Sesamoid: disease

Sesamoiditis • Sesamoid degeneration

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  • Cause : chronic inflammation of the sesamoid bones.
  • Cause of lameness and incidental finding in the racing greyhound.
  • Lameness in large pet breeds, eg Rottweiler.
  • Signs : often an insidious onset, progressive forelimb lameness in young dogs, or can also be acute onset lameness in adults.
  • Diagnosis : clinical signs and radiography.
  • Treatment : conservative, or surgical removal of sesamoids.
  • Prognosis : guarded for resolution.


Clinical signs

  • Localized soft tissue swelling around affected palmar aspect of the metacarpo-phalangeal joint.
  • Pain on metacarpophalangeal joint flexion.
  • Reduced range of flexion.

Differential diagnosis



  • Conservative treatment usually adequate for pet dog.
  • If significant degenerative joint disease, may need long-term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory treatment or digit amputation for sporting dogs [Greyhound: digit injuries].
    Check for lameness elsewhere.

Expected response to treatment

  • Lameness should improve over 4-6 weeks in conservatively managed cases.
  • If lameness persists after surgery, this may be due to degenerative changes at the MCP joint.
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