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Swelling On Ankle


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I think it was in November 2014 that I let Tracker run in our pasture and noticed that he limped on and off he next day (hind right). Over time, the limp disappeared (to my eye). Then I let him run again here and there. Things continued for the most part fine, with a mild desire on his part to protect his paw during cleaning his feet, and I didn't notice any limping on the hind right. However, he came to us 5 years ago with a slight limp on the front right from a race track injury. I'm so used to a limp that I'm simply not able to discern whether that limp comes from the front or the back. 2 weeks ago I noticed a swelling on his hind right ankle for the first time. The tendon above the hock was definitely thicker than on the left. I look at this guy carefully all the time; but I have no idea whether that swelling had been there since November or only since shortly before I noticed it. I just can't imagine I missed it all that time. Last Monday, I finally took him to the vet. She had me walk him up and down, and said there clearly was a limp (I completely forgot to mention to her the front leg limp--but then I would expect that a vet can discern between those two?), and when she moved his leg around to see what hurt or didn't, he never flinched or yelped or pulled away. She said it's quite possible that he sprained his ankle in November and that these things can be slow to heal (he's 8). She put him on Metacam and for a few days the swelling seemed to go down, but today we went on a walk and now it seems the swelling is bigger than it has been before I even noticed it for the first time 2 weeks ago. He still doesn't limp to my eye. It's very confusing.

 

The vet said to keep him on Metacam at full dose for his weight (73lbs) for two weeks, then taper off by going down in 10lb increments per week. If that isn't going to resolve the issue, she would need to do x-rays.

 

I guess what I'm wondering is whether others have had the same experience with incredibly slowly healing tendons; what treatment worked for them; and whether I need to be worried (as the vet indicated) that the limp/desire to not pull full weight on leg when getting paws cleaned can come from somewhere else entirely (worst case osteo). Any thoughts?

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I wouldn't wait on the x-rays. Unfortunately this is pretty classic osteo presentation. Obviously I hope to heck its not and because you have a specific incident where you think he may have injured himself there is a good chance that's what this, but with the fact that the limping has been intermittent and the sudden swelling, I just wouldn't wait. If it is osteo, you want to makes decisions about treatment quickly and more importantly get him on appropriate levels of pain medication.

 

Really hope its just an injury that isn't healing well. :goodluck

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Guest normaandburrell

Yes, I don't want to scare you, but this is pretty similar to the way in which our first dog presented, and his eventual diagnosis was a pathological fracture most likely due to osteo. Sending good thoughts your way.

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I'll third x-ray as soon as possible. Hopefully it's nothing but it's better to know sooner if it's something serious as Jen pointed out. Good thoughts for Tracker and you.

Kyle with Stewie ('Super C Ledoux, Super C Sampson x Sing It Blondie) and forever missing my three angels, Jack ('Roy Jack', Greys Flambeau x Miss Cobblepot) and Charlie ('CTR Midas Touch', Leo's Midas x Hallo Argentina) and Shelby ('Shari's Hooty', Flying Viper x Shari Carusi) running free across the bridge.

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I second the recommendations to x-ray first. With our angel Lana we lost valuable treatment time because her limping was treated as a probable soft tissue injury first (it was in fact osteosarcoma). The initial signs of osteo can be subtle, especially because greys are so good at hiding pain. Tracker's age (8) is also when many greys are diagnosed with osteo.

 

If Tracker is on Metacam for any length of time make sure the vet checks his kidney function with both blood tests AND urine tests. Our angel Duke had chronic kidney disease that wasn't detected by the blood tests. If the urinalysis shows any protein in the urine, ask that the urine protein creatinine (UPC) ratio be checked.

 

I hope it's not osteo and that Tracker makes a quick recovery.

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Now you have me all worried, but since there's such agreement, I scheduled an x-ray appointment for next Tuesday with a specialist. Praying everything is ok. Thanks for the tip on checking his kidney function for the Metacam. His vet said nothing about that, which makes me wonder how thorough she really is.

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Now you have me all worried, but since there's such agreement, I scheduled an x-ray appointment for next Tuesday with a specialist. Praying everything is ok. Thanks for the tip on checking his kidney function for the Metacam. His vet said nothing about that, which makes me wonder how thorough she really is.

It's not standard protocol to do blood work and a u/a before starting an NSAID, especially in an otherwise (seemingly) healthy dog. I wouldn't do it myself unless I felt there were some need, but I also do annual blood work so I have a baseline so the longest any of my dogs will have gone is 364 days