Chronic bicipital tenosynovitis in dogs: 29 cases (1985-1992)

D. Stobie, L. J. Wallace, A. J. Lipowitz, V. King, E. M. Lund

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Medical records of 23 dogs with unilateral and 3 dogs with bilateral chronic bicipital tenosynovitis were reviewed. Mean age of affected dogs was 4.6 years (SD, 2.0 years), and mean body weight was 32.6 kg (SD, 14.5 kg). Neither a breed nor a gender predilection was detected. All dogs had a history of intermittent or progressive weight-bearing lameness that became worse after exercise. Mean duration of lameness prior to medical or surgical treatment was 6.5 months (range, 0.25 to 24 months). In all dogs, signs of pain were evident during palpation of the biceps tendon within the intertubercular groove. Radiography revealed sclerosis or osteophytosis of the intertubercular groove in all 29 shoulder joints. Mild degenerative joint disease was evident radiographically in 17. Arthrography was performed in 12 joints, and in 11 there were irregularities of or filling defects along the biceps tendon. Arthrocentesis was performed on 17 joints; 14 synovial fluid samples had cytologic abnormalities consistent with degenerative joint disease. Medical treatment, consisting of injection of methylprednisolone acetate into the biceps tendon and its synovial sheath, was attempted in 21 of the 29 affected shoulder joints. Surgery, which consisted of tenodesis of the biceps tendon, was attempted in 14 joints; 8 of these had not been treated medically; the remaining 6 had poor results following medical treatment. Cross and histologic findings consistent with chronic bicipital tenosynovitis were observed in all 14 joints in which surgery was performed. Seventeen of the medically treated shoulders were available for clinical evaluation, and results were excellent or good in 7. Twelve of the surgically treated shoulders were available for clinical re-evaluation, and results were excellent or good in all 12 (mean duration of follow-up, 5.7 months; range, 2 to 13 months). Owners of all dogs were contacted by telephone. Owners reported that results were excellent or good in 10 of the 21 medically treated shoulder joints, and in all 14 of the surgically treated shoulder joints (mean duration of follow-up, 30.1 months; range, 4 to 82 months). Complications developed in 3 of the 4 dogs in which an osteotomy of the greater tubercle had been performed (implant migration, 2 dogs; delayed union, 1 dog). A seroma developed in 1 of the 10 dogs in which tenodesis was performed by laterally transposing the biceps tendon through a hole in the greater tubercle. Complications related to medical treatment were not detected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-207
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


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