Infraspinatus contracture is a uni- or bilateral fibrotic myopathy of the infraspinatus muscle that is usually secondary to trauma in hunting or working dogs. Clinical signs include an acute lameness, pain, and swelling in the shoulder region. The lameness subsides, but a gait abnormality develops 2–4 wk after injury as muscle fibrosis and contracture progress. Clinical signs include a characteristic adduction of the elbow, abduction of the foreleg, and external rotation of the carpus and paw. The limb is circumducted with each stride of the leg. Palpation of the shoulders reveals outward rotation of the humerus as the elbow is flexed. Treatment consists of resection of the fibrous musculotendinous portion of the muscle, including tenotomy of the tendon of insertion. Limb and joint functions are immediately improved, and prognosis for full recovery is excellent.
Last full review/revision March 2012 by Joseph Harari, MS, DVM, DACVS