Canine Elbow Dysplasia

Presenter – Ben Walton BVSc CertSAS MRCVS, Referral Veterinary Orthopaedic Surgeon

As a last minute stand in, Ben Walton did a great job presenting an in-depth veterinary webinar organised by The Webinar Vet discussing elbow dysplasia in the dog. Indeed to present the amount of information at the level delivered was quite a feat especially within the space of an hour and at such short notice.

This was definitely a webinar all aspiring orthopods would relish, providing advice on diagnosing and managing this debilitating disease using evidence from peer reviewed papers. In my particular case, I have never been a great fan of anything orthopaedic mostly due to my complete lack of spatial awareness, a skill I believe necessary in anyone willing to wave a scalpel in the direction of a bone. However, regardless of my innate discomfort around these cases, they will continue to come through my door and a judgement has to be made on the right steps to move forward and this webinar has helped to do this.

Knowing that publications have shown 6% of Labradors, 5% of golden retrievers and 15% of Bernese mountain dogs suffer from medial coronoid disease and there is a male to female ratio of 2:1 can only make my job easier when it comes to considering differentials for dogs with forelimb lameness.

Also being aware that radiography is useful but can be normal in a significant number of affected dogs is a good enough reason to consider referring these cases to my colleagues with expertise in arthroscopy.  According to Ben, CT is another potentially useful diagnostic tool but arthroscopy can sometimes pick up cases of fragmented medial coronoid process which may not be picked up on CT. Arthroscopy also allows the clinician to assess any changes within the cartilage.

This was the kind of content I found really useful and I was reassured that most of the time my assumptions about these cases have been right. However the surgical management of dogs with elbow dysplasia is the part of this veterinary webinar I would expect all enthusiastic surgeons to find difficult to contain their excitement. Subtotal coronoidectomies, corrective osteotomies, modifying osteotomies and salvage procedures were all discussed at length as well recent developments in total elbow replacements within the UK. I won’t even attempt to discuss this area as you need to log in to really appreciate the detail of the information given throughout this veterinary webinar, thanks to Ben Walton who delivered a challenging and thought provoking discussion.

The Stethoscope (MRCVS)