Surface Electromyography of the Vastus Lateralis and Gluteus Medius Muscles in Post-Operative T3-L3 Hemilaminectomy Dogs

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting dogs who recently had surgery for intervertebral disc extrusion or healthy dogs for the control group.  This investigational trial is to determine if  Surface electromyography (sEMG), a non-invasive technology can be used to measure muscle activity and contraction to evaluate canine patients with intervertebral disc extrusion (herniated disc) or other neurologic disorders. The goal of this study is to determine if sEMG demonstrates differences in muscle activation between normal and dogs with intervertebral disc extrusion.

Inclusion Criteria:  Chondrodysplastic dogs who recently had surgery for intervertebral disc extrusion or healthy dogs for the control group.

Treatment: This study involves a single visit. At this visit, hair will be shaved, and surface electrodes and sensors will be applied with self-adhesive stickers to 2 thigh muscles on both sides (vastus lateralis and gluteus medius). Each dog will walk 10 feet on a nonslip surface while the sEMG captures muscle activation signal. This procedure will also be video recorded. 

Costs: The study will cover the cost of sEMG data collection. There are no other costs associated with participation in this study, however if your dog is also receiving clinical care the same day you will be responsible for all costs associated with the clinic visit. 

Contact: Dr. John Schwartz –; (352) 392-2235 

Principal Investigators:  Dr. Jennifer A. Repac; (352) 392-2235 , Dr. Sheila Carrera-Justiz (352) 392-2235. Study Interest Form

Background: Surface EMG is well-established in the human literature as a technology used in clinical rehabilitation, especially in people with spinal cord injuries. The only research evaluating muscle activity in dogs with spinal myelopathies have used the more invasive needle EMG technology in anesthetized patients. No research has been performed using sEMG to measure muscle activity in dogs with difficulty walking following spinal decompression surgery. If we can quantify neurologic abnormalities using sEMG, it could be used as a prognostic indicator as well as an objective outcome measure for dogs recovering from spinal decompression surgery.


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