mean percentage differences in MD ranged from –18% to +6%. Fluoroscopy study: Significant displacements relative to the bony landmarks were found ranging from 0.4 to 1.2 cm.


Analysis of the motion of skeletal structures with the use of markers attached to the skin showed that the skin moves relative to underlying skeletal structures. When working with a 3-D motion-capture system using skin markers, researchers should be aware that the STA could significantly influence their results.