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Abstract

Objectives

To describe demographic factors, treatments, and outcomes associated with shoulder instability in dogs.

Study Design

Multi-center, retrospective cohort study.

Animals

Dog (n = 130) with shoulder instability.

Methods

Medical records (October 2007–2010) from 4 hospitals of dogs with shoulder instability were reviewed to document age, breed, weight, and gender, categorize them into diagnosis cohorts of medial (MSI), lateral (LSI), or multidirectional (MDI) instability, determine treatments, and document outcomes. Treatment cohorts were defined as nonsurgical management, radiofrequency-induced thermal capsulorrhaphy (RITC), or shoulder reconstruction. Outcomes based upon clinician reevaluation and owner input >1 year after diagnosis were used to determine success, failure, and complication rates.

Results

Most dogs were diagnosed with MSI, but 23% had LSI or MDI. Dogs with MSI treated by reconstruction were more likely than dogs treated without surgery to have a successful outcome (odd's ratio = 3.0; P = .01). Similarly, treatment of MDI with reconstruction was more likely to be associated with a successful outcome than nonsurgical management (odd's ratio = 5.0; P = .007). Success with surgical and nonsurgical management was equivocal between LSI treatment cohorts, but the number of dogs with LSI was small. Complication rates for all treatment cohorts were <10%.

Conclusions

In dogs with shoulder instability, LSI and MDI are less common than MSI. Surgical reconstruction for treatment of MSI and MDI appears to produce a higher likelihood of achieving successful outcomes than nonsurgical management and surgical complication rates were low but these conclusions are tempered by the limitations of the study.