Davies offers new surgical procedure for canine elbow dysplasia

Davies Veterinary Specialists (Davies) has invested in new surgical equipment to treat severe canine elbow dysplasia.

The procedure, Canine Unicompartmental Elbow replacement (CUE), offers an alternative for dogs diagnosed with the condition and Davies is one of only a few centres in the UK to provide this surgical option.

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Elbow dysplasia is the most common cause of chronic front leg lameness in dogs and there is no cure, only treatment options. In severe diffuse elbow dysplasia, there is diffuse cartilage wear, often resulting in bone rubbing against bone.

This severe form of osteoarthritis is called medial compartment disease (MCD). The prognosis is typically poor but CUE is providing a promising alternative surgical option.

Canine unicompartmental elbow replacement is a procedure for dogs with the most severe form of MCD when arthroscopic treatment and non-surgical options are no longer successful.

The surgery involves partial resurfacing of the elbow joint. By focusing on the specific area of disease in the medial compartment, the CUE implant provides a less invasive bone-sparing option for resurfacing the bone-on-bone medial compartment while preserving the dog’s own ‘good’ cartilage in the lateral compartment. In most dogs, the technique significantly improves the pain and lameness that was caused by bone-on-bone grinding.

Unlike total elbow replacements, CUE does not require major bone cutting. On average, recovery tends to be significantly faster with progressive improvement peaking six months after surgery.

Mike Farrell, EBVS European and RCVS Specialist in small animal surgery (orthopaedics) at Davies recently performed a successful CUE procedure on Rubee an 11-year-old Labradoodle diagnosed with severe MCD.

At the recheck, six weeks after surgery Farrell said: “Rubee’s early response to CUE has been nothing short of astonishing. I would have been pleased if she had made the improvement seen today after six months rather than six weeks.”

Louise Clark, head of anaesthesia and the pain clinic at Davies Veterinary Specialists added: “CUE potentially provides a surgical alternative for what is currently an incredibly frustrating condition to manage and one that causes animals a lot of pain, and owners a great deal of angst.

“Arguably it is an ethically robust procedure because it can dramatically reduce patient pain with a relatively well defined risk of complications in a patient cohort that is otherwise at risk of euthanasia because of elbow disease.”

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