To describe a cranial arthroscopic approach to the stifle of South American camelids and to report our clinical experience with camelid stifle arthroscopy.
Experimental study and retrospective case series.
(1) Cadaveric alpaca hindlimbs (n = 18; 9 alpacas); (2) 1 alpaca and 1 llama
Polymethylmethacrylate joint casts (n = 2) were made to define stifle joint dimensions. Cadaveric stifle joints (n = 16) were evaluated arthroscopically to determine arthroscopic portal locations, describe the intraarticular anatomy, and report potential complications. An alpaca and a llama with stifle joint disease had diagnostic arthroscopy.
Successful entry into the stifle joint was achieved in 16 cadaver limbs. Observed structures were: the suprapatellar pouch, articular surface of the patella, femoral trochlear ridges and groove, cranial aspect of the femoral condyles (n = 16); distal aspect of the cranial and proximal aspect of the caudal cruciate ligaments (14); and cranial aspects of the medial and lateral menisci (11), and cranial meniscotibial and intermeniscal ligaments (8). Stifle arthroscopy allowed for joint evaluation and removal of osteochondral fragments in 1 alpaca and 1 llama with naturally occurring stifle disease. Complications of cadaver or live procedures included minor cartilage scoring (3 stifles) and subcutaneous periarticular fluid accumulation (8 stifles).
Arthroscopy provides a safe approach for diagnosis and treatment of stifle lesions in South American camelids.