It's Like a Murder Mystery: Another Note on Lameness

As much as one would consider lameness to be one of the symptoms the cause of which can be easily identified, many times it's nothing short of mystery.

A long time ago I have already learned that what you think you see is not always what you got.

It was that way with Jasmine, it has been that way with Cookie and it has been that way with many of my friends. Believe it or not, the cause of lameness can be very hard to nail down. You can jump to conclusions, your vet can jump to conclusions ... One of hubby's favorite lines is, "I know you're certain, but are you right?"

There can be a vast gap between one's conviction and reality.

I try hard not to assume which can be hard particularly if you do have a strong suspect. Here is another example of how mysterious lameness can really be.

Two things happened that day.

Well, two things I know that happened that day. Two things that were out of the ordinary.

While walking around with Cookie looking for mice, she must have spotted one and dove under a trailer axle. Yes, she was on leash but it happened in a blink of an eye. She normally doesn't like crawling under stuff. It was obvious she had a very good reason. With her size and how low the axle is also quite a challenging move. Motivation was clearly high.

Since I have been still trying to avoid anything too challenging, I wasn't thrilled with that. And she still had one more trip under ahead of her because that was the only way to get out of there. The second trip was  nowhere near as graceful because the motivation was much weaker.

I was concerned about the moves her body had to do in order to get in and out.

She looked fine, though, and went about her business of looking for critters. We then went to the office so I could get some more work one, had couple more shorter outings because it was getting hot. Everything seemed in order.

Toward the end of our afternoon walks we were walking across an open area. There was nothing challenging about the terrain that I could tell. No holes, no rocks, no logs ... just a bit of open area with a bunch of old grass.

We were walking slowly because we were going back to cool down. Cookie was behind me when I heard a yelp. I quickly turned around to see what happened.

Everything seemed fine. 

The next time, coming out of the office, I though I might have seen her favoring her hind left leg for a step or two. It was very quick and hardly noticeable. And nothing seemed off after that. We had our walksie and there were no signs of trouble.

It wasn't until after dinner, when I was going to take them potty for the last time.

Cookie got up and was visibly favoring her hind left leg.

Not for long, walked out of it quite quickly. But my heart sank. Hind left leg. The one where the cruciate was bad. Yes, we did the PRP and we were doing tons of physical therapy, laser therapy, acupuncture ... Yes, everything seemed fine. Yes, we thought we were in the clear.

But are you ever in the clear?

The logical approach would be connecting the limp with the yelp. Something happened there that made her yelp. Something I didn't see because I was walking ahead of her.

On the other hand I couldn't imagine what could have possibly happened in that terrain at that speed. Perhaps she stepped on something and hurt her foot?

I examined the foot but couldn't find anything. I examined the rest of her and as much as I could tell I didn't find anything.

The foot looked fine.

And what would be the odds that if she did step on something that she would hurt specifically the foot on the hind left leg? That would have to be quite a coincidence.

Then I remembered the adventure under the trailer. Could she have done something then? I was quite distraught. Was all our effort trying to get that knee healed wasted just like that?

After some deliberation and consultation I gave her some Deramaxx and all we could do was to wait to see what things looked like in the morning.

In the morning Cookie got up and there was nothing wrong as far as we could tell.

No lameness, no favoring. She had a previously made appointment with her acupuncture vet that day. We did share what happened with the vet. She too didn't find anything other that pain response in one of her thigh muscles.

The next day we had an appointment with Jasmine's vet for follow-up evaluation after Cookie's PRP treatment. Originally we wanted assess how well the knee(s) were doing. Now I was concerned.

I did tell him what happened. He evaluated Cookie thoroughly and even knowing about the events two days ago, didn't find any problems at all.

In fact, he was pleased and found Cookie's knees stable and happy.

So what happened? We will never know. Perhaps she strained the thigh muscle climbing under that axle. Perhaps she strained it doing something else all together, as her body is still adjusting to the increase of activity. Perhaps she did step on something. Perhaps the yelp had nothing to do with the lameness whatsoever.

We will never know.

I'm just happy that the knees checked out, she seems fine and whatever did happen was short lasting.

Diagnosis is sometimes like solving a murder mystery. And some mysteries never get solved.

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