Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 60 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,226 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So Soro's head dipping issue (yet again)...
We went to our new vet for the first time today and he felt a difference between the "butresses of the stipules... something..." Either way, I felt it too; there's more bone on the inner area of his right knee when compared to his left. I've NEVER caught that before. This vet says it's probably a conformation issue? Anyways, he and I took Soro out to the parking lot and watched him walk and run back and forth a few times.
Here are the differences between the conclusions reached by this vet and my old one:

-the old vet did not notice the bone difference

-the old vet thought it was a ligament issue in the right, rear knee joint. The new vet thinks it might be a front, right leg thing (what I thought originally), but that it might be in his other legs as well because apparently there's something off about his running gait too.

-the old vet prescribed Rimadyl, Glucosamine treats, Adequan later on. The new vet recommends Xrays, and that I finish the Adequan treatment.

-the old vet recommended as little exercise as possible. The new vet said to exercise him as I would, but to refrain from high impact activities like running.

SO. Soro is going in for Xrays tomorrow. Finally. I've been jumping back and forth about doing them and did not want to put him under sedation needlessly, but I'm dropping $600 tomorrow for a FULL checkup. Bloodwork, Radiology, etc. But the vet today is recommending that another vet (who won't be in till tomorrow) look over Soro before the Xrays. This one specializes in bone and arthritis issues, so she may be able to further target the 'problem joints' so that we don't need to Xray everything.

I have very mixed feelings right now. On one hand, I'm glad that I will FINALLY GET A DEFINITIVE DIAGNOSIS after half a year of wondering, worrying and flipflopping. On the other, I'm worried about what that diagnosis may be.
Financially, I'm hoping Soro's insurance will help me out. I'll have spent over $700 before the week is out, and for now he is fine. There is not a shred of me that thought for a moment that I'm not doing the right thing. But... I mean, my family and I planned on medical expenses when we decided on adopting a dog... I'm not that person who can afford to just spend money without thinking though. Currently, I really wish I was (don't we all?). I just want Soro to get better.

Sorry for the rant-like quality of this post! There's a lot on my mind right now and no dog-people in real life to share this with. So I really appreciate everyone on DF :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,074 Posts
I honestly wish you luck. I would be nervous waiting on results if it were me. That is understandable for sure. And yeah, it would be nice if we all had a money tree growing in our yards! Our dogs sure are like taking on another family member alright. This is a serious issue to think about before you take on a pet. I am glad you guys were prepared. It's great to be able to get that stuff off of your mind too!-good luck to Soro and all!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,415 Posts
Good luck! You've certainly been a great owner that is certainly doing everything possible to give your dog the best shot at being comfortable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,226 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks!
Soro was dropped off at 7:30 this morning. I'm picking him up and consulting with the vet at 4:30 this afternoon so I'll let you all know soon!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,226 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Soro's drunk as a college student on a Friday night (from the sedation) :D, but other than that everything went smoothly!
I am relieved and just a tad bit frustrated at the same time. Relieved because the Xrays showed his joints were healthy... fit well into the sockets, no signs of degenerating etc.
The frustrating part of it is I still don't have a definitive diagnosis.

For those who may be interested, here are bits of what was written by the Radiology consultant:
"Full orthopedic exam of forelimbs is normal other than very mild crepitus in full R elbow flexion. Full orthopedic exam of hindlimbs is normal other than mild medial buttress in both stifles (R>L) and very mild joint effusion in R stifle."

Of course I questioned the heck out of the vet, and although these 'mild' findings are not 'normal' development, mild means mild. It could lead to problems in the future, it may not. Either way, the important thing at the present is none of these findings are what is causing the very evident lameness right now.

Treatment plan:
-heavy dosing of Doxycycline. We're going back to the possible Lyme disease idea. I really pushed for this with my first vet but the bloodwork came back negative. Lyme is tricky though, so the doc. wants to see if there is a chance. Soro has had Lyme in the past.

-finish loading dose of Adequan

-normal exercise is fine, just no high impact activity like running or jumping.

Even the vet is a bit puzzled, because both she and I expected a problem with the joints. If things don't get better by the end of roughly 2 months (1 mo. Doxy treatment, 1 mo. off doxy), an MRI of the lumbosacral region is the next step. She suspects it could be an issue of how the spine is sitting in the lumbar region (too loose or too tight). But MRIs run in the thousands and everyone agrees (given that Soro is still healthy and active as can be), to try the doxy and rule out Lyme first. The other possibility is what my first vet has been saying for half a year: sprained the knee ligament (iliopseas). Ligaments aren't seen very well with the Xray but the vet doubts this is the case, and I do as well because of how the lameness has been coming and going for so long. BUT I could be wrong, so no way of ruling that out completely yet.

