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Treatment of an angular limb deformity in a 30kg Romanian Shepherd Dog
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Davies Aidan P61671 STIFLE Stifle Caudo cranial Sm A 19 02 2021 14 10 04 915

History and Diagnosis

The patient is an 18 month old neutered male Romanian Shepherd dog who was rescued from Romania six months prior to presenting in practice. The owner was informed that the patient had suffered an injury following a road traffic accident prior to arrival in the UK which is now strongly believed to be the cause of the angular limb deformity. The patient had initially been managing well with the deformity but became progressively more lame.

During development, mammalian bones have areas of growth at either end of a bones. These are referred to as physes or ‘growth plates’. If these are damaged whilst the patient is still developing, it causes that area of the bone to prematurely stop growing – referred to as 'physes closing'. This either results in a shortening of the bone (and therefore a shortened limb), or, one side of the bone will continue to grow whilst the other stops, which can lead to an angular limb deformity: as seen in this patient.

Initially, the patient was assessed by their Veterinary Surgeon and x-rays were performed which confirmed the degree of the deformity. When looking at the x-ray view from the front to the back of the leg, the hock (ankle joint) was deviating to the outer side of the patient away from his midline (valgus).

In cases with deformities such as this, a CT scan is the preferred imaging technique to assist with surgical planning however, this was not available for this case.

Treatment

Surgery involved taking a wedge of bone from the inside of the tibia (shin bone) to correct the angle of the limb. The wedge size and location were calculated using the angle between the shaft of the tibia and the adjacent joints as well as information on normal limb angles from Labradors.

After removal of the wedge, the bone had two plates placed to provide support and aid healing.During anaesthesia, the patient received several types of pain relief and an antibiotic.

Following surgery, the patient underwent strict rest for 6 weeks before gradual return to exercise once x-rays confirmed satisfactory healing.

Follow up

We are pleased to say that the report from the owner is good - with the patient’s limb function improving significantly meaning that he is now using the leg without any indication of discomfort.