Sunday, December 26, 2010

Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there

It's up to a positively balmy -5C today.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Three wheels on my wagon

About three weeks ago Piggy started favouring his back left leg when we were out - not limping exactly, but being slightly careful with it, so after checking for thorns in his pads, and all that sort of thing (nothing) we reduced his exercise a bit. This didn't seem to help, and after another couple of days there was a definite limp, so I gave him the standby painkillers for a few days as well as more rest. After 5 days of no improvement at all - in fact he started to go on three legs completely - we went to the vet, and he was gently manipulated to try to find out where it hurt. There was slight stiffness, but when something hurts you tend to tense and 'guard' it, so that was only to be expected. As the usual painkillers weren't affecting it we started him on something else, and dramatically cut his exercise - on-lead toilet breaks only.

A week later he was no better - in fact he'd started crying when he first got up, and wouldn't put any weight on the leg at all. We had to make sure that when he needed a wee that the chosen recipient was on his left side so that he could put his weight on his right leg and not try to cock that one and so collapse in a heap. So yet another type of painkiller was added to his cocktail of drugs, and we decided to sedate him and x-ray to check for severe arthritis or a bone tumour, and also manipulate a relaxed dog to check for damaged tendons.

Nothing wrong with these hips. In fact for an 11 year old dog they're very Mary Poppins (practically perfect).

Then we took a lateral x-ray to look at the knee-joint. That also showed absolutely no sign of any damage (but did show that he was very hungry - his gut was completely empty!).

However there is some spondylosis at the lumbo-sacral joint (where the spine enters the pelvis; if you look carefully you can see a semi-circle of bone beneath the vertebrae. It's possible that this is overgrowth is pinching a nerve, but spondylosis is (apparently) very common in older animals and usually causes no problems at all, and is only discovered on x-rays for something entirely different, like a fractured leg. So that could be completely coincidental.

Manipulation showed the tendons to be intact as well. So although it's good news that there's nothing obviously seriously wrong, we're really no further forward. He's still going on three legs, although when he's been walking slowly for a few minutes he's starting to use the leg again which helps stop muscle wastage, and he can use the leg to scratch himself without trouble. And he'll wriggle about on his back and stretch his legs quite happily with no sign of discomfort. It's just the weight-bearing that's the problem.