Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore

It all started when Cookie had an run-in with an electric horse fence. So we thought her leg was sore from that. While we realized that it could have been a coincidence, it made perfect sense that the two would have been related.

Sure, mom, I'll be calm ... as soon as I run my five hundred miles.

We did our best to rest that muscle.

Trust me, with Cookie, it is not an easy task. She is a ball of fire and the longer you get her to take it easy, the more pent up energy is waiting to explode.

You might think you're taking her for a slow walk on the leash but you find yourself walking a kite instead. You might think she's just going to potty and she starts flying through the yard hunting imaginary critters. You might think she'll come home and rest but instead she starts playfully bouncing off the walls.

That is Cookie and the cold weather is NOT helping.

Keeping her calm was much easier when it was hot. Cookie finds the cold exceptionally invigorating.

After few days of getting her to take it easy some, the leg looked good.

It was about time, she needed to drain some serious energy.

So we let her run and play with JD. And that night she was sore again.

Too much too soon, we figured.

So back to limiting her activity. Meanwhile, in the attempt to speed up the healing, we took her to Jasmine's physical therapist to see if he would laser the muscles to help them get happy faster. As thoroughly as he examined her, he couldn't find a problem spot to laser. Hm ...

The recommendation was to seriously limit her activity for seven to ten days. Take her to potty seven times a day and have her rest otherwise. Really? Have you met the girl? Have you not ever have a puppy? Hubby's idea was to duct-tape her to her bed. That would probably be the only way this could work. I mean, one has to remain realistic and this girl must be munching on rocket fuel at night.

We did our best, taking long leashed walks.

Leashed to curb her enthusiasm and long to drain at least some of the energy.

Cookie's leg started to look quite good again; there were only tiny things I could notice every now and then, which COULD probably just be me seeing ghosts.

On Thursday Cookie had an appointment for the last vaccinations she needed to get and I asked the vet to also take a good look at the leg, while already there.

To our surprise, he found a lot more than I'd expect with the leg looking good.

He did find painful muscles at the rear end, including the infamous iliopsoas. He also measured circumference and found asymmetry issues on the back legs. Huh.

We just wanted to potentially laser something and instead we're talking about taking x-rays because there could be a problem with the hip.

Her leg seemed to had be working fine by then.

But it is a fact that the eye cannot see EVERYTHING.

All that said, she was literally climbing walls by Friday and while I had my concerns, we decided to take her to the farm so she can finally have some fun and get rid of some of the energy.

She had a lot of fun and was a very good girl.

The whole day there was no indication of a problem. Until she came home and rested for a while. She was quite sore again.

Could it be the hip?

It is true that Rotties are one of the breeds with high prevalence if hip dysplasia. My gut wasn't really feeling it. And if the hip was a source of pain, would she volunteer to lay on her back in the frog position and be comfortable? That is not a position you'd assume with a sore hip ...

Could it be the knee?

Well, sure, everything is possible, but I've seen what the limp after cruciate tear looks like and this looked nothing like it. The way she was limping with the porcupine quill in her foot looked way more like a bad knee limp than this.

I wasn't feeling it could be the hip and I wasn't seeing how it would be the knee.

But our vet was concerned Crap. Having a bad hip which would be causing this much trouble already would really suck for her. Having a busted knee would suck less but still ...

Crap.

Over the weekend we decided we want to get those x-rays as soon as possible so we know what the heck we're dealing with.

I fasted Cookie and Monday morning I called the vet to see whether he could get her in for the x-rays.

He already has some surgeries lined up but he got her in anyway, God bless him.

Cookie's hips are fine! Her knees and her spine are fine too! Yay!

So glad the hips check out.
However ...

The x-rays indicate some past trauma to the pelvis. Kuddo's to our chiropractor honing in on that just from physical examination. Could it be that the pelvis was misaligned the whole time since whenever that injury has happened? Wow.

More importantly, the radiographs confirmed less muscle mass on the right leg and revealed that Cookie's left leg is about 1/2" longer than her right.

When the vet walked in with the x-rays, he opened with "Cookie is quite a unique case."

Figures. So was Jasmine.

So the good news is that all the major joints are looking good. The bad news is that the difference in lengths might be behind the present problem and might also cause problems in the future.

The difference is enough to be troublesome but not enough to correct.

Deep inside I'm still kind of thinking that this was either from getting zapped by the fence, or something else Cookie did that day, and it will go away and never be a problem again.

Perhaps it's with doing a full body scan. You find all kinds of things, and it doesn't mean they would have ever caused any trouble. Maybe it's like that with these findings too. Just because it's there, and just because it could be behind the issue, does it mean it is? The onset was quite acute. No problem we could see leading up to it.

Another thing the x-rays revealed is a previous trauma to left hock, which also happens to be swollen at the present time, which nobody noticed because she's been limping on the right leg. We got a topical treatment for that.

Either way, the present plan is physiotherapy and underwater treadmill to strengthen the muscles and attempt to teach Cookie to walk better.

And maybe I can finally get somebody to laser SOMETHING.

Doctor's orders include long slow walks, so that part Cookie will be happy with.

Well, the long part, anyway, not so sure about the slow. You wanna try take Cookie for a slow walk? Be my guest.

The leg has been looking good last couple days (again).

Cookie also gets Tylenol for the time being, massages and moist warm compresses after walks (as much as she stays put for one). She is SO ready to rumble; the long slow walks will have to be VERY long to take some edge off.

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Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot? 
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
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The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
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2 comments

  1. I am sorry for your little girl, but I love cases like these.

    There is something being missed somewhere. Yes the leg length can be contributing to the problem but that is not why she is specifically limping. There has to be a muscle tear, ligament or tendon strain, or some other joint disfunction that is the current direct cause of the lameness. The difference in leg length causes a functional biomechanical problem which leads to uncommon stresses on other aspects of the body. It is that stress that causes an injury.

    The injury that Cookie is suffering from now has not been found. Keep looking there is something else there. The difference in leg length points to a cause but not the problem.

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    Replies
    1. That's how I feel ... that the longer leg is somewhat of a coincidence. Regarding the joints, she got examined, stretched and bent and twisted by three different vets now, I'd assume that between that and the x-rays a joint problem would have to had been detected by now?

      Also, it is my understanding that joints hurt most in the morning, while muscle hurts most at night? This rule of thumb would point away from the joints also.

      Interesting tidbit is that after last Saturday, when Cookie's leg got quite sore again, the farm dog was limping on the opposite leg the next day also.

      The farm friend said she saw them play and they play very hard, biting at each other's legs. She is convinced that it's bruising of sorts. So that's an interesting theory too.

      Meanwhile, the leg has been quiet since Monday again. Yes, we did leash walks only, but that doesn't mean that Cookie didn't do her share of bouncing and flying.

      I so wish one of our vets finally got the thermal imaging camera, that could maybe show the problem quite readily.

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