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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 has three different names: Sesamoiditis, sesamoid degeneration, and sesamoid disease. They’re almost the same, but we thought you should know them all!

Sesamoid Defined:

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

What happens in sesamoid disease?

The sesamoid is a joint disease that causes lameness, particularly in the front feet (though it can also impact the back feet). It will be difficult for a dog to walk due to degenerative joint problems. 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, honestly, this is a pretty misunderstood disease, and veterinarians and medical researchers still have much to learn about what 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 different pathology and treatment plan than sesamoiditis.

Symptoms of Clinical Signs

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

But we should reiterate…

There’s still a lot of research to be done, so it’s unclear if osteoarthritis is a secondary 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 will have some pain.

Diagnosis & Treatment Options of Sesamoid Disease in Dogs

To diagnose this disease, your veterinarian will probably want to take an x-ray of the sesamoid bones. In the x-ray, they can spot any chronic inflammation or degeneration of the bones. Some veterinarians may not suggest treatment upon diagnosis, but others will say that your dog or horse needs surgery. It’s a case-by-case situation; we suggest you consult more than one vet before taking the plunge. I


It’s true that for some animals, surgery will do more harm than good. However, if the surgery works, your pet might be walking better quickly. It’s a decision you’ll have to make after thinking about it. This brings us to where we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals. We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel your pet may have sesamoid disease (or any other health issue), you will want to have them checked out by a vet ASAP! An early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering them, but beyond that, diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!


So, how much will it cost to get your pet healthy? Well, that depends. As we mentioned, you will probably want to see more than one vet before you conclude. So, you’re already starting with twice the vet bills for diagnosis. Imagine your dog needs treatment. If you decide to go the surgical route, it will 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 also 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 suitable 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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