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Sesamoid Disease in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

Do you think there is a chance that your dog has sesamoid disease? If so, then here’s the place to start reading up so that you can learn everything there is to know about sesamoid.

What is sesamoid disease?

Sesamoid is a disease in dogs, horses and other large animals that actually has three different names: Sesamoiditis, sesamoid degeneration and sesamoid disease. Sure, they’re almost the same, but we just thought you should know them all!

Sesamoid Defined:

A Sesamoid this is actually a small bone that connects joints, often in paws. When an animal has sesamoid disease, it means those bones are degenerating or wearing out. As a result, it impacts how all the surrounding bone (like the patella), tendon, ligament, cartilage and the joint capsule interact. When the sesamoid goes out, the whole thing is prone to problems!

What happens in sesamoid disease?

Sesamoid disease is a joint disease which causes lameness, particularly in the front feet (though it can also impact back feet). It will be difficult for a dog to walk as there is degenerative problems in the joints. Chronic sesamoiditis is more likely to affect big dogs or horses.

As far as dogs go…

Dog breeds such as a Rottweiler or a Mastiff, will be more prone to get it than smaller dog breeds such as many terriers or spaniels.  But, to be honest, this is a pretty misunderstood disease and veterinarians and medical researchers still have a lot to learn about what actually happens and why.

With that said…

It should be noted that this is not the same thing as a joint dislocation or luxation. It’s also different from what is known as a fragmented coronoid process or a medial coronoid process. This happens at the elbow joint, not in the feet. These bone and joint problems will have a completely different pathology and treatment plan then sesamoiditis.

Symptoms or Clinical Signs

Sometimes you won’t even know that something is wrong, but of course in many you will notice.  Your first clue will be that your dog or horse will likely begin to exhibit problems while walking. He/she may also have swelling near the joint or thickened joints. He/she could have osteoarthritis as well.

But we should reiterate…

There’s still a lot of research to be done, so it’s kind of unclear if osteoarthritis is a secondary condition or a primary condition; we just know it’s common for a pet to have both! Also, your pet may have a bone fracture and is definitely going to have some pain.

Diagnosis & Treatment Options of Sesamoid Disease in Dogs

In order to diagnose this disease, your veterinarian will probably want to take an x-ray of the sesamoid bones. In the x-ray he or she will be able to spot any chronic inflammation or degeneration of the bones.

Upon diagnosis…

Some veterinarians may not suggest treatment, but others will say that your dog or horse needs surgery. Really, it’s a case by case situation, our suggestion is that you may want to consult more than one vet before you take the plunge. I


It’s true that for some animals, surgery will do more harm than good. However, if the surgery does work, your pet might be walking better in no time. It’s really a decision you’ll have to make after really thinking about it.

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have sesamoid disease (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!


The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!


So how much is it going to cost to get your pet healthy? Well, that really depends. As we mentioned, you are probably going to want to see more than one vet before you come to a conclusion. So, you’re already starting with twice the vet bills when it comes to diagnosis. Imagine your dog needs treatment. If you do decide to go the surgical route, it’s going to depend on how many sesamoid bones are affected and which the doctor decides to operate on. Surgery, as you know, is never cheap!

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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