Today's Veterinary Practice

NOV-DEC 2018

Today's Veterinary Practice provides comprehensive information to keep every small animal practitioner up to date on companion animal medicine and surgery as well as practice building and management.

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FEATURES todaysveterinarypractice.com NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 45 Gait Abnormality: Musculoskeletal or Neurologic Condition? ORTHOPEDICS Steven A. Martinez, DVM, MS, DACVS, DACVSMR Peter J. Gilbert, BVSc(hons), MVetSc, MANZCVS (Small Animal Surgery), DACVS Small Animal Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington When an animal is presented to you with a history of lameness or a gait abnormality, you need to determine whether the problem is musculoskeletal, neurologic, or both, so you can recommend the appropriate treatment. To arrive at an appropriate diagnosis, you must collect the signalment and a thorough history, conduct a physical examination (including observation of the patient's ambulation and direct palpation of the joints, extremities, and spine), and perform the appropriate diagnostic testing. This article reviews the clinical tools available to help you make the correct diagnosis and, consequently, make the best recommendations for treatment or referral. SIGNALMENT AND HISTORY The signalment (patient's age, breed, and sex) is especially useful because several musculoskeletal and neurologic conditions have a predilection for animals of certain breeds, of a certain sex within a breed, and in certain age groups ( TABLE 1 ). 1-4 When taking a medical history, ask about any past trauma or orthopedic disease (e.g., fractures, hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament rupture) or neurologic disease (e.g., disc disease, seizures, vestibular disease, behavior changes) ( TABLE 2 ). Although you should always ask about onset and duration of lameness or gait abnormality, be TABLE 1 Signalment That May Characterize a Gait Abnormality as a Musculoskeletal or Neurologic Condition SIGNALMENT LAMENESS TYPE OF CONDITION AGE Juvenile In unilateral or bilateral forelimb(s) or hind limb(s) Musculoskeletal Tetraparesis, paraparesis, or paralysis Neurologic Adult In unilateral or bilateral forelimb(s) or hind limb(s) Musculoskeletal or neurologic Tetraparesis, paraparesis, or paralysis Neurologic BREED AND SEX Any In unilateral or bilateral forelimb(s) or hind limb(s) Musculoskeletal or neurologic Any (especially chondrodystrophic breeds) Tetraparesis, paraparesis, or paralysis Neurologic

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