Chipmunk Henn – Bilateral elbow FCP’s

Chipmunk is a 1.3yo F/S lab mix that presented to Charleston Veterinary Referral Center for left front leg lameness after running in the yard. On physical exam Chipmunk had fluid in her elbow joints and pain on palpation of the elbows. Although Chipmunk’s owner was only seeing lameness of the left front leg, Chipmunk had changes and pain associated with both elbows. Radiographs performed by Chipmunk’s referring veterinarian showed only minor osteoarthritic changes to the left elbow. A computerized tomography (CT) scan was performed to further evaluate both elbows. When looking at elbows, the CT scan can be performed under sedation in a matter of minutes to provide far more information than radiographs alone. In Chipmunk’s case, she had bilateral fragmented medial coronoid processes or FCP’s. This is a developmental disease in young dogs meaning they are normal at birth but fail to develop properly. Hip dysplasia is another developmental disease, similar in ways to FCP’s, in young dogs that can adversely affect them for life. Both diseases result in osteoarthritis, decreased joint health and lameness. A fragmented coronoid process results in abnormal development of a portion of the ulnar bone in the elbow resulting in a bone chip within the joint. This chip can cause pain, damage to surrounding cartilage (the smooth gliding surface of the joint) and result in the development of secondary osteoarthritis (OA). Surgery is often recommended to remove the bone chip and clean up the underlying bone to improve joint comfort. At CVRC we have the surgical experience and specialized equipment to perform the surgery minimally invasively with arthroscopy, a fiber optic scope, which allows us to perform surgery within the small space of a joint through very small incisions. There are several benefits of arthroscopic surgery including increased comfort postoperatively due to less disruption or cutting of tissues and nerves, improved visualization of the joint due to magnification, and decreased risk of infection. In Chipmunk’s case she underwent bilateral elbow arthroscopy to remove the chips and is back to running around the yard.