Run like wind again: Palette’s limping story

 “Lets go for walk!” We said to Palette,who perked up her ears and butt wagging from excitement to hear her one of her favorite words “Walk”. It was around her 1 year old birthday and, we went for a little longer distance walking route all around community lake (took about one hour to back home). We enjoyed new scenery and she enjoyed new smell on the new walking route.

 A couple of days later, I have noticed she was not putting much weight on one of her hind legs and, we took her to local vet clinic.

 The local vet took her leg’s X-ray and she was sedated for him to be able to see abnormal function of the legs which is called “drawer sign”.

 What he did was manipulating her leg to see if she had any abnormal sliding motion. He showed us X-ray picture and told us she might have torn ligament considering she had drawer sign when he tested it. So, we were off to see Orthopedic Special Vet.

 After we heard that Palette might have torn ligament, I searched a lot on possible surgeries to how they recover and what medication are commonly available,what you would expect if we did surgery  and so on.

 Listening to animal care specialist (vet)  is good,but it is also important for you to be informed what you can do to help your furry friends to get better, and know pros and cons for surgeries, know about medication pros and cons. And ask the vet if you had any questions regarding care.

 At the special clinic, Special Orthopedic Vet touched her legs,which Palette was not happy about, and checked how Palette walks (it was not as bad as hopping with one leg, but she barely put her weight on one of her legs and limping) and checked X-ray picture and she too thought it must be a ligament tore.

 So, what are ligaments?

 When Palette is diagnosed as possible ligament tore, our vet showed us plastic dog knee model to explain what is going on with her knee joint.

 Ligaments are at knee cap area and they are crossing each other. It holds two major leg bones: femur bone and shin bone. When one or both of the ligaments is tore, bone can slide abnormal directions. Thus,dogs feel funny when they want to put weight on particular legs and they limp or keep holding bad leg up in the air when standing up.

 I am not sure what cause Palette limping, but here are our doubting points as cause.

 * Dogs run fast and especially Palette being a herding dogs,she loves to do quick turn while running around. When she tried to change direction,she might have put extra stress on her joint and it could have caused her limping.

 * Maybe stress put on her joints overtime via jumping,changing direction at mid herding play run

 * Or, we used to have slippery bottom floor from bottom stair step, and I wonder if she coming downstairs running and slipped on bottom floor to change direction and pulled muscle.

 * Or, we went for walk a bit longer than usual on that particular walk and she put too much stress on her joints on that day enough to cause limping?

 I wrote “pulled muscle” in later 2 possible causes I could think of because after she went through surgery, vet found out that Palette’s ligament was perfectly fine. Ligament was not torn at all.

 Therefore,what special vet did was just looked at her ligament, closed her leg up. And limping still continued. After all, our orthopedic vet was unsure why she was limping, and they could not stop her limping. They were scratching their head to come up with the cause of her limping and treatment.

 Anyway, while we were with the special vet, we talked about surgery. At that time,both vet (local vet and special vet) thought her ligament must be torn.

 Common surgery for dogs with torn ligament is TPLO ( Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy ). What vet does is basically cut the bone to make it flatten tip, and secure bones with screws.

 Let’s watch what TPLO surgery is and what pros and cons it has with video.If you are a blog subscriber,please click  here.

 As you heard on the video, it seems many of TPLO surgery is done for large dog like Rottweiler. When our vet was talking about TPLO surgery,she did not recommend it to us.

 Major reason why was the screw and bars were too big/long for stumpy Corgi like Palette and size does not match well. So, what she recommended was to do non screw method, which involve suture to secure the bone and suture itself would dissolve into body overtime.

 It did not involve cutting bones,and it sounded less invasive. So,we were back and forth between thoughts of restricting Palette’s activity and more resting to avoid more stress on her knees and hoping for natural recovery or going for surgery and hope for Palette does not need to limp anymore.

 You can read more on what ligaments are, what are options for treatment at marvistvet website here.

 Watching Palette limping was painful for us, and especially when we know she loves running around the house or loves compete running to house on walks with me. We chose to go with non invasive surgery with suture and, Palette went under surgery.

 After hours later,we got a call from orthopedic vet telling us they found no ligament tore and,they checked possibility of Patella luxation,which is common knee problem among small dogs (knee cap pops out)  but she did not see it either. So, she told us she would close Palette’s leg up.

 That night, it was heavy rainy day, and it was the day Palette had to go through all the recovery process just like other dogs who went through the same surgery for ligament tore.

 Only difference was that, Palette’s limping problem still was there and nothing has improved after surgery. It made us worry more about her. And,it was the only day we have heard of her howling in her crate at night. Palette never howl, at least we have never heard her howling except the surgery night.

 When we went to vet clinic to pick her up, we could tell she was happy but she was in pain. She came out with Plastic Elizabeth collar and fully shaved leg. We went home with pain medication and Palette had long period of recovery time ahead of her.

 Below is her leg picture after surgery.

 Vet told us followings.

* Palette can eat all she wants (No restriction as to diet)

* Let Palette wear Elizabeth collar to avoid her chewing or licking the incision area. Licking,chewing can cause irritation/infection and can cause delay for healing

* No running, no jumping, no stairs. This applies to inside/outside house both

* No slippery floor.

 Some of the things vet told us is hard to keep like no jumping, no running. However,most of the time, her pain medication “tramadol” seems to make her sleepy and I remember she spent quite time nappin
g near us.

