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Determine whether dogs with well-functioning orthopedic metal implants can develop metal reactivity.


Client-owned dogs that had tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) or total hip replacement (THR) implants for 12 months or more and control dogs with no implants.


Lymphocyte transformation testing was performed by exposing peripheral blood lymphocytes to nickel (Ni), chromium (Cr), cobalt (Co), or a combination of these metals. Lymphocyte proliferation was assessed with flow cytometry. Lymphocyte stimulation indexes (SIs) were calculated. A SI > 2 was considered reactive. Median SIs of dogs in response to metal exposure were compared statistically.


Samples from 10 dogs with TPLO, 12 dogs with THR, and 7 control dogs were analyzed. Six dogs out of 22 with metal implants had a reactive SI to 1 or more metals, while 2 of 7 control dogs had a SI > 2 when exposed to nickel only. When all metals were considered, no differences in metal reactivity were found between TPLO, THR, and control groups.


Metal reactivity is present in dogs and can be identified using lymphocyte transformation testing. Reactivity to Ni is present in dogs with and without metal implants. Reactivity to Co and Cr occurs in some dogs with metal implants.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research