Evaluation of construct and criterion validity for the 'Liverpool Osteoarthritis in Dogs' (LOAD) clinical metrology instrument and comparison to two other instruments

PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58125. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058125. Epub 2013 Mar 7.


Objective: To test the 'Liverpool Osteoarthritis in Dogs' (LOAD) questionnaire for construct and criterion validity, and to similarly test the Helsinki Chronic Pain Index (HCPI) and the Canine Brief Pain Inventory (CBPI).

Design: Prospective Study.

Animals: 222 dogs with osteoarthritis.

Procedure: Osteoarthritis was diagnosed in a cohort of dogs on the basis of clinical history and orthopedic examination. Force-platform analysis was performed and a "symmetry index" for peak vertical force (PVF) was calculated. Owners completed LOAD, CBPI and HCPI instruments. As a test of construct validity, inter-instrument correlations were calculated. As a test of criterion validity, the correlations between instrument scores and PVF symmetry scores were calculated. Additionally, internal consistency of all instruments was calculated and compared to those previously reported. Factor analysis is reported for the first time for LOAD, and is compared to that previously reported for CBPI and HCPI.

Results: Significant moderate correlations were found between all instruments, implying construct validity for all instruments. Significant weak correlations were found between LOAD scores and PVF symmetry index, and between CBPI scores and PVF symmetry index.

Conclusion and clinical relevance: LOAD is an owner-completed clinical metrology instrument that can be recommended for the measurement of canine osteoarthritis. It is convenient to use, validated and, as demonstrated here for the first time, has a correlation with force-platform data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Dogs
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Male
  • Osteoarthritis / veterinary*
  • Pain / veterinary*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prospective Studies

Grant support

Salary for MBW and EC was funded by Pfizer Animal Health during the data collection phase of this study. Remaining funding was provided by University of Liverpool. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.