Orthopedics

If you are interested in enrolling your dog in any Orthopedics study,
please complete and submit the Orthopedics Clinical Trials Questionnaire.

Also, have your pet’s veterinary records and any previous radiographs sent to tamuorthopedics@gmail.com.


Proximal abducting ulnar osteotomy (PAUL) study

Title: Proximal abducting ulnar osteotomy (PAUL) study
Background: Elbow dysplasia is a leading cause of degenerative joint disease and forelimb lameness in dogs.

The severe arthritis that accompanies this disease often affects the inside (medial) aspect of the joint; this is termed medial compartment disease (MCD). One surgical treatment for MCD that is often used at Texas A&M is “cleaning out” of the affected joint with a small video-assisted surgical tool called an arthroscope followed by a procedure called the Proximal Abducting Ulnar Osteotomy (PAUL). While the arthroscopy helps to remove damaged tissues, PAUL then shifts the weight bearing axis from the damaged medial compartment toward the minimally affected lateral compartment (outside of the elbow).

Although we commonly use this combination of procedures, there is little long-term scientific follow-up to document the effect on limb use and limb alignment. The purpose of this study is to assess alterations in limb use and limb alignment before and after arthroscopy and PAUL up to 1 year after surgery.

Contact: Sarah Kronberger, AAS, BS, LVT (Coordinator) | tamuorthopedics@gmail.com
W. Brian Saunders, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVS | BSaunders@cvm.tamu.edu
Inclusion criteria and general background information:
  • Labrador Retrievers 15 months of age or older and of good health
  • Dogs previously diagnosed with elbow dysplasia and MCD
  • Dogs weighing at least 50 pounds
  • Dogs with no history of fractures (broken bones), or other traumatic injuries to the forelimbs
Exclusion criteria:
Owner commitments: Must return for 3-, 6-, and 12-month recheck visits.
Financialincentives: The owner is responsible for costs associated with the assessment, diagnosis, and/or surgical treatment of the pet (arthroscopy and PAUL). The owner is not responsible for the costs of the 3-, 6-, and 12-month recheck visits. The owner will receive a financial inventive at the time of surgery (discount at surgical visit) as well as an additional incentive upon completion of the study.

CONTROL GROUP: Proximal abducting ulnar osteotomy (PAUL) study

Title: CONTROL GROUP: Proximal abducting ulnar osteotomy (PAUL) study
Background: In order to compare the outcome of PAUL surgery in dogs with elbow dysplasia, we also need to recruit and study the gait (motion and limb use) of healthy Labradors not affected by this disease.
Contact: Sarah Kronberger, AAS, BS, LVT (Coordinator) | tamuorthopedics@gmail.com
W. Brian Saunders, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVS | BSaunders@cvm.tamu.edu
Inclusion criteria and general background information:
  • Labrador Retrievers 15 months of age or older and of good health
  • No history of lameness, fractures (broken bones), or other traumatic injuries to the forelimbs
  • Dogs weighing at least 50 pounds
  • Normal orthopedic examination and radiographs
Exclusion criteria:
  • Obesity
  • Dogs that are front or back leg amputees
Owner commitments: None
Financial incentives: There are no costs to the pet owner associated with this study. Your pet will receive a complimentary orthopedic exam, x-rays of the elbows, and computer-mediated gait examination (with gait hand-outs provided to clients).

Osteoarthritis natural anti-inflamatory supplement study

Title: Osteoarthritis (OA) natural anti-inflammatory supplement study
Background: The Texas A&M Orthopedics Team is studying the effectiveness of supplemental therapy for OA in dogs. OA affects up to 80% of client-owned dogs and leads to lameness and decreased quality of life. The Orthopedics Team at the Small Animal Hospital in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences is investigating a new treatment for OA in dogs. The objective is to assess the effectiveness of a natural anti-inflammatory remedy.
Contact: Sarah Kronberger, AAS, BS, LVT (Coordinator) | tamuorthopedics@gmail.com
W. Brian Saunders, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVS | BSaunders@cvm.tamu.edu
Inclusion criteria and general background information:
  • Dogs weighing at least 20kg (44lbs)
  • Dogs between 2 and 10 years of age
  • Dogs with a ‘most lame’ leg as detected by force plate analysis
  • Dogs with radiographic (x-ray) signs of OA in shoulder or elbow or knee or hip

Patients will receive a gait analysis, a physical and orthopedic exam, and radiographs to confirm osteoarthritis at their first appointment. Blood and joint fluid samples will also be collected and the patient will be fitted with an activity monitor. Owners and patients must complete eight weeks of osteoarthritis treatment at home. At the follow-up appointment, the patient will receive a second physical and orthopedic examination, force plate analysis, and joint fluid analysis.

