Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Very Bad News for Charlie

Charlie started limping on Monday - he was favouring his front left paw, and I couldn't figure out why and he wouldn't let me touch it. By yesterday he had stopped using it entirely, and I couldn't get an appointment at my own vet until this afternoon (Wednesday afternoon) - so last night we went over to the Metro Animal Emergency clinic so they could have a look at him.
It turned out he had some soft tissue injury to a couple of his toes - but they also took some xrays of his left elbow and shoulder and they found out that he has elbow dysplasia happening in his left elbow, which is very bad news for him. He's also been acting really stiff in his back end too, lately - which means that he's probably also got hip dysplasia happening in his back hips too - so he's probably got arthritis creeping in in all his joints. Poor Charlie. He's only 9 years old.
He's always had a high tolerance for pain, so he doesn't show when he's in pain - but the last little while - he's been showing that he's feeling very uncomfortable - I've been trying to get the dogs out more because Dilly is just so full of beans, and I guess that Charlie is paying the price.
So now $400 later Charlie had a nice big dose of pain medication and a prescription for Metacam and he's feeling much better a day later. He'll now be on Metacam for the rest of his life at this point - he'd already been on glucosamine for a long time. He's also now on Seacure - I've been giving that to Buttercup - but now Charlie will also be getting the predigested contents of white fish stomach's too! It's supposed to be a miracle life rejuvanator - I've seen it's results on another dog - hopefully it will work for them too!


  1. Anonymous11:10 AM

    That's so ironic. My 8-year-old girl was diagnosed with problems in both her cranial cruciate ligaments, last July, and now has lameness in her forelimb.

    After she was hind lameness was diagnosed as a probably partial tear in her one hind limb (with the second likely to tear soon, thereafter), the two TPLO surgeries were almost perfunctory. But we decided to wait until the end of cottage season, for obvious reasons.

    As the surgery date loomed closer, something just didn't feel right. I referred to it as "my spide-y sense was tingling."

    Granted, she was on Metacam/Meloxicam. But her original limp (the one that brought her to the orthopedic specialist for diagnosis) had been barely perceptible at the time, and was now completely gone. Within just a week or so of being diagnosed, she was back to her old self.

    And her old self, I might add, is completely puppyish. I can't tell you how many times I'm asked, "How old is your Great Dane puppy?" When I say, "She's eight," the people usually assume I mean eight months. I often have to correct them and say, "...eight years."

    She's really no different than when I adopted her, at just under a year in age. She has "the zoomies" at least twice a know...with the rounded back, the legs every which way, running at top speed - often in big circles - with a wild look on her face. She L-O-V-E-S to run and jump and play with puppies. Thus, people mistake her for a puppy herself. Even when we're on leashed walks, her bouncy gait looks far too energetic to be an adult dog.

    A n y w a y . . .

    She just didn't "look" like a dog that needed such brutal surgery. If, like most TPLO candidates, she'd been limping heavily, or worse, it wouldn't even have been a question. But she was, for all intents and purposes, perfect. Why tear open her legs, cut her femurs, reshape them, and then re-attach the pieces with bolts and a metal plate? It's so unnatural, not to mention the pain and laundry list of potential complications that could occur.

    After a great deal of research on TPLO and cruciate ligament surgery in both humans and dogs, I decided to opt for the non-surgical rehabilitation route. Surgery would always be there. Why not go with the least invasive option first?

    That worked out just fine. With a few months of slow, steady rehab., she's completely back to her old self, in terms of her usual, unbelievable(!) muscle development in her thighs. (I already mentioned she was back to her playful self within days of being diagnosed.) Dane folks often comment on how muscular and fit she is. Greyhound folks often ask if she has some Grey in her, because of the size of her thighs. She's the picture of physical fitness.

    Needless to say, I'm glad I opted for the rehab. route instead of surgery.

    But...just when I was about to start weaning her off the Meloxicam, she developed a limp in her left forelimb.

    I'm still waiting a bit to see if it self-corrects. But if it goes on much longer, I'll have it diagnosed. It looks to be more proximal than distal, so I'm suspecting "shoulder". I sure would like to get her off the pain medication, though. Hopefully this new wrinkle won't be anything permanent. (fingers crossed)

  2. Anonymous11:14 AM

    "After she was hind lameness was diagnosed as a probably partial tear in her one hind limb..."

    Mental note: Always "preview".

    "After her lameness was diagnosed as a probable partial tear in her one hind limb..."

    Damn that cheap crack. It's a lesson for the kids out there. Always spend that little bit extra on the good stuff. ;-)

  3. Anonymous12:08 PM

    So sorry to hear about Charlie. ((((((hugs))))))) Damn dogs and their ailments!

    take care,
    ~Amanda, Zoe, Chilli & MOTH

  4. Good Luck! Poor Charlie. Wishing you both the best.