Each toe of the dog (except the dew claw) has two paired small bones called sesamoids on the palmar aspect (underside) junction between the metatarsal / metacarpal bone and the first phalanges (toe bone).
Fracture of the sesamoid is often secondary to injury resulting in an acute/ painful lameness. It most commonly occurs in the front foot.
It can be seen in any breed but because it is seen commonly affects some breeds over others it is thought that some dogs may be born with musculoskeletal anatomy that means extra forces are exerted on the sesamoids which can result in fracture.
Traumatic injury is thought to be the cause of most sesamoid fractures.
Dogs that fracture their sesamoids will have a sudden lameness that then persists and does not respond to standard anti-inflammatories.
Because it is not a common injury it may be missed on the initial vet visit. Dogs can be particularly sensitive to their feet being handled at the best of times and this can also make palpation difficult. Thorough physical examination and palpation of the correct sore spot usually raises the suspicion of sesamoid fracture.
This may be confirmed with xray and occasionsally musculoskeletal ultrasound, CT or MRI.
Rottweilers, Greyhounds and dogs competing in agility are commonly affected.
A simple padded boot to reduce pressure on the affected sesamoid and time is often sufficient to heal many of these injuries.
Some troublesome cases may consider laser and shockwave therapy to encourage natural healing.
Few dogs with fractured sesamoids will require surgery.
Conservative treatments offered by Balance Vet Rehab that may be beneficial for these pets include:
Shockwave (COMING SOON)