Excerpted from an April 2013 article in
Dogleggs Shoulder Stabiliation System
By: Wendy Baltzer, DVM, PhD, DACVS
Some of the most common injuries in sporting dogs involve the shoulder. This is especially true in agility dogs. One common shoulder problem is medial shoulder instability.
Medial glenohumeral joint laxity, or medial shoulder instability, may be a frequent but underdiagnosed cause of forelimb lameness in athletic dogs. Definitive diagnosis of medial shoulder instability is based on MRI or arthroscopic visualization of the subscapularis tendon, medial glenohumeral ligament, and medial joint capsule pathology. The weightbearing lameness seen with this instability is often intermittent and occurs after physical activity.
Numerous treatment methods have been reported, including conservative management with hobbles and cage rest, thermal capsulorrhaphy, prosthetic medial ligament repair, biceps brachii tendon transposition, and subscapularis tendon imbrication. Conservative management has been reported to have a good to excellent outcome in 25% of dogs, whereas surgical treatment has improved outcomes, with 85% to 93% of dogs attaining good or better function. However, after surgery, some dogs may have continued lameness. Rehabilitation may improve function and performance after recovery from surgery.
A thorough physical examination and an investigation of intermittent lameness in sports dogs early in the course of their disease can prolong their athletic careers and may even improve performance. If your dog is exhibiting symptoms or is recovering from surgery, our practitioners can help!