Exclusion criteria:
  • Dogs that are pregnant
  • Dogs who are amputees
  • Dogs who have received an NSAID within two weeks
  • Dogs who have had orthopedic surgery within one year
  • Dogs who have received a joint diet or joint supplement within one month
  • Dogs with neurological disease or musculoskeletal pathology other than OA (fractures)
Owner commitments: Owners must be willing to administer the supplement for eight weeks, regularly charge/maintain the activity monitor, and make brief daily entries in a patient journal. Owners must be willing to return for the follow-up visit.
Financial incentives: The costs of both veterinary visits, examinations, diagnostic testing, study supplement, and activity monitor will be covered by the study. The activity monitor and charging accessories must be returned at the follow-up visit.

Treatment for canine cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) insufficiency
with CBLO and cruciate ligament graft study

Title: Treatment for canine cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) insufficiency
with CBLO and cruciate ligament graft study
Background: Cranial cruciate ligament rupture (similar to ACL injury in humans) is a common orthopedic injury in dogs.  Dozens of surgical procedures have been described to treat this injury in dogs. One of the surgical treatments employed by the Texas A&M Orthopedics Team is to combine a cranial cruciate ligament graft with modification of the shape of the tibia (bone below the dog’s knee) using a procedure called a CBLO.  The purpose of this study is to prospectively determine the outcome of this treatment in regards to the patient’s functional outcome as well as survival/healing of the graft.
Contact: Sarah Kronberger, AAS, BS, LVT (Coordinator) | tamuorthopedics@gmail.com
W. Brian Saunders, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVS | BSaunders@cvm.tamu.edu
Inclusion criteria and general background information:
  • arthroscopic image: CCL allograft passage in progress
    arthroscopic image: CCL allograft passage in progress

    Dogs weighing 60 – 80 pounds and not considered obese

  • Less than 7 years of age
  • Have a complete cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) rupture on only one leg for which no surgery has been preformed
  • Have minimal osteoarthritis
  • Have a tibial plateau angle <32 degrees (as determined by radiographs)
  • Have normal pre-operative blood work

Although many procedures are described for treatment of cruciate ligament injury in the dog, no single procedure consistently restores the dog’s knee to pre-injury functional level. The intra-articular allograft procedure is the standard of care for cruciate ligament injury in humans but has not been successful in the dog. The anatomy of the dog’s knee is such that there is excessive stress on the graft during the healing process giving rise to graft failure. Theprocedure described herein reduces stress on the graft allowing for graft survival and restoration of more normal knee function.

arthroscopic image: CCL allograft in place
arthroscopic image: CCL allograft in place

Participation includes a baseline assessment prior to surgery, follow-up recheck visits at 3 and 6 months post-surgery. At each of the three visits dogs will walk and trot across force plates on a short runway to determine limb function. Dogs will also be sedated for x-rays, blood sampling, and joint fluid collection. At the 6 month recheck, we will also require a brief surgical procedure in which we evaluate the graft with a small camera placed within the knee joint through two very small incisions (knee arthroscopy).

Exclusion criteria:
  • Dogs with neurological disease
  • Dogs who are amputees
  • Dogs who have already had surgery to address the CCL rupture on the affected limb
  • Dogs who are unavailable to participate in post-surgical recheck examinations
Owner commitments: The study evaluation period will last a total of 6 months, with a surgical visit and 2 recheck visits (3 and 6 months).

  • Initial Visit: Pre-surgical assessment of limb function and surgery (3–4 days)
  • 3 Month Visit: Post-surgical assessment (~4 hours)
  • 6 Month Visit: Post-surgical assessment and brief surgical procedure (24–36 hours)
Financial incentives: Owners are responsible for the initial costs associated with the surgical visit (pre-operative evaluation, bloodwork, x-rays, anesthesia, surgery, hospitalization, postoperative medications). The estimated cost of the surgical visit is approximately $3000–$3500. A written estimate will be provided at the time of admission and enrollment. Owners are also responsible for all costs associated with any post-surgical complications or therapeutic interventions should complications arise.

The surgical implants and ACL allograft will be provided at no cost and owners are not responsible for the gait analysis or joint fluid analysis or any of the re-check visits.

Upon completion of ALL follow-up visits, a study completion incentive of $1,000 will be provided to owners for their participation.


If you are interested in enrolling your dog in any Orthopedics study,
please complete and submit the Orthopedics Clinical Trials Questionnaire.

Also, have your pet’s veterinary records and any previous radiographs sent to tamuorthopedics@gmail.com.