Computed Tomographic Features of Non-Lame French Bulldog Elbows

Stephanie Mella, Helen Dirrig, Richard L Meeson
Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol. 2022 Mar 11. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-1744308

Objective: French Bulldogs are predisposed to humeral condylar fractures. Computed tomography (CT) in English Springer Spaniel elbows has allowed identification of humeral intracondylar fissures (HIF), which can cause lameness and predispose to condylar fractures. This study aimed to evaluate CT characteristics of non-lame French Bulldog elbows, to determine the presence of underlying elbow disease.

Study design: Retrospective evaluation of CT images from elbows of non-lame French Bulldogs from scans obtained for soft tissue or neurological evaluation was performed. Images were evaluated for the presence of HIF and other elbow abnormalities: condylar and supracondylar remodelling, humeral condylar sclerosis, elbow incongruency, medial coronoid process disease and elbow osteoarthritis. Descriptive statistics were performed.

Results: Computed tomographic scans from 37 dogs (74 elbows) were reviewed. No HIF were identified, although 28/74 elbows had an intracondylar sclerotic band. Medial coronoid process disease was noted in 16/74 elbows, and small osteophytes were present in 21/74 elbows, suggesting a degree of subclinical elbow disease. Widening of the caudolateral aspect of the radial incisure was identified (37/74) as a breed normal. Elbow incongruency was otherwise rare.

Conclusion: Non-lame French Bulldogs showed a low prevalence of occult elbow disease but a proportion had radial incisure widening. Although humeral intracondylar sclerosis was present in over a third of dogs, no HIF were identified and therefore no clear cause for their increased risk of humeral condylar fracture was identified.