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Objectives

To report surgical technique and clinical outcome of shoulder arthrodesis in dogs.

Study Design

Multicenter clinical case series.

Animals

Dogs (n = 14).

Methods

Shoulder arthrodesis featured craniolateral plate and screw application, with application of a 2nd plate and screws craniolaterally or caudolaterally in 5 shoulders. Implants included the locking string of pearls (SOP)™ plate in 7 shoulders. Subjective preoperative, 5–8 weeks postoperative, and 11–16 weeks postoperative clinical and radiographic findings were documented. Owner questionnaire evaluation of outcome was performed 6–20 months postoperatively.

Results

Mean angle of arthrodesis was 114° (range 102°–122°). Progression of arthrodesis was noted in 13/14 cases at both the 5–8 and 11–16 weeks postoperative radiographic assessments. Nine complications occurred in 7/14 dogs, graded as catastrophic in 2/9, major in 2/9, and minor in 5/9. Where morbidity was successfully managed, 11–16-week and 6–10-month postoperative limb function was positive on both veterinary and owner evaluations in almost all cases, and in several, functional lameness was considered sufficiently mild as to be imperceptible on subjective veterinary evaluation. Where present, limb circumduction was noted as the major feature of persistent lameness.

Conclusions

Shoulder arthrodesis in dogs results in acceptable limb function and should be considered for the management of debilitating shoulder pathology despite a high incidence of complications. Application of the SOP plate to aid shoulder arthrodesis warrants further study.