Lamenesses: Diagnosis, Treatments and Prognosis
Can lameness evaluations in the dog and cat be simplified?
When a dog enters your practice with a non-traumatic lameness, figuring out the cause of the lameness can at times be daunting. Having a plan of how to approach a lame patient before you even enter the exam will help to get to the problem more quickly and reliably. In this workshop we will discuss how to diagnose the various non-traumatic lamenesses; what their treatment options are and the pet’s likely prognosis based on the treatment plan.
The truth is that there are a limited number of conditions that will cause a dog to become lame. Working on the principle that “common things are common” helps keep the list of rule-outs manageable and memorable. There will always be the odd case, the unusual lameness that is difficult to diagnose and whose treatment plan maybe elusive and prognosis unknown. However, those cases are the exception, not the rule.
Get ready to Manage a Lame Patient:
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This content is designed for veterinary professionals. If you are a pet owner, please consult your vet if you have any questions about a surgery.
Pre-Lameness Evaluation Considerations
- It is really important to get a good history so that you can get a feel for how this lameness is behaving and affecting the patient.
- Watch the dog move, confirm the lameness and make sure that the other limbs are moving well (or not).
- Have blood work done if planning on using NSAIDs especially for longterm and in the patient geriatric.
What the client needs to know:
- The pet’s prognosis is based on an accurate and often timely diagnosis.
- The outcome is also dependent on selecting the best treatment option for the pet. A less than ideal treatment plan may be the only option available to a client for a variety of reasons but it is important to understand that the pet’s outcome will likely correspond with the selected treatment plan.
- Timely implementation of a treatment plan can make a difference to the longterm prognosis (so get your clients to act!)
- Many joint related issues will lead to osteoarthritis (OA) but OA can be a very manageable problem.
Get ready to diagnose and manage a lame patient
When dealing with a lameness in a dog that is of non-traumatic origin, keep these rule-outs in mind:
Young patient (<.5 yrs):
- Shoulder OCD
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Hip Dysplasia (acute or puppy form)
- Legge Calve Perthes (small dog)
- Shoulder issues (tendonitis, MSI)
- Elbow Dysplasia (adult onset)
- Hip Dysplasia (chronic or adult form)
- Degenerative cranial cruciate ligament disease
- Medial patella luxations (small dog)
- Spinal issues (IVDD, LS or cervical spine issues)
- Immune or infectious arthropathies
- Shoulder issues
- Spinal issues