Objective: To describe the clinical signs and histologic changes in cats clinically affected with medial humeral epicondylitis (MHE) and evaluate long-term outcome after either conservative or surgical treatment.
Study Design: Prospective cohort study.
Animals: Client-owned cats (n = 17) with MHE.
Methods: Cats diagnosed with MHE, based on clinical signs, radiographs and computed tomography (CT), were prospectively recruited. Cats were treated conservatively for an initial 4 weeks, followed by either surgery or continued conservative treatment. Followup examinations were performed at 6 and 12 weeks and at 6–49 months.
Results: Cats had a mean age of 10.3 years and presented for chronic lameness. Examination revealed pain on palpation caudodistal to the medial epicondyle and by exerting antebrachial supination/pronation with elbow and carpal flexion. Lameness was restricted to 1 limb although CT revealed bilateral disease in 11/17 cats. Free mineralized joint bodies were identified in 9/17 cats. Nine cats were treated surgically and 8 cats were treated conservatively. Intraoperative findings included new bone formation at the origin of the humeral head of the flexor carpi ulnaris muscle with displacement and adhesions of the ulnar nerve. Microscopic examination revealed neurogenic myopathy in 4/9 cats treated surgically. Seven of 9 cats treated surgically were free from lameness by 12 weeks. Seven of 8 cats treated conservatively were chronically lame throughout the study.
Conclusions: Cats with forelimb lameness should be evaluated for MHE. This condition is associated with free joint bodies and neurogenic myopathy. Surgical treatment is associated with excellent outcome in the majority of cats.