 Many vet would prescribe Remadyl (Non-steroid Anti Inflammatory drug) for pain medication because it is such a common drug to be prescribed to for pain control.

 However, make sure you are informed about pros and cons on this medication. Long term on this medication can cause kidney/liver failure. Side effects for this drug include,change of appetite,diarrhea,vomiting etc. And make sure to tell your vet  if you give other medicine,herbal medicine etc other than medication your dogs was prescribed to.

 Some drugs cannot be administered at the same time, and could cause serious problems. I personally stay away from Remadyl but if Palette had to be on it for any reasons, I will keep an eye on any small changes in her.

 Then, if anything alarming is found,I would stop the drug right away, and take her to vet clinic. You can read more on Remadyl at Startribune website here.

 To avoid running/jumping,we put Palette on short leash and made sure she cannot run,and less convenient to jump. She was on leash to go potty as well. We did not crate her, and we just let her be near us all time with short leash and restricted her activity.

 During the recovery time,of course,there was no walk. As she got better about a couple of months,we backed to routine but from very very short distance walk and no jog involved.

 Then gradually,we backed to regular distance walk.That walk was not daily walk. Looking at her  thigh, I still can feel difference from one thigh to the other.One side is a little thicker feeling than other leg.

 It is not very noticeable but when you touch her legs,you can feel the difference. Maybe because during limping time or recovery time,she was favoring one of the legs and bad leg was not used as much as it should.It might have led to muscle loss on one of her knee a bit. 

 Now,we have stairs. She needed to use stairs to go up and down. So, we picked Palette up and to go to potty or going to other room,if there were any stairs on the way,we picked her up and made sure she does not use stairs at all.

 If you have a large dog and not the size of dogs you can carry him/her up to destination area,you can leash them short and go slow one step by step. We could have done that way, but Palette need to bunny hop in order to go one step up, one step up and we thought it would be better for us to carry her for stairs.

 Lastly, we have put bigger rug on bottom of the stairs, so that she would not skid when she come running downstairs after recovery.

 So, Palette had restricted activity for 2 months or so and,I am sure it felt like forever for her.

 After everything we went through with her for her recovery from surgery, more search for the cause of limping has began. Yet,real cause remain mystery.

 We think Palette must have pulled her muscle during play or run in the house. And maybe,with restricted activity and Glucosamine condroitin supplement, without surgery, her limping could have improved some.

 What made her limp free after all? It was Glucosamine/Chondroitin/NZ Green lipped muscle joint care tablet. It was something I started giving her after reading about joint health and benefit of Glucosamine/Chondroitin. She was on it for 1 week or so, and voilà,she was limp free.

 Now,she is not on the tablet at all. However,I make sure I give her natural source of Glucosamin such as poultry feet (chicken feet etc),Gullet, Trachea regularly and give her fish oil capsule (not the one that has omega6 along with omega3).

 And, it is not that she is arthritis dogs,but I use Orthopedic bed for her. Orthopedic bed, which has egg crate in it, is very gentle to joint. And, last but not least,I make sure she gets exercise (walk, Frisbee, training, ball etc) and make sure she stays fit.

 She is a long back dog, and especially, extra weight on joint is not good for her. Many of dog food or treats are salty or sugary and highly processed. Choose them wisely. This is another reason for you to read the label of everything you give to your dog.

 Below is Palette’s bolster bed that has egg crate inside. She loves to put her head on side. This particular one is for daily resting not inside the crate.

Palette on bolster bed

 She also has Orthopedic bed that has pillow attached.Yes,she has her bed with pillow The bed is called Microsuede Ortho Mat with pillow. This is one of her favorite bed.And,favorite bed for me to wash. Because the cover is easy to take off and it does not take space in washing machine.

 For 3 years from her limping time, she is limp free. For her, giving her Glucosamine tablet worked, and limping was not via torn ligament. No one knows for sure what was causing her limping.

 I am happy she can run again,but I still wonder what was the problems, every time I see her doing her business (potty) putting more weight on one of her used to be her good leg. She does not limp but she got habit of doing potty putting some more weight on used to be her good leg.

 On the side note, this picture below is Palette wearing “Comfy cone”. It is soft Elizabeth collar and I did not get to use this when she was going through all this long recovery time, but I used it when she had hot spot some falls ago.

Picture from front

Picture from side

 With Plastic classic style Elizabeth collar,she tend to dig up the dirt with tip of the Elizabeth collar because making sure safety of where she does potty is very important to her
(she sniffs very good to make sure her spot is safe), and every time she dug to sniff area,I had to remove the Elizabeth collar with my half eye on her to make sure she does not secretly chew on spot while I wash it. I after all decided to take it off when we go for potty and put it back on after potty.

 With classic plastic Elizabeth collar, I had to fight with holes to snap it on for long time, and it was really frustrating.

 With comfy cone, it is easy to put it back on. You just need a second. And it is not as hard as plastic one and seems comfortable. Supposedly,you can fold back when you feed your dogs for easy access for meal.

 I think, as for meal,it is more comfortable for dogs to be able to eat meal without the collar because they would not be chewing/licking anyway but eating. And,you maybe supervising them.

 I am not endorsing any of these but, I found it to be one of my favorite items for Palette.

 This is the story of Palette. < /font>I am happy to see her run like wind again with her tongue hanging out.

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Nov 22, 2009 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

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