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Table 3 Commonly employed behavioural tests of forelimb function

From: Animal models of post-ischemic forced use rehabilitation: methods, considerations, and limitations

Behavioural test Purpose Advantages Disadvantages
NSS Awards an overall score for determining general deficit +Encompasses a range of assessments, then compiles them into a single measure -Time intensive;
-Does not inform about the nature of specific deficits;
Cylinder test Assesses spontaneous forelimb use +Fast and easy to administer; -Video analysis can be time intensive
+Allows for analysis of a number of functional movements  
Montoya staircase test Assesses forelimb extension, dexterity, side bias, independent use of forelimbs +Easy to administer; -Intensive tests training which requires food deprivation;
-May confound results of task-
+Allows for analysis of both reaching distance and forepaw dexterity specific rehabilitation if performed often
Single pellet reaching task Assesses forelimb dexterity +Allows for in-depth analysis of the animal’s performance by isolating a single reach attempt -Intensive tests training which requires food deprivation;
-May confound results of task-specific rehabilitation if performed often
Horizontal ladder test Assesses forelimb stepping, placing, and coordination during locomotion +Can assess forelimb and hind limb damage -Can be complicated by post-surgical immobility
Forelimb flexion test Assesses postural reflex +Fast and easy to administer -Measures only postural reflexive position,
-Only awards a 0–2 score.
Forelimb placing test Assesses forelimb function and placing deficits +Fast and easy to administer -Measures only reflexive sensorimotor response;
    -Can be difficult to distinguish between reflexive response and initiated movement, therefore experimenter must be experienced at determining validity
  1. A summary of advantages and disadvantages of various tests of functional deficit and recovery.