Humeral Condyle Fractures

Where do they occur?

These are fractures of the condyles at the end of the humerus. The condyles are the bones at the end of the humerus that surround the proximal end of the ulna, aiding elbow stability during movement.

Why do they occur?

These are seen in young/growing animals, usually around 4-6 months old. They are often the result of jumping off something like a chair or table. This leads to a sudden sharp force being driven up through the end of the humerus and causes the condyles to separate and more commonly, also causes the lateral condyle to break away from the humerus.

How are they diagnosed, treated and cared for after surgery?

This leads to marked lameness/non-weight bearing in the forelimb of the affected dog and pain on movement/palpation of the elbow during exam. Xrays of the affected area show separation of one or both distal humeral condyles.

Treatment involves placement of a screw across the condyles to stabilise the separation, and placement of a small pin through the condyle and humerus to stabilise rotation and allow the humerus-humeral condyle fracture to heal.

The patient goes home with a bandage/splint for support and to reduce use. The dog is kept in a cage for 4-6 weeks to allow time to heal. These usually heal rapidly and they are often running around normally/near normally by 6 weeks after surgery. The implants are not normally needed to be removed.

How much does the treatment cost?

These are currently around $1,500 for one side or $2,000-$2,200, where both forelegs are involved. The procedure is day surgery, with the patient going home the same day.

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