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Veterinary Forum September 2009 (Vol 26, No 9)

Case Report — Orthopedic and Ocular Abnormality in a Labrador Puppy

by Aaron Wehrenberg, DVM, A. D. Elkins, DVM, MS, DACVS, Jean Stiles, Mary Palmer, DVM, MS, DACVS

    Rocky, a 12-week-old male yellow Labrador retriever, was referred to our facility after the owner and the referring veterinarian noticed the dog's abnormal stance. The history included an absence of lameness, ownership for 2 weeks, an appropriate diet, and an otherwise apparently healthy puppy.

    An orthopedic examination, along with an overall physical examination, revealed abducted and enlarged elbows (Figure 1). All joints had normal range of motion and no crepitus was appreciated. The only other abnormality noted on examination was brachygnathism causing malocclusion.

    Rocky was lightly sedated and orthogonal radiographs of the joints of the forelimbs were obtained (Figure 2). Based on the radiographs, Rocky was diagnosed with osteochondrodysplastic dwarfism, an inherited disorder found in breeds that are not "normally" chondrodystrophic, including Norwegian elkhounds, Great Pyrenees, Alaskan malamutes, toy poodles, Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards, German shepherds, clumber spaniels, and Scottish deerhounds.1 Osteochondrodysplasia also is referred to as skeletal-retinal or oculoskeletal dysplasia in Labrador retrievers. Radiographic changes include humeroulnar subluxation along with caudolateral subluxation of the proximal radius.1 These abnormalities were noted on Rocky's radiographs.

    The owner was advised that surgical intervention at that point was not indicated to correct angular limb deformities or allow better congruency of the elbow joints because of osteochondrodysplasia. The owners also were advised that monthly orthopedic examinations, possibly with radiographs to track the progress of Rocky's joints, would be needed. If at any time the owner or doctors observed a developing lameness, surgery may be needed.

    Rocky was referred to an ophthalmologist for assessment. Ophthalmic examination found a complete retinal detachment in the left eye, causing blindness. The right eye had mild retinal dysplasia, and both lenses had early cortical cataracts. A laser retinopexy on the right eye was performed 2 weeks later.

    No lameness was noted at recheck examinations at 4 weeks and 12 weeks. Follow-up radiographs revealed bilateral agenesis of the anconeal processes. Monitoring of Rocky's musculoskeletal system and ocular system will continue (Figure 3).

    Skeletal-retinal or oculoskeletal dysplasia in Labrador retrievers is an inherited disease that is most likely an autosomal recessive trait.1 Other studies have inferred that this condition may be caused by a flawed gene that has an incomplete dominant result on the ocular system and a recessive result on the skeletal system.3-6 Affected animals should not be used for breeding. Common findings are a normal body length; however, the extremities are shortened from hindered growth of the femurs, tibias, ulnas, or radii.2 Other orthopedic deformities that may be seen are carpi valgus, hyperextended pelvic limbs, and hypoplastic or ununited anconeal processes.2 As in Rocky's case, ocular abnormalities also may occur with this condition, including retinal dysplasia, retinal detachment, and cataracts.2

    By being aware of this condition, the veterinarian can be diligent in early treatment by seeking the expertise of a veterinary ophthalmologist. Currently, Rocky's pelvic limbs appear unaffected. As he matures this may change. In this particular case, we will continue to monitor Rocky during maturation and intervene if necessary, most likely with corrective osteotomies.

    1. Langely-Hobbs S. Disturbances of growth and bone development. BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Musculoskeletal Disorders. Gloucester, United Kingdom: BSAVA; 2006:58-60.

    2. Owens JM, Biery DN. Radiographic Interpretation for the Small Animal Clinician ed 2. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1999:38.

    3. Ackerman L. The Genetic Connection: A Guide to Health Problems in Purebred Dogs. Lakewood, Colo.: AAHA Press; 1999:126.

    4. Carrig CB, Sponenberg DP, Schmidt GM, Tvedten HW. Inheritance of associated ocular and skeletal dysplasia in Labrador retrievers. JAVMA 1988;193(10):1269-1272.

    5. Genetics Committee of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. Ocular disorders presumed to be inherited in purebred dogs, ed 2; 1996.

    6. Pugh CR, Miller WW. Retinal and skeletal dysplasia in the Labrador retriever. Vet Med 1995; 90(6):593-596.

    References »

    NEXT: Clinical Report — Nutrigenomics: overcoming genetics with diet?


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