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Longitudinal Bone Transport for Treatment of Primary Bone Tumors in Dogs: Technique Description and Outcome in 9 Dogs


  • Nicole Ehrhart VMD, MS, Diplomate ACVS

    1. From the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
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Address reprint requests to: Dr. Nicole Ehrhart, VMD, MS, Diplomate ACVS, Animal Cancer Center, Colorado State University, 300 West Drake Street, Fort Collins, CO 80528.


Objective— To describe a surgical technique for bone transport osteogenesis (BTO) limb salvage and report outcome in 9 dogs with primary bone tumors.

Animals— Nine dogs with spontaneously occurring primary bone tumors.

Results— BTO surgery was performed as a primary means of limb salvage in 7 dogs and as a salvage procedure after catastrophic allograft infection and failure in 2 dogs. Mean defect size was 9.5 cm with a mean of 123 days distraction until docking. Mean time from surgery to fixator removal was 205 days. Minimum follow-up was 9 months. There were 2 histologically confirmed local recurrences where although limb function was excellent, eventually resulted in limb amputation. Limb function was good to excellent in all but 2 dogs; 1 was chronically non-weight bearing before BTO surgery because of complications associated with an allograft limb salvage that had been performed previously on the same limb. The cause of lameness in the other dog was undetermined.

Conclusions— BTO limb salvage can be successful in dogs with primary bone tumors. Whereas allograft limb salvage may be simpler from an initial management perspective, BTO has some unique advantages when compared with the allograft technique.

Clinical Relevance— BTO has an emerging role in limb salvage surgery for dogs with primary bone tumors. BTO provides excellent long-term outcomes in some dogs with primary bone tumors and will likely become increasingly more attractive as technique modifications allow the duration of the treatment to be shortened.