Lameness Evaluation

Lameness Evaluation

At Treendale Pet Medical we are very experienced at dealing with lameness conditions. Dr Rob Hill has done extensive professional development in lameness evaluation, orthopaedics, radiology, canine rehabilitation and the treatment of chronic pain. We have an extremely good x-ray machine to take high quality digital radiographs to help make an accurate diagnosis. We also have a high quality ultrasound machine for muscle and tendon exams.


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Elbow Dysplasia Treendale Pet medical Bunbury vet
Elbow dysplasia in a dog that has caused severe osteoarthtis of the elbow joint. This dog had coronoid disease with a fragmented medial coronoid process. 


An accurate history and a thorough clinical exam is crucial to make an accurate diagnosis. It is usually necessary to do some diagnostic imaging as well to get specific knowledge of what is happening at the various pain points, because treatment will vary depending on what problem is causing the pain.

Here's an example. 

The radiograph below shows severe lumbosacral spondylosis. This condition is often misdiagnosed as "hip pain" because the dog cries when the hindleg is extended mimicing pain in the hip. The treatments do require different strategies which is why radiographs (x-rays) are so important.

spondylosis dog Treendale Pet medical Bunbury vet

There is fusion between the last lumbar vertebrae L7 and the sacrum. You can see a large calcified "bridge" which is like a quarter moon shape. This is spondylosis which is essentially arthritis of the spine. The inflammation, fibrosis and calcification put pressure on the nerve root causing back pain but also refrred pain down the sciatic nerve. Dog's have trouble standing from a sitting position. They may scuff their nails when they walk. 

This needs to be differenitaiated from hip dysplasia  (HD) below.

Hip dysplasia dog Treendale Pet Medical Bunbury Vet

The above image shows moderate HD or hip dysplasia. The hips are quite mushroom shaped and half the femoral head (ball joint) is sitting out of the acetabulum (socket). This can be seen more clearly in the close up below.

HD dog hips Treendale Pet Medical Bunbury Vet

The image above shows moderate hip dysplasia HD. This is still a common problem in many breeds.

Sometimes hips can also be dislocated.

The coxofemoral joint is luxated (hip is dislocated) below.

dislocated hip Treendale Pet Medical Bunbury Vet

Dr Rob has reduced the hip without surgery below.

hip reduced following luxation

The cat's hip has been reduced successfully avoiding surgery.

Problems in the spine will often cause hindlimb problems as well. Some dog's will develop weakness on the backlegs, drag their toes, knuckle when they are walking due to proprioceptive deficits or may even become completely paralysed. Sometimes dog's just can't get up because the back pain, or rather spinal pain is so severe they can't leverage themselves off the ground due to severe pain.

This dog has a calcified disc due to intervertebral disc disease. This dog had spinal surgery because it became paralysed. This dog was lucky, the surgery was successful.

intervertebral disc disease Treendale Pet Medical Bunbury Vet

Spinal problems often manifest as hind leg weakness and even lameness due to referred pain. 

Sometimes there is severe and obvious fractures like this non weight bearing tibial fracture below.

fracture tibia fibula dog Treendale Pet Medical Bunbury Vet

Or sometimes there is severe pain with less obvious fractures like this dog with a fracture of the fibula below.

fractured fibula dog Treendale Pet Medical Bunbury Vet

At Treendale Pet Medical we have the highest quality of digital radiography so that we can take high quality x-rays and make the correct diagnosis for you the first time. High quality radiographs are crucial to pick up subtle changes like the panosteitis case below. Panosteitis is bone inflammation. The cause isn't known but it is summised that it is from rapidly growing bones in medium to large breed dogs that are quite active. Thereis a high metabolic activity due to growing bones and also a lot of bone remodelling due to the stresses on the bones due to high activity and sometimes due to the weight of the large and giant breeds. 

panoesteitis dog Treendale Pet Medical Bunbury Vet
Panosteitis in a dog's tibia

panoesteitis tibia dog Treendale Pet Medical Bunbury Vet
Panosteitis in the tibia of a young rapidly growing dog

The x-ray above shows panosteitis or bone inflammation. There is mixed density of bone in the medullary cavity of the tibia. The cavity is "fluffy" due to inflammtion of the bone. This is called panosteitis. Panoesteitis is a condition that affects the long bones in the legs of young dogs, usually between the ages of 5 to 18 months. Your vet needs high quality x-rays to diagnose this. It can occur with any breed, but it is more common in medium- to large-sized dog breeds. We can help you at Treendale Pet Medical.


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