Friday, September 2, 2011

Of Hips, Knees, and Feet

September 2, 2011
Athens, GA

Tessa has been exhibiting some intermittent lameness in her right rear leg, mostly after strenuous exercise, starting last fall (hunting season), but it is a very subtle limp, more like a stiffness, nothing very persistent and she always recovered fast. Finally in April, when other people started noticing that she is favoring her right rear leg, I took her to the vet for evaluation. The physical exam was normal and there was no diagnosis, and the recommended treatment was at least 3 weeks of rest with leash walks only, and Dasuquin and/or Cosequin supplements.

All summer long Tessa has been on Dasuquin and Cosequin, and after about 4 weeks of rest we carefully added off-leash running back into the mix. The summer was extremely hot which kept physical activities at bay, and thankfully we had several opportunities to go swimming/dock diving, which is such great exercise. The leg seems much improved, however, there is still some occasional short-term stiffness.

Today I took her in for x-rays to see if anything is going on and rule out stress fractures, hip dysplasia and tumors. The results were as follows:

The hips are almost perfect. Almost, because her right hip, here seen on the left, seems to be slightly off - like a slight rotation - but the vet said he can't be 100% sure about this and if it is indeed so, it is very, very subtle. Since it has been noted on the right leg though, which is the leg that has been giving her trouble, mild dysplasia on that side is a possibility.

But basically, she checked out fine, and there is no further course of action. When I asked what I should do to keep this from getting worse and to support hip health, he said "This dog lives to run. Let her live." I could not agree more! Of course, I will continue to be vigilant about any changes, and Tessa will stay on her Dasuquin/Cosequin regimen, with added fish oil.

The knees checked out fine, both are totally identical with no signs of arthritis, which pretty much rules out a knee injury, which by now would show some joint degeneration. The drawer motion test was performed under sedation and was negative - both knees are solid.

Fine feet, too!

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