13.May 2022

Case of the month: 5-month old Shepherd dog with external rotation of the front limbs


Signalment and anamnesis:

Shepherd dog, 5.5 months, male intact, external rotation of the front limbs, no lameness at physical examination.

For further clarification the following radiographs were taken:



Radiographic description:

  • Triangular-shaped region with reduced radiopacity at both distal ulnar-metaphysis (cone-shaped, flame-like) with a broad base in the area of the physis that tapers proximally towards the metaphysis.
  • A thin rim of increased radiopacity (osteosclerosis) borders this region.
  • The carpal joints appear to be in valgus position on both sides (not fully included in the radiograph).


Bilateral Retained enchondral cartilage core in the distal ulna with secondary angular deformity of the distal forelimbs.





Corrective osteotomy on both sides (ulna osteotomy) with uneventful healing process.


  • A retained cartilage core describes the temporary or permanent presence of hypertrophic cartilage in the area of the distal ulna metaphysis (also described in the distal radius and lateral portion of the femoral condyle).
  • Other diseases such as hypertrophic osteodystrophy/metaphyseal osteopathy can occur at the same time.
  • Young dogs, and dogs of fast-growing breeds (Great Dane, Saint Bernard, Setter) are predisposed, and the disease can occur unilaterally or bilaterally.
  • A retained cartilage core is often an incidental finding without clinical relevance, but it can also lead to regional growth disturbance and subsequently to an angular deformity (radius curvus, carpus valgus).

Many thanks to Dr. ECVDI Thorsten Rick for this case report!

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