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Persistant lameness please help!

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by zjarrold, Aug 24, 2013.


  1. zjarrold

    zjarrold PetForums Newbie

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    Any advice would be greatly appreciated I have a 9 year old very fit and active golden retriever who started limping a few months ago. We took her to the vets who examined her and said she was extremely tight around the shoulder and first thought maybe the onset of arthritis/she prescribed some antiinflammatries, synoquin and to get a bio flow collar as well as restrict her walks. She suggested a check up after 6 weeks, 3 weeks later there was no signs of improvement so we took her back and they suggested xrays so we could at least see what the problem was and then deal with as well as some stronger anti inflammintries (these didn’t do anything either). First xrays thought slight elbow dysplasia so referred her to a surgeon, the surgeon initially though possibly disc in her spine pushing on a nerve but when we visited him and examined her he said it was definitely her shoulder. She then had an arthroscopy which showed no damage to her shoulder joint but it was very inflamed so he flushed the joint and gave a steroid injection. He advised no going up stairs, no jumping in and out of the car only lead walks etc He said we needed to help build up the muscle as she had some muscle wastage and hopefully the injection will have taken the inflammation allowing us to do this and to come back in 4 weeks to check on her. She didn’t limp for around 5 days and then it came back as bad as it was before. I took her back to the vets to ask if this was normal and they said it can only last a week to 2 weeks but should last a few months, they assured me that at least if it had worked we had established the problem was definitely in the shoulder. I spoke with the surgeon again who confirmed there was nothing wrong with her joint purely the muscle around it. I am going back to see him Tuesday but just wondered if anyone else has had experience of this and can offer me some advice as my little girl is so active and doesn’t take pain seriously which is why it worries me something is wrong for her to be limping. I’ve cut her walks down to just a walk around the park which she is hating and making her more hyperactive and I hate as she’s not living life the way she loves running around. Considering how long her walks have been cut down for now as well there has been absolutely no sign of improvement. I would just love to know if there’s anyone else who has experienced this and if so what you did to help?
     
  2. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

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    It sounds very similar to what I have had with my Malamute. He had front leg lameness on one leg. Was checked with an orthopaedic exam at the vets and put on anti inflammatories and rest. Which didn't seem to do much at all. He them had lots of xrays, nothing showed up, so rest and anti inflammatories continued and still didn't really do anything. We were then reffered and they did a scan his problem too had always been located to his shoulder area. Nothing showed on the scan, so they kept him in overnight and put the caera in the shoulder again nothing showed on that either, except wasted muscle around the shoulder the same as yours. Finally after another 6 weeks rest it resolved.
    His rest consisted of no going up or down stairs, preventing him from jumping on furniture, coming downstairs or jumping back down is actually the worst as all the full weight is on the front legs and shoulders. No running or play. He was supposed to have complete rest and toilet breaks only on lead. As I was having problems with him getting stressed when I took the others out instead I agreed with the vet to literally have him on lead and walk a few houses down, cross the road and walk him back, which helped as it seemed phychologically at least he felt he had been out.

    He was fine for about a year and it re-occurred, we we did 6 weeks rest on anti inflammatories and it wasn't better so went back to the specialist where they thought this time it was perhaps more his elbow. Yet more scans on elbow and shoulder again and nothing showed up. They even kept him in and several of the orthopaedic specialists examined him the next day as they couldn't after the scan as he was still too groggy. They found absolutely nothing and it was put down to soft tissue again. Finally again after probably 6 weeks rest it resolved again. He too has a tightening in the shoulder area when it happens you can actually feel it. We have had a few minor set backs over the years but with rest as soon as it happens then its resolved pretty quickly. So all in all sounds very similar.

    What I have found sets his off is hyper extension and manipulation. His always occurred after play with my other dog, and the front leg had been bent and extended at odd angles during play. Although one time it did re-occur after her launched himself off the decking at top speed after a fox. What I also found happened every time too, was on many instances there was a reduction in the limp grade although nor better completely after a few weeks rest , and every time he went for a check during recovery the orthopaedic exam with manipulation and hyper extension always put the severity of the limp back to square one. One time as it improved I actually phoned and asked if I could just pick up more anti inflams instead of having to get him in the car and have him jumping down. They insisted he come in, watched him walk said it had gotten less grade of limp wise and I asked them not to examine it which they insisted on doing and then we were back to square one again.

