In this condition, the bones of the elbow joint do not fit together properly. There is often a step between the radius and ulna which leads to abnormal loading through the joint. This is a developmental condition and can be subtle in some cases. In other cases, the changes in the joint may relate to damage of the growth plates in young dogs, leading to altered growth and limb deformity.
If the changes are not severe then this may be the first line of treatment. This management plan includes body weight control, exercise control and standardisation, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory pain killers and dietary supplements.
An osteotomy is where the bone is cut. If the ulna is short then a cut may be performed at the top or bottom of the bone. The location of the cut will depend on the patient’s condition, the deformity and possibly surgeon preference. This procedure is designed to allow the joint to fit together in a more satisfactory manner. The bone will usually be left to heal without internal or external fixation as the radius will act as a splint. If the radius is short then a corrective osteotomy of the radius may be required and stabilisation with bone plates and screws may be necessary and in some cases external skeletal fixation can be performed where pins are placed through the skin into the bone and connected on the outside.
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