Rotator Cuff Repair in a Dog: Laney’s Shoulder Injury

Shoulder injuries in dogs don’t get a lot of attention but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen. And they can be difficult both to diagnose and treat.

There used to be a time when I only became concerned when my dog started limping on a hind leg. That is until my dog did hurt her shoulder.

The shoulder joint is highly mobile, and it is stabilized by soft tissues, which include the joint capsule, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. That makes it vulnerable to soft tissue injuries.

Further information: The Shoulder in the Working Dog

Shoulder conditions in dogs include muscle strains and tears, shoulder capsule disorders, and tendon disorders. Problems can arise from both acute or repetitive trauma.

Further information; The Canine Shoulder: Selected Disorders and Their Management with Physical Therapy

As I learned, shoulder injuries in dogs can be painful and take a long time to heal.

Rotator Cuff Repair in a Dog: Laney's Shoulder Injury

One of the reasons I am excited about Laney’s story is not that Laney received an innovative treatment right up in our neck of the woods. And when I say woods, I mean it literally in this case.

Laney’s story

Laney is a young Great Pyrenees and Border Collie mix. She is active, a canine equivalent of a speeding bullet. When Laney played, she played hard.

Close to her first birthday, while playing at the dog park, Laney took a bad tumble and left the park limping. Because the limp didn’t resolve after they came home, her mom took Laney to a veterinarian.

At the veterinarian

Their local veterinarian examined Laney and figured she suffered a minor injury that should resolve on its own. Laney’s mom felt that the injury was more serious than that and sought a second opinion at Espanola Animal Hospital.

While you could say it’s a hospital in a low-populated rural area, they have amazing surgeons and provide state-of-the-art care. I’ve been following them closely because I love the idea of having such advanced surgeons close to the middle of nowhere where we live.

Laney’s diagnosis

With the use of advanced equipment, Laney was diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear. Laney needed surgery. Current techniques, however, are tricky and highly invasive.

A different option

The team at the Espanola Animal Hospital, however, had been developing a new, innovative approach, using TightRope® fixation system.

You might have heard about TightRope for surgical repair of ruptured cruciate ligaments. Can the same idea help with the treatment of a shoulder injury? With enough ingenuity, you apparently can.

The surgeons figured out how to utilize a device that was developed for repair of a dislocated hip to fix Laney’s shoulder. The TightRope® fixation is a minimally invasive technique designed for ligament repair.

Put it all together and you have an elegant solution for a torn rotator cuff. It turns a daunting, lengthy surgery into a 15 minute operation.

Laney’s recovery

Laney was out of the operating room in half an hour and walked out of the hospital the next morning.

She doesn’t favor the leg at all and you couldn’t tell she suffered a major injury. The only remaining challenge is to keep Laney from getting too active too soon so she can recover properly.

Source story: Innovative Technique Makes Canine Rotator Cuff Repair More Feasible

Related articles:
Observation Skills for Dog Owners: Cookie’s Sore Shoulder
Why Is My Dog Limping? Causes of Lameness in Dogs—Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog

Further reading:
Shoulder Instability in Dogs

8 Comments
  1. nancytsocial

    Great to hear that there are less invasive options available that get the animal back to full health quickly. I’d be interested to hear how much the surgery costs.

  2. I’m glad that Laney has had such a great recovery! I know that rotator cuff surgery in humans can have a long recovery time.

  3. This is great information to know! Our boy Indy plays much like you described Laney plays. He’s a flat-coated retriever mix and when he gets going, there’s no slowing him down. He’s like a bullet across the yard! He has wiped out a few times before, but we’ve luckily never dealt with any kind of serious injury as a result. That being said, I appreciate the information because it wouldn’t shock me to see us dealing with something like this some day in the future!

  4. Wow. I’m glad to hear that Laney did so well with the rotator cuff surgery. That could be such a painful injury. It sounds like that TightRope solution is really quite innovative and helpful for dogs like Laney. Definitely a great option!

  5. Congrats to the vets for thinking outside the box and finding such an innovative and functional solution. I hope Laney has a long incident free life.

  6. Interesting and I am at the moment dealing with Layla and a sore neck. Laney was lucky that she was young so it would also heal quicker than in an elderly dog.

  7. So glad that Lana was able to be treated quickly using a less invasive technique. I bet she can’t wait to run around pain free again.

    It’s just amazing what they can do these days to help dog’s live longer, healthy lives.

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