I declined the blood and urine analysis because Soro is otherwise extremely healthy. The vet did not think this decision was unwise. But at any point (esp. if things don't seem to be getting better) I might go back and have them look at that.

SO. Let's play the waiting game. Meanwhile, I'm sending out the invoice to Trupanion and hoping they will cover most of the bill!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,074 Posts
Wow.....I hope the bill is covered. But most importantly I hope the first round of treatment works....not saying I hope it is Lyme disease....but maybe just a bacterial thing of another sort.... and meds will fix it right up.....or something so simple it is being over looked. I am glad that everything is "MILD" and maybe it will just remain that way if it doesn't disappear.It has to be so frustrating! I am just glad there is nothing MAJOR at this moment or ever for that matter. Good luck and keep an open mind even though it has to be tough! :) Keep us posted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,226 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Abbylynn!
The worst is not knowing... When I first sat down in that office today to go over the results with the vet, I was so worried she was going to say "Your dog has early onset arthritis/hip displysia/osteo-watnot..."
I dearly hope it's Lyme disease (given the options!)! It's still one of those foggy diseases (for people and for dogs) but if it is lyme, and if it does go away, everything can get back to normal rather quickly. But I'll definitely keep you all posted!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,226 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
If I remember correctly, you had mentioned earlier about Soro "head bobbing". Did your vet rule out a neurological issue? I hope you get some answers. I am sure it is frustrating.
Thanks SoCav. The head bobbing was more of a dip with each step, so the vets and I believe it is a physical thing. He doesn't just bob his head randomly, or I'd be very concerned :D We did not completely rule out neoru-issues though. In fact, I haven't brought that up, mostly because we're very sure it's muscular/skeletal but also because if it's neurological I'm afraid what the next step would be...
It might be worth it for me bring up though; a lady that I know recently lost her heart dog to something she thought was trauma (limping/movement issues)... But was actually something to do with the brain as well. Not sure exactly what her case was, but it's scary to think that symptoms might not be so obvious.


I also forgot to mention, the vet also noted *very minor* discomfort and flinching when she applied pressure to the muscles in the lumbar region (around the hip area). It's so slight that both other vets missed it. That's why if this current treatment plan doesn't work out, it's on to MRIs of that region. But for now it could just be soreness from whatever is causing the lameness in general. No clear answers yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,226 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
A quick update on all of this. Soro is halfway through his doxycycline treatment and one shot left to complete the loading does of Adequan.

I've seen the head bob once, very slightly, a few days ago and not since then. Though when it happened I was biking him (not fast, but still much more stimulation than walking). I did bike him again later on and I didn't see it. The spontaneity, and the general fact that his movements seem to be more fluid, make me hopeful that it's Lyme. But I could just be tricking myself into seeing what I want to see, or maybe it's just the doxycycline masking the symptoms. Either way, I've been keeping his activity level pretty high to wear him out (roughly 2.5 hours of brisk walking a day, plus training and playtime and such), but I've been holding back on things like running and jumping. Mind, he has chased a few squirrels, fetched a few toys, and jumped off some low walls. But these weren't bouts of fetch or anything, just isolated moments. Hopefully that won't have impacted him much.

Two things I'm noticing:
-Even though he runs FAST when he's able to, he's still not using his hind legs properly. He's not completely bunny-hopping, but his left and right hind legs propel him at *almost* the same time. It's very close to bunny-hopping and it's definitely not the normal gait. During the initial checkup the vet described his running gait as 'bunny hopping.'

-When he jumps off a wall the landing in his hind legs is sloppy. I'm not making him jump up and down walls or anything. But this one was maybe 3 feet high and we needed to go over it. It's one that Soro can clear with ease and he get's on top of it without a second thought. He's not crumpling or slipping when he lands after jumping off. But there's something off about it that I can't put my finger on...

Oh well, one and a half more months before deciding what the next step will be!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,145 Posts
In my mind, medial buttress + joint effusion = ACL tear (if so, probably partial w/your dog's history). Did you actually see an orthopedist or a surgeon? I would ask for a referral if not.

Keep in mind, too, that doxycycline has anti-inflammatory properties so it will make almost any limp improve whether the limp has anything to do with infectious diseases or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,226 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
In my mind, medial buttress + joint effusion = ACL tear (if so, probably partial w/your dog's history). Did you actually see an orthopedist or a surgeon? I would ask for a referral if not.

