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Dr. Will
Dr. Will, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 231
Experience:  Summa Cum Laude 1994, Orthopedic, Adv. Laser Sx. Training, TTA qualified
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I am looking second opinion on my dog's condition.

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Hi, I am looking for a second opinion on my dog's condition. She is 6 years and a flat-coated retriever (a small one). She began limping a bit on her left hind at the end of June. After one week I took her to the vets, who gave her a NSAI for 5 days and said to rest her as she thought it was a muscle injury. No change 4 weeks later so took her back. ALso showing slight muscle wastage on the left hind.
Another vet did a hip flex test and she cried. She then went back for x-rays 4 days later. X-rays showed pretty mild hip displasia but no signs of osteoarthritis. It showed bone spurs on the lower part of the knee joint where the cruiciate ligament joins, worse on the right than the left (she's lame on the left). It also showed advanced spondylosis of the spine but only on two vertebrae and they had pretty much fused, plus a bone spur was starting on the next vertebra back, the one practically by her pelvis.
My dog was quite sorry for herself for several days following the first manipulation then 3 days after the x-rays. The vet put her on Metacam. I started her on YuMove. CHeck up 7 days later and she was limping more than before. The vet gave her more Metacam and also Tramadol. She suggested physio, and she had a session on the day. (next one scheduled in a couple of days). That was 4 days ago, and we've been slow walking 3 times a day too, giving MEtacam and Tramadol. She is a little worse today and if allowed to trot she half limps half hops on the back.
Other symptoms include not putting weight on the left hind when standing still, unable to sit down properly, doesn't sit for long but slides into a lay. When she lays from standing she flops down rather than goes down gently.
The vet is treating the symptoms - she says she wants my dog to use the leg to build the muscle back up again. She thinks she's had a knock which had made something hurt in her back. Twice this week my dog had a little accident where she had her mornining poo (like clockwork) and came back in the house then tried to rush out again as she hadn't completed the last little bit of poo - I don't know if this is because it hurts to hold the position for long enough or whether she's losing control/can't tell when she's finished/can't feel what's going on.
I want to know exactly what is causing the pain and treat that because whatever it is, it is causing the symptoms to get worse, rather than just treating the symptoms - should I get her examined by another vet? My vet shrugs off my questions about what is causing the pain. I asked about surgery and she said she could have a hip replacement - I really don't believe her hips are the problem. With continued worsening limping could it be that her nerve is affected now by the spondylosis? I know it's difficult to tell without seeing all the evidence but of course I'm not a vet and I don't know if I should be asking my vet to do more or get a second opinion from another practice. Our vet is a small-town practice in a rural county, perhaps I should take her to a more modern practice in a city? Cost is not an issue for this little dog.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Will replied 2 years ago.
Hey, So sorry your buddy is hurting. Statistically a rear leg lameness is most likely to be a cruciate injury. Add to that minimal response to NSAIDs and that makes this more likely. Hip issues are generally symmetrical and don't cause one leg limping. Cruciate tears can be tricky to diagnose because the instability can be masked by muscle tightening secondary to pain. It is the instability that perpetuates the limp even on good pain meds. The dog hurts much less on meds but the joint is still unstable and unsupportive of weight bearing. Sometimes an evaluation under sedation to feel the characteristic "drawer" instability is needed. This injury does not reveal itself on x-rays, although the presence of bone spurs can be supportive of chronic instability culminating in a tear.
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Expert:  Dr. Will replied 2 years ago.
Metacam and tramadol is great pain relief. Continued rear limb limping supports cruciate tear and instability of knee and does not fit hip issues, although they may well also be present as is the spinal spondylosis.