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Keywords:

  • arthroscopy;
  • canine;
  • osteochondrosis;
  • shoulder joint;
  • ultrasound

Osteochondrosis lesions in 29 shoulder joints (from 20 dogs) were evaluated with ultrasound (US) and the results were compared with survey radiography, arthrography, and arthroscopy. US was performed with a 7–12 MHz linear matrix transducer which was placed in cranio–caudal direction just distally to the acromion while the joint was adducted and maximally endorotated to visualize the caudal aspect of the humeral head. With US, the subchondral defect was completely visible in 21 joints and partially visible in 8 joints. The length of the subchondral defect measured on US was comparable with the length measured on survey radiographs. In two joints, the cartilage flap was mineralized and thus already visible on survey radiographs. The mineralized flap was visible on US as a straight hyperechoic line above the subchondral defect. In the other joints, survey radiographs could not assess the status of the articular cartilage. In 17 joints, the presence of a cartilage flap or cartilage fissuring was suspected based on the presence of a second hyperechoic line at the base of the subchondral defect, and this suspicion was confirmed by arthroscopic examination in 16 joints and also by arthrographic examination in 15 joints. One joint that was suspected of having a cartilage flap on US was normal on arthroscopy and arthrography. When US revealed only focal thickening of the anechoic cartilage layer (5 joints), the joints appeared normal on arthroscopic and arthrographic examination. Of the four joints where the subchondral defect was irregular and covered by heteroechogeneous material on US, arthroscopy revealed the presence of a lesion resembling chondromalacia in two joints, the presence of a small cartilage flap in one joint and the presence of scar tissue underneath the flap at the level of the subchondral defect in one joint. In conclusion, US is a helpful imaging modality in the identification of osteochondritic lesions in the canine shoulder joint. US also appears to be a satisfactory imaging tool for identifying lesions such as joint mice, joint effusion, and distinct new bone formation.