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Lameness in dogs & tendonitis

Updated July 19, 2017

Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons that causes lameness in dogs. The most common tendons affected are the biceps tendon (front leg) and the supraspinatus tendon (shoulder). It can be difficult to diagnose, but there are several treatment options.

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Risk Factors

Medium to large breed dogs, especially those who are very active (i.e., agility dogs, racing dogs and working dogs) are at highest risk for tendinitis.


Tendinitis can be acute (caused by an injury) or chronic (caused by repeated, high impact activity, especially running and jumping).


Most dogs with tendinitis will present with front leg lameness. It can be constant or intermittant. The leg will be painful and the dog will have limited range of motion. Signs will worsen after exercise.


Diagnosis by radiography can be difficult because tendinitis is a soft tissue injury. Other diagnostic tests like ultrasound, arthroscopy and MRI can be more useful.

Treatment Options

Treatment for tendinitis might depend on the severity. Medical management including rest for several weeks, cold and heat therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs may be enough for a minor case. Some therapies used for cases that don't respond well to simple medical management include laser therapy, ultrasound, cross fibre massage, magnetic therapy and acupuncture.

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About the Author

Lori Gordon has been writing since 1988. She has been published in "Cobblestone," "Calliope," "Faces," "Young Generation" and "I Love Cats." Gordon is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Christian Writers Fellowship International. She has an Associate in Applied Science in veterinary technology from State University of New York, Delhi and is a licensed veterinary technician in New York State.

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