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  • Author or Editor: Sabrina L. Barry x
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Case Description—A 3-year-old spayed female Labrador Retriever was evaluated for progressive lameness of the left forelimb 21 months after being shot in the elbow with a lead bullet.

Clinical Findings—Physical examination findings were consistent with moderate osteoarthritis of the left elbow joint. Orthogonal radiographic views of the elbow revealed multiple metallic fragments in and around the joint space as well as signs of osteoarthritis.

Treatment and Outcome—The elbow joint was evaluated arthroscopically. A lead-based bullet fragment was seen in the lateral synovial compartment and removed in multiple pieces. Excess fibrin and synovium were removed, and microfractures were created in exposed subchondral bone to stimulate neovascularization and fibrocartilage formation. In a follow-up telephone conversation 4 months after surgery, the owner reported a marked improvement in the lameness.

Clinical Relevance—Removal of lead intra-articular foreign bodies may be indicated even if the material is not believed to mechanically interfere with joint motion.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association