Keep in mind, too, that doxycycline has anti-inflammatory properties so it will make almost any limp improve whether the limp has anything to do with infectious diseases or not.
Right, I think the vet mentioned something about it being easier for him to tear his ACL if there was something very abnormal with his bones. But she also said it isn't something I should be overly concerned about at this moment as long as I'm not overexerting him.
She also did say the doxy might help regardless of what it is, which is why she wants to monitor Soro for a month after treatment as well.

I would not be completely surprised if it has to do with his ACL or some ligament in his knee... My question is (and am I right in thinking you are a vet sassafrass? thought I heard that somewhere...) if he does have a minor tear in his ACL, would his symptoms have been as mild as it has been in the last half a year or so? As in still high energy, using all four legs, willing to run etc? My old vet thought it was a ligament sprain. My second question is, if there is a minor tear in the ligament, would that be able to heal on its own or is surgery required? I've seen a video of what is needed to repair an ACL and that's some pretty drastic tendon stretching :D

The vets in the current place I go to both perform surgery I believe, and Soro's vet has some specialization in orthopedics... Would that not qualify as a surgeon or specialist? Either way, I'll be sure to bring this up when Soro has his re-checkup. Thanks for your input!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,406 Posts
The vets in the current place I go to both perform surgery I believe, and Soro's vet has some specialization in orthopedics... Would that not qualify as a surgeon or specialist? Either way, I'll be sure to bring this up when Soro has his re-checkup. Thanks for your input!
Sometimes a fresh set of eyes is helpful. My experience is that there can be a difference between a vet who performs surgery and has some specialization in orthopedics and a board certified surgeon. In my dog's case it was a difference between 3 surgeries and 6 months of a non union fracture and a fourth surgery with the most recent technology available and a usable leg. I don't think the first vet was incompetent. But I do think the board certified guy has more experience and a narrower focus on the things that made for success in our case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,556 Posts
I don't have much to add, but just wanted to send warm happy thoughts to Soro and you. Hopefully you can figure out whats plaguing your sweet guy without having to drop a few thousand dollars for diagnostics.

I went through a TPLO surgery with my Shar-Pei Tucker and was amazed at how well he recovered! He had full use of the leg with no lameness. So if it is a ligament issue, the technology to fix it is pretty amazing and shouldn't slow Soro down too much. :) There is an awesome Ortho specialist in Southern NH if Soro ever wants to come visit. I have lots of raw bones with his name on it. :)

Oh and agreed with Pawz... fresh eyes are helpful. I went through 3 or 4 Vets with Tucker and everyone said something different... You know your dog better than anyone so take the professional advice you get plus all the research you've put in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,145 Posts
My question is (and am I right in thinking you are a vet sassafrass? thought I heard that somewhere...) if he does have a minor tear in his ACL, would his symptoms have been as mild as it has been in the last half a year or so?
Could be, absolutely.

My second question is, if there is a minor tear in the ligament, would that be able to heal on its own or is surgery required?
Possibly. Personally I'd just do surgery because I've seen too many partial tears end up in a total tear. But there are plenty of people who choose not to do surgery on a possible partial tear whose dogs end up fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,074 Posts
Joining the forum very late. Was bathing and grooming dogs all day. I have been following this for some time. I just want to wish you luck tomorrow. I hope all goes well. Will be watching for an update.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,226 Posts
Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Thanks for the advice and good vibes everyone!
(Abbylyn, Soro's not due for a checkup until two weeks, but I'll keep you posted :))

I've been reading a lot about other people's experiences with ACL injuries (a lot on Lab forums, go figure...) and it seems that partial tears could heal up nicely, but sometimes they won't. What concerns me is that apparently, and I could be wrong... If a ligament is taking a long time to heal, the body deposits more calcium and other stuff in that area and this build up (like in Soro's stifles) could lead to arthritis in the future. Everything seems to lead to either cancer or arthritis :D

Or, it might not be the ligament at all.

Either way, I'll be continuing the treatment and keeping you all posted! One thing I know for sure is IF it is a ligament thing, I would rather pay to have surgery done now rather than wait. It's already been over half a year of guessing games and I don't want to waste any more of Soro's youth or muscle mass.

Oh, and just so I'm prepared for the worst... How much would said surgery be and in your experience (those who have gone through it) how long did it take for a full recovery? Full recovery as in the dog is able to run, jump, do agility and be a fully active dog again. I know everything varies between different vets and different dogs, but just getting an idea :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,153 Posts
I *think* an ACL repair at my clinic is around $1,500.. though at the specialist hospital it's $2,000-$3,000. I believe recovery time is approx. 8 weeks... though personally I don't think I'd be doing full on running/jumping/agility stuff until 12 weeks.
 
1 - 20 of 60 Posts
Top