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Case Description—A 6-year-old spayed female Border Collie was examined for a severe deformity of the right forelimb. Three months prior to examination, the patient awkwardly fell off the couch and became acutely lame in the right forelimb, progressing to non–weight bearing over the following 72 hours.

Clinical Findings—On physical examination, the dog carried the limb caudally against the thoracic wall, with the shoulder flexed and elbow in extension. The right triceps brachii muscle was atrophied and contracted, resulting in a resistant tension band effect that precluded manipulation of the right elbow joint. The physical changes in the triceps muscle were considered the primary cause of the patient's loss of limb function.

Treatment and Outcome—Surgical treatment by means of elevation and transposition of the ipsilateral latissimus dorsi muscle was performed. The exposed triceps brachii muscles were transected 3 cm proximal to the tendons of insertion. Via a separate incision, the right latissimus dorsi muscle was elevated and tunneled subcutaneously beneath the interposing skin between the 2 surgical incisions. The muscle was then positioned and sutured to the proximal and distal borders of the divided triceps muscle group. Two weeks later, physical therapy was initiated. After 2 months, the patient regularly walked on the limb most of the time (9/10 steps).

Clinical Relevance—The surgical procedure for elevation and transposition of the latissimus dorsi muscle was relatively simple to perform. Physical therapy was an essential component to achieving the successful functional outcome in this case. This technique may be considered for treatment of similar patients in which the triceps muscle group is severely compromised.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association