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torn bicep tendon


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Torque was chasing a ball on Aug 14 when I saw him take a funny step. I immediately stopped the game. The next day he was on three legs (the left front was held up). Long story short -- I have kept him on leash-walks Rimadyl since and have been to see several vets. He did not 'heal'. Today I had an appointment with Dr. Canapp at VOSM, and he diagnosed a torn bicep tendon. We discussed treatment options and right now, Torque is scheduled for arthroscopic surgery in two weeks to have the tendon 'released', basically cut. Apparently the surrounding muscles will compensate (although I still can't wrap my mind around that) and he will be able to resume agility in about 2 months and will not have any alteration in gait or movement. This procedure is common and has been used for years I was told.

 

Has anyone else gone through this? Or know someone who has? I am mostly interested in how rehab progressed, and if the dog returned to full functionality. Any other advice or anecdotes are invited also. I am not doubting Dr. Canapp (he is very highly regarded), but want to be prepared for what is coming up.

 

Thanks in advance,

Jovi

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Well I am a physiotherapist, and in humans a torn biceps is not uncommon (happens mostly to eldry males).

There is hardly any loss of function in these patients as the musculus brachialis (also elbow flexor) is still there, of course they do loose power, but said muscle can be trained up to compensate. I can wel imagine that especially in dogs this isn´t a problem, as powerfull extension is much more important than flexion (dogs don´t lift stuff with their front limbs :rolleyes: ).

Just my two cents, good luck with your dog.

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I have known a couple of dogs with torn bicep tendons. One was owned by a vet specialising in sports injuries and trigger point therapy and she healed her dog without surgery. But it was 12 weeks of complete confinement and intensive trigger point therapy. The more usual treatment is to cut the bicep tendon and that works really well with good return to function.

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Thanks for the replies. They agree with other information I have gathered since I posted.

 

My chiropracter (human) says that, in humans, it is not unusual for the tendon on the short head of the bicep muscle to tear and that the long head can be trained up to compensate. I did not realize that there were 2 heads to the biceps in humans. (I haven't yet had the time to look up canine anatomy.)Thanks Smalahundur for your thoughts on flexion and extension WRT canines.

 

My local ortho vet and I discussed a crate rest/leash walking regimen for 3-4 months to see if it would heal. Even though she is very conservative about surgery (last resort), she felt that in this case it needed "to be taken care of". She had another client with an obedience dog that chose to go the crate rest/leash walking route. At the 4 month point, they decided to test how the dog was doing by setting up four low cavalettis. After trotting, not running, over the cavalettis at a moderate speed, the dog came up lame again. Four months of work down the drain. I don't know what other treatment was done, although my ortho vet also offers chiropractic, cold laser, swim therapy and maybe a couple of other techniques. I am glad to hear that the trigger therapy worked for your friend's dog - although I do not know what it is. Time to use Google again.

 

Torque continues to limp slightly even though he is leash-walked. He has a very high pain tolerance, and if he is limping, it IS hurting. I am thinking good thoughts for his operation (on the 22nd) - which, thank goodness, will be done arthroscopically (is that a word?) by the vet specialist in orthopedics and sports medicine. Two small 3/8-1/2" incisions and a 4-6 week rehab period. Keeping my fingers crossed.

 

Jovi

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Thanks for the replies. They agree with other information I have gathered since I posted.

 

My chiropracter (human) says that, in humans, it is not unusual for the tendon on the short head of the bicep muscle to tear and that the long head can be trained up to compensate. I did not realize that there were 2 heads to the biceps in humans. (I haven't yet had the time to look up canine anatomy.)Thanks Smalahundur for your thoughts on flexion and extension WRT canines.

 

My local ortho vet and I discussed a crate rest/leash walking regimen for 3-4 months to see if it would heal. Even though she is very conservative about surgery (last resort), she felt that in this case it needed "to be taken care of". She had another client with an obedience dog that chose to go the crate rest/leash walking route. At the 4 month point, they decided to test how the dog was doing by setting up four low cavalettis. After trotting, not running, over the cavalettis at a moderate speed, the dog came up lame again. Four months of work down the drain. I don't know what other treatment was done, although my ortho vet also offers chiropractic, cold laser, swim therapy and maybe a couple of other techniques. I am glad to hear that the trigger therapy worked for your friend's dog - although I do not know what it is. Time to use Google again.

 

Torque continues to limp slightly even though he is leash-walked. He has a very high pain tolerance, and if he is limping, it IS hurting. I am thinking good thoughts for his operation (on the 22nd) - which, thank goodness, will be done arthroscopically (is that a word?) by the vet specialist in orthopedics and sports medicine. Two small 3/8-1/2" incisions and a 4-6 week rehab period. Keeping my fingers crossed.

 

Jovi

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