    The only thing that works with him is rest, no messing it about at all, deffinately no play where its going to be bent at odd angles or over manipulated, no repeated examinations and the medication doesn't seem to help or reduce the time. What I have found too what works on the tight shoulder that I did at my instigation is massage and tellington touch, it certainly doesn't feel so tight and seems to ease it when it happens. I have also put him on Mobile bones that seems to have helped too and even if we have had an odd set back he is only limping slightly and it does recover a lot quicker. As said the couple of bad incidences have taken weeks to a couple of months plus, but with him it seems rest and just observation to monitor progress seems better then continued regular orthopaedic exams throughout the recovery.

    I cant offer any advice as to what it is, because after all the diagnostics and two scans on the two bad occasions we still didn't get to the bottom of the cause and it was just put down to soft tissue injury.

    I haven't tried it because mine has been OK now for a good while but I have heard that K-Laser theraphy can get good results with various injuries. So that may be worth looking into. Or looking at various canine massage providers may help too. From all accounts there do seem to be some good results.
     
  3. 8tansox

    8tansox PetForums VIP

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    Fletcher my Rottie had a limp. We took him to the vets, had x-rays, he spent 24 hours at Langford's Veterinary Hospital, they couldn't find a thing wrong. I've been taking him to hydrotherapy now for about 3 months with physio (which I have been shown how to do myself) and - touching wood rather quickly, he's not had any recurrence. Fingers crossed it's a combination of the hydro and physio. I won't stop taking him though even though he appears to be ok, because I do think it's doing him so much good, and we like the lady who owns/runs it. :eek:
     
  4. rona

    rona Still missing my boys

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    What is your Goldie like after a swim?
     
  5. zjarrold

    zjarrold PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you so much for sharing your stories and I must admit I'm sceptical of her having any other surgery or meds because it being a muscle injury. She loves to swim so hydrotherapy is something I'm really keen to try because she loves swimming and I think will help strengthen the muscles and from what I've read hydrotherapy combined with physical therapy sounds a really good idea. It's interesting you both day about the massage as this is something I've read that's really beneficial I suppose similar to us two legged species a good massage when you've got tight muscles so ill look up the tellington touch you mention. With regards to after a swim its hard because its been quite a while since she's been swimming as our local river she adores swimming is down steep banks and as we're just doing lead walks and I don't want her jumping up and down the bank I've not tried out plus I was worried about cold water making her stiff as only found out 2 days ago nothing to do with joint. Therefore I might try finding a local river with no banks and let her have a swim to see how she goes. I've also starting investigating acupuncture and have found someone locally so fingers crossed the combination of everything will start to help.
     
  6. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

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    There is some good videos on tellington touch on you tube.

    Sarah Fisher from TTouch UK introduces TTouch - YouTube

    Tellington TTouch - Sarah Fisher - Discover Dogs - YouTube

    The first is a short introduction and demonstration the second is nearly an hour taken from a seminar.
     
  7. zjarrold

    zjarrold PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you very much for that ill have a look tonight & give it a go
     
  8. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Soft tissue injuries are a nightmare....!!

    Personally I wouldn't let her swim in a river or lake but rather take her to a hydrotherapy pool where the water is a warm and controlled temperature and an experienced hydrotherapist will monitor her and will make sure she uses her injured shoulder muscles.

    Have a look on the web to see if there's a animal sports massage therapist in your area. They very often run courses where you will be shown how to massage your dog.

    HTH
     
  9. zjarrold

    zjarrold PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for that I was a bit wary of cold water I've got an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon who carried out the arthroscopy weds to talk about options so will ask him for a referral to hydrotherapy so she can start ASAP. Ill certainly look into any courses as the more i can do for her everyday can surely help as i must admit the more i read about these injuries l can see what a nightmare they are. The worst nightmare is I write this she's trying to play fight with my other dog and throw herself around the living room
    As she's so hyper from having such small walks. I keep trying to get her to calm down and feel awful as she looks at me like why aren't I allowed to even play breaks my heart
     
  10. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

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    That may be a lot of your problem the playing with the other dog, that certainly has been the case with mine, it was after play that it mostly occurred especially if they play rough, pin each other down and end up with legs and body twisted at all sorts of angle and extensions.

