Arthritis or a Knee Injury? Oscar's Story

Collies are like furry rockets. They have endless energy stores and are the happiest in motion. Oscar is no exception.

Dog Conditions - Real-Life Stories: Arthritis or a Knee Injury? Oscar's Story

At one time, Oscar became a bit lame. X-rays revealed that Oscar had some arthritis in his hips. The problem responded to medical treatment and before long Oscar was back in the saddle. His limp has gone and he enjoyed life the way he deserved--in motion.

Until lameness returned

This time it was not a slight limp but full lameness. After a trip to the beach, spent running in the sand, swimming and chasing waves, Oscar was not putting any weight on his hind leg at all. He was holding the leg up and wouldn't touch the ground with it.

Not that it slowed Oscar down a whole lot--he was still running around but using only the three good legs.

Sprained muscle?

Oscar's dad didn't discover any obvious injury and decided to rest Oscar for a couple of days to see if things resolve themselves. A sprained muscle can improve with a bit of rest. Time and rest, however, made no difference. Oscar still wasn't using the affected leg. It was time to see a veterinarian.

The first suspect was a ruptured cruciate ligament

However common this injury is, Oscar's knee didn't feel swollen or sore. Oscar's hip also checked out. If the hip was fine, and the knee seemed fine, why was Oscar limping so terribly?

With the prime suspects not panning out, Oscar's veterinarian commenced a thorough examination, starting at the tip of Oscar's toe, working his way up to the hip and spine.

Mystery solved

As the veterinarian was tweaking Oscar's toes, Oscar yelped. Buried in the thick fur on Oscar's feet, there was the answer--Oscar had a raw wound on the inside of his toe. Because no blood vessels were damaged, there was no bleeding that would alert to the injury. I was, however, painful enough to prevent Oscar from stepping on that food.

Whether Oscar managed to step on a piece of broken glass, broken seashell or some other sharp object, it was the culprit behind his lameness. Oscar will be back on all of his feet in no time.

Read Oscar's story here.

Related articles:
What is that Limp?

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What is your dog telling you about their health?

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is an award-winning guide to help you better understand what your dog is telling you about their health and how to best advocate for them. 

Learn how to see and how to think about changes in your dog’s appearance, habits, and behavior. Some signs that might not trigger your concern can be important indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away. Other symptoms, while hard to miss, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping, are easy to spot but can have a laundry list of potential causes, some of them severe or even life-threatening. 

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is a dog health advocacy guide 101. It covers a variety of common symptoms, including when each of them might be an emergency. 

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