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Lameness in Dogs & Tendonitis

| Updated September 26, 2017

Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons that causes lameness in dogs. The most common tendons affected are the biceps tendon (front leg) and the supraspinatus tendon (shoulder). It can be difficult to diagnose, but there are several treatment options.

Risk Factors

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Medium to large breed dogs, especially those who are very active (i.e., agility dogs, racing dogs and working dogs) are at highest risk for tendonitis.


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Tendonitis can be acute (caused by an injury) or chronic (caused by repeated, high impact activity, especially running and jumping).


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Most dogs with tendonitis will present with front leg lameness. It can be constant or intermittant. The leg will be painful and the dog will have limited range of motion. Signs will worsen after exercise.


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Diagnosis by radiography can be difficult because tendonitis is a soft tissue injury. Other diagnostic tests like ultrasound, arthroscopy and MRI can be more useful.

Treatment Options

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Treatment for tendonitis might depend on the severity. Medical management including rest for several weeks, cold and heat therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs may be enough for a minor case. Some therapies used for cases that don't respond well to simple medical management include laser therapy, ultrasound, cross fiber massage, magnetic therapy and acupuncture.