Rufus’ elbow journey

Rufus, a gorgeous 5-year-old Springer Spaniel came back to see us in January 2022, 8 weeks after he had left Humeral intercondylar Fissure (HIF) elbow surgery where a screw was placed to manage his HIF by Andrew Phillips one of our Specialists in Small Animal Surgery.

HIF is a condition in which there is a weakness in the humeral condyle – part of the elbow joint in the forelimb. It is most commonly seen in spaniels, especially Springer Spaniels in the UK, although other breeds can also be affected. This condition predisposes to fractures (breaks) of the humeral condyle and can also cause lameness in its own right without a fracture. However, in some dogs it does not cause clinical signs and so an owner may not know their dog has the condition. There may be a genetic basis to the condition.  We believe that HIF is a form of stress or fatigue fracture, at least in some dogs. However, we do not know why these stress fractures happen and why spaniel breeds seem to be predisposed.

At his check-up Rufus had recovered well and his x-rays showed the implants he had put in were stable as we would have expected for this stage after surgery.

At the stage of his check-up he was still on 5-minute lead walks and was not showing any lameness, he was then allowed to start doing slightly longer walks with off-lead exercise from 12 weeks post operation and to start hydrotherapy with a veterinary physiotherapist.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is inevitable following elbow dysplasia and HIFs in dogs. Maintaining a lean body weight is the most effective way to minimise the impact of osteoarthritis over the longer term and long-term joint supplements.

Rufus is doing exceptionally well and these photos show his journey through our hospital.

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