Biceps Tenosynovitis

Biceps Tenosynovitis

Biceps Tenosynovitis

A common injury seen in humans and canines are muscle strains or tears. The canine shoulder has 25 muscles to help with movement. Because of the density of muscles and the way our canine athletes compete, Biceps Tenosynovitis (Biceps Tendonitis) has become a common problem especially in agility dogs.

The biceps tendon attaches on the shoulder blade, goes through the shoulder joint, widens into the belly of the muscle and attaches onto the lower leg at the radius and ulna bones.

Biceps tenosynovitis is inflammation of the biceps brachii muscle tendon. This inflammation can be caused by repeated strain injury, quick turns, trauma and even chronic osteochondritis dissecans of the shoulder joint. Tendons have poor blood supply and that makes them even more susceptible to injury.

Muscle contraction strength is greatly affected by even minor strain injury and since the blood supply is so poor, healing of the lesion can be problematic. Scar tissue in the muscle predisposes it to contracture and reinjury.

Biceps tenosynovitis is seen more commonly in medium to large breed dogs that are mature. There can be intermittent lameness that may become worse with exercise. Loss of muscle on the affected leg can be seen and it may be painful upon palpation of the tendon.

Radiographs are not very specific for this problem and MRI or ultrasound may be used to identify the condition. Arthroscopy can be used as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool.

If surgery is recommended then the options include a tenodesis (reattaching the tendon at a new location) or a tendon release by arthroscopy. Medical management of biceps tenosynovitis includes pain management, exercise restriction, and rehabilitation therapy.

Rehabilitation is the main ingredient in recovery whether you choose medical or surgical management of the problem. Treatments will include pain management with NSAIDs, laser therapy, ultrasound therapy, passive range of motion movements, and possibly acupuncture. Exercises will be prescribed for your pet and slowly increased over time.

Strengthening exercises will be incorporated later in the rehabilitation program but the important component is controlled activity. Full recovery may take 4 to 6 months so try not to be too impatient and push your canine athlete too quickly; slow and steady will win the race.

Whether you wish to pursue medical or surgical options, ARCC – Animal Rehab & Conditioning Center is here to help you with your canine athlete during his recovery.

7 Responses to Biceps Tenosynovitis

  • CL Williams says:

    I was reviewing the pictures from your first year. One was of our Adolph who passed 10/13. He hated those goggles and I think he is the unhappiest dog in the pics with them on. However, the treatment did ease his pain and he loved his massages that you taught me to do. I know one day, he will tell me that my laughter at him in the goggles was not warranted and he did not appreciate it! Thank you though for a picture to remind me what a great dog he was! As my daughter said, he was more than a dog. We miss him greatly, but when you have a day that may be discouraging, please remember you make a difference in the animal’s and their people’s lives everytime you help them live a little longer in more comfort and peace! Best of luck as you go forward.

    • Dr. Dicki Kennedy says:

      I am so sorry for your loss of Adolph – he looked so cute in the doggles even if he did hate wearing them. Thank you for your kind words — I hope to always give our pets peace and comfort. Again, thank you.

  • Cat says:

    Nice article, thanks for the drawing too.

  • Donna Ragan says:

    Thank you for having chosen 2 of my pins on my board “Every Day Heroes”, because the dogs pictured there are just that-heroes. They work and protect we humans without reservation.

    We rescued a BABY puppy 6 yrs ago after he’d been dumped at the edge of a field. We took him in, got him to the vet, cleared up a parasitic infection on his nose, got a physical and shots. He’s half Lab, half border collie. Today, he is a happy, healthy 70 lb guard dog!
    We were considering importing a German shepherd from Europe, but as time went by, we knew we already had “our man”! What a loving, happy, protective dog someome “dumped”, but lucky for us! Thank you for noticing my efforts at directing attention to the other kind of heroes!

    • Dr. Dicki Kennedy says:

      Donna — thank you for helping a pet live a full and happy life. It amazes me how careless we can be of other lives since they are not “human” but thanks to people just like you we can make a difference.

  • Hello Dr. Kennedy!
    I wanted you to know that I do read your posts and have read your book two times. I am the one that has Bruno, the hip-problem dog. He does fine all summer long but now with the cold days, he has started to cry. He also has allergies and takes meds for that.
    I wanted to ask if Bruno and I could come by just to get use to the office and surroundings before being treated. He is so crazy shy that it would help. I do massage Bruno when he is hurting and he loves it.
    I am also getting him a coat made for winter. (I know you will think I’m nuts!) He has a Halloween costume with legs and it covers his whole thigh and leg areas. He loves wearing it. So…I’m taking it to my seamstress tomorrow to see if she can copy it. He has a Thunder Shirt and it gets put on during storms, but it doesn’t cover his hips. It is hard to find a coat for him on line as he weighs 135 and is very long and tall. I am hoping to see you this coming Thursday. I will call first to make an appointment.
    Thanks for being there.

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