Ligament Laxity in Nonerosive Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis in Dogs: Five Cases (2009-2017)

Whitworth F, Adamantos S, Frowde P, Whitelock R, Black VL
J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 2019 Jul/Aug;55(4):210-214.

Ligament laxity is a known complication of erosive immune-mediated polyarthritis (IMPA) in dogs. The purpose of this study was to describe the occurrence and clinical features of carpal or tarsal ligament laxity in cases of nonerosive IMPA in dogs for the first time.

Five client-owned dogs with a diagnosis of nonerosive IMPA and carpal or tarsal ligament laxity in which the influence of corticosteroids was excluded were identified. Medical records were reviewed, and data including signalment, investigative findings, and treatment regimen (e.g., surgical management) was extracted. Primary care practices were contacted to obtain follow-up, and the data was descriptively analyzed. The affected joints were either carpi and tarsi (n = 3) or carpi only (n = 2). In three cases, surgical arthrodesis was performed. Three dogs were euthanized (1 mo, 12 mo, and 5 yr) as a result of the severity of clinical signs and poor control.

In the four dogs surviving >6 mo, multiple episodes of relapse were recorded, and multimodal immunosuppression was needed. The prognosis for the dogs described was poor, with none achieving control of the disease without ongoing immunosuppressive therapy. Damage to soft-tissue periarticular structures may be related to prolonged clinical disease or a more severe presentation.

Jaccoud’s arthropathy in humans with systemic lupus erythematosus may represent a homologous presentation.