Evaluating hindlimb lameness in juvenile dogs
Part 1 in this series discussed the common causes of forelimb lameness in juvenile dogs. Here I focus on the most common differential diagnoses for hindlimb lameness.
The clinical signs of tarsal OCD include lameness, joint effusion, medial thickening, crepitus, hyperextension with decreased flexion of the tarsocrural joint and pain on palpation.
Treatment includes débridement of the free osteochondral fragment and underlying subchondral bone via an open arthrotomy. The joint space of the talocrural joint is generally too small even in large dogs to allow arthroscopic treatment.
OCD can also affect the stifle joint, with radiographic changes noted as a flattening or divot on the medial aspect of the lateral femoral condyle (Photo 2). (Caution: Don't confuse the fossa of the long digital extensor tendon for an OCD lesion.) Often, disruption of the patellar fat pad by effusion is also noted.
Stifle OCD results in lameness, a crouched stance, muscle atrophy, joint effusion, discomfort and, sometimes, an audible click with range of motion. These stifles are stable.
Treatment is the same as noted previously for OCD. After surgical treatment, dogs will improve clinically; however, they will have arthritic changes over time.