Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Lameness: general - investigation

Contributor(s): Gareth Arthurs, Toby J Gemmill

Introduction

  • Lameness investigation in the dog should fully assess the patient to establish whether lameness is caused by orthopedic or neurological disease. Ultimate aim is localization of the source of lameness and formulation of a list of differential diagnoses with a view to proceeding with the most appropriate diagnostic tests / management options for the patient.
  • A thorough lameness examination comprises:
  • Orthopedic examination should be preceded by a thorough history taking, gait evaluation and full clinical examination.
  • History frequently gives valuable information with respect to the likely causes or etiology of the dog's lameness and the clinical examination may identify other conditions that the dog may be suffering from which may or may not be related to the cause of the lameness. In addition, findings from general physical examination may subsequently influence the dog's suitability for sedation, general anesthesia, or a particular treatment option.
  • Although the orthopedic examination is only one part of the diagnostic work-up of a dog that may be lame, exercise intolerant, collapsing, ataxic or recumbent, the orthopedic examination is vitally important as the results of the orthopedic examination primarily dictate the direction of further diagnostics and treatment options for the patient. When presented with a dog requiring lameness investigation, the following approach is recommended.
    Follow the diagnostic tree for Lameness in dogs Lameness in dogs.

Signalment and history taking

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Lameness or gait assessment

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Perform a general physical examination

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Orthopedic examination - methodology

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers
  • Recent references fromPubMed.
  • Devitt C M, Neely, M R et al(2007)Relationship of physical examination test of shoulder instability to arthroscopic findings in dogs. Vet Surg36(7), 661-668PubMed.
  • Cook J L, Renfro D C et al(2005)Measurement of angles of abduction for diagnosis of shoulder instability in dogs using goniometry and digital image analysis. Vet Surg34(5), 463-468PubMed.
  • Jaegger G, Marcellin-Little D J et al(2002)Reliability of goniometry in Labrador Retrievers. Am J Vet Res63(7), 979-86PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Arthurs G I (2011)Orthopaedic Examination of the Dog 1.Thoracic Limb. In Practice33, 126-133
  • Arthurs G I (2011)Orthopaedic Examination of the Dog 2. Pelvic Limb. In Practice33, 172-199
  • Scott H & Whitte P (2011)Investigationof lameness in dogs: 1. Forelimb. In Practice33, 20-27.
  • Whitte P & Scott H (2011)Investigation of lameness in dogs 2. Hindlimb. In Practice33, 58-66.
  • Piermattei D L, Flo G L, DeCamp C E, (2006)Orthopaedic Examination and Diagnostic Tools.In: Brinker, Piermattei and Flo's Handbook of Small Animal Orthopaedics and Fracture Repair. 4th ed. Missouri, Saunders Elsevier. pp 3-24.
  • Jeffery N (2001)Neurological examination of dogs 1. techniques. In Practice23(3), 118-130.
  • Houlton J E F (1994)A problem orientated approach to the diagnosis of joint disease.In: BSAVA Manual of Small Animal Arthrology. Eds Houlton J E F & Collinson R W. BSAVA publications, pp. 8-21.


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