    I had to stop play while he was resting, even then a few times I left them asleep nipped up to the loo, and before I could get back down they were wide awake and playing. A few times, even that minute or two was enough to put him back and make him limp more and ruin any progress we had made.

    It is awful and it is hard work, but its for their own good too, as if it continues then you are likely going to get set backs and/or its not going to get better as it will be constantly causing trauma to it.
     
  11. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Hard that it is you've got to rest her. I do appreciate how difficult it is when you have another dog and your bitch is hyper-active but the muscle damage will never have a chance to heal.

    I have a 5 yr old extremely lively collie bitch who has been intermittently lame since the end of January. She's been seen by two vets, orthopedic specialist, had x-rays taken, been seen by my chiropractor 3 times, plus a canine sports massage therapist and I've had thermal imaging of both hind legs, back and hips carried out.

    She has been on restricted exercise and at times total rest and I have two other collie bitches so I do know how difficult it is to keep them contained.

    With soft tissue injuries (muscles, ligaments, etc.) it is usually a case of rest and it can sometimes take months and months before they are totally sound.

    My understanding is that with a break once the bone has knitted its as good as new, whereas with a pullied muscle, torn ligament, etc. there is always a weakness.

    I've been training dogs for over 35 years and have had more than my fair share of dealing with these problems.
     
  12. zjarrold

    zjarrold PetForums Newbie

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    It's just so horrible not being able to explain to them
    Why your telling them to not do something they always do but I know I have to in order for her to have a chance of healing and can see its going to be a long road
     
  13. zjarrold

    zjarrold PetForums Newbie

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    The vets did say to me these are one of the hardest injuries to heal and can take a very long time. I just want to do everything I can to help her and make it as comfortable as possible as its horrible thinking she's in pain as dogs are so amazing at covering that up. I think I've got to face it really is going to take a long time and although I think I even resting her maybe I need to rest her even more.
     
  14. zjarrold

    zjarrold PetForums Newbie

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    The vets did say to me these are one of the hardest injuries to heal and can take a very long time. I just want to do everything I can to help her and make it as comfortable as possible as its horrible thinking she's in pain as dogs are so amazing at covering that up. I think I've got to face it really is going to take a long time and although I think I even resting her maybe I need to rest her even more.
     
  15. rona

    rona Still missing my boys

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    It does sound as if hydro (if the vet agrees) is going to save both you and your dog a lot of stress, as it gets rid of all that pent up energy. Makes you feel less guilty too :)
     
  16. zjarrold

    zjarrold PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks Rona that was my thoughts exactly give her something to enjoy and use up some energy as well as assisting with recovery
     
  17. zjarrold

    zjarrold PetForums Newbie

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    Okay can't believe it took her for our 5 m ute walk yesterday and after a few days of rest I Could reall see a difference so was so happy that it seemed we were making progress even before starting hydro. Then piped out this morning for a few hours came home and can hardly walk on her leg she's pretty subdued can't believe it. I phoned vet straight away who said keep her as contained as possible as got meeting with vet who did surgery first thing in morning. Just breaks my heart that it seemed we were getting a tiny step and now worse then she ever was.
     
  18. rona

    rona Still missing my boys

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    Oh dear, must be heartbreaking :(
     
  19. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

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    Shes probably been up to something while you have been out, and put herself back. Ive had exactly the same problem, making great improvement and literally a minute or two mines done something stupid and back to square one or limping worse still, so you begin the whole rest all over again.

    I have had set backs, Hopefully she hasn't done too much and with rest again she will be back on track.

    I know how you feel, Ive been nearly there with minimal limping and thought not long now and we have had to start again. Even when its back to normal you do need to watch them and build up exercise gradually for a good time, as you can bring on a re-occurance if they do too much too soon or something stupid.
     
  20. Renata

    Renata PetForums Member

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    At 9 years old - she is not a young chick any more. She will need more time to heal. Our Keera (she will be 12 in Nov) had her operation in January 2013 (TTA operation, ruptured ligaments). She never showed any pain after the injury and before the operation and was very unhappy that she could not go out with our other dogs. Operation was successful, but healing took a long time - probably because of her age. She needed to build the muscles back, her leg was really weak. Hydrotherapy and physiotherapy did wonders. She is now back to normal. Be patient with your dog. They are little rascals and never listen to advice. After the operation Keera jumped up on a window when nobody was around and she was not allowed to jump!! I hope your dog's shoulder will heal all right.
     
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