Objective To determine if environmental variables affect the average daily activity counts (AC) of dogs with osteoarthritis (OA) and/or owners' perception of their dog's clinical signs or quality of life.
Methods The AC and Canine Brief Pain Inventory (CBPI) owner questionnaires of 62 dogs with OA were compared with daily environmental variables including the following: average temperature (°C), high temperature (°C), low temperature (°C), relative humidity (%), total precipitation (mm), average barometric pressure (hPa) and total daylight hours.
Results Daily AC significantly correlated with average temperature and total daylight hours, but average temperature and total daylight hours accounted for less than 1% of variation in AC. No other significant relationships were found between daily AC and daily high temperature, low temperature, relative humidity, total precipitation or average barometric pressure. No statistical relationship was found between daily AC and the CBPI, nor between environmental variables and the CBPI. Canine Brief Pain Inventory scores for pain severity and pain interference decreased significantly over the test period.
Clinical Significance The relationship between daily AC and average temperature and total daylight hours was significant, but unlikely to be clinically significant. Thus, environmental variables do not appear to have a clinically relevant bias on AC or owner CBPI questionnaires. The decrease over time in CBPI pain severity and pain interference values suggests owners completing the CBPI in this study were influenced by a caregiver placebo effect.