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Helping your dog with
Bicipital Tenosynovitis

Bicipital Tenosynovitis (BT) essentially means inflammation of the Biceps Brachii tendon of the shoulder. It used to be thought of as the most common shoulder injury in sporting dogs, however with advanced diagnostics it is often found as secondary to other conditions such as Supraspinatus tendinopathy (and subsequent nodules).

Bicipital Tenosynovitis Overview

Signs of BT

Complaints of difficulty with quick turns and reluctance to jump are common in performance dogs with BT. Agility dogs present with complaints regarding performing two-on/two-off contacts and knocking bars with their forelimbs.

Dogs may show a shortened stride and a weight-bearing lameness that can range from mild to severe, which worsens with activity. Pain and spasm may be noted when touching the tendon or performing a biceps stretch.

Causes of BT

The cause of injury in performance dogs appears to be repeated strain injury, including two-on/two-off contacts in agility, landing vertically on the forelimbs following a misjudged jump, overstretching the muscle, quick turns and repetitive contractions of the muscle with the shoulder flexed and/or elbow extended.

Treatment of BT

Your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory pain relief (NSAIDs) and in some cases refer for intra-articular injections such as Cortisone or Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). With or without this, rehabilitation is vital for recovery due to it's naturally poor blood supply. 

What can we do about it?

Plenty! We have numerous modalities in clinic that we have at our finger tips to help your dog. These include massage, soft tissue mobilisation, stretching, joint mobilisations, targeted exercises, laser therapy, hydrotherapy... shall we continue? These have all been shown to maintain muscle function, strength and coordination and get back to competitive fitness. With each session they undergo constant review of their clinical signs and progression in order to gain maximum recovery at a pace that's comfortable for them.

 

We have a comprehensive programme tailored for your dog's specific needs, depending on their recovery so far.  We will always assess their pain levels (if any), degree of mobility, muscle strength, amongst more, to enable us to create the most successful treatment plan for them. If they have co-morbidities such as Supraspinatus Tendinopathy or Osteoarthritis we will rehabilitate these concurrently.

Alongside what we do with your beloved pooch, there are a number of things outside of the clinic that can help them manage their condition or rehabilitation. Please find information in the sections below!  

Home Modifications

Flooring

Wooden floors and stairs are a big slip hazard for your dog. Try using non-slip mats along the main routes of your house. Alternatively, some dogs may benefit from paw pads (please speak to us before trying this option in case of contraindication).

Feeding Stations

Raising their water and food bowls may seem like a insignificant change to us, but it can really help your dog to be in a more neutral position.

Access to Furniture

Jumping up and down from heights if often a cause of additional pain / difficulty to your dog. If they enjoy a cuddle on the sofa or the bed, make it easier for them with dog-friendly steps or ramps onto furniture. This also applies to getting in / out of cars! You may find a sling to be useful.

Keeping Warm

Especially important in the colder months, your dog will benefit from staying warmer. Keep them in a jumper and walk them out with coats. Stay dry too!

Sleeping / Resting Areas

Great quality sleep is essential. Ensure their sleeping area is free from any drafts and in a warm spot. Their bedding should be supportive and not restrictive. Memory foam mattresses without rigid or tall sides are best. Make sure your dog can access the bed and can change position / stretch out easily.

Be Wary of Terrain

Different types of terrain in the garden and on walks can be hazardous, such as steep slopes, loose or uneven surfaces. Be mindful to where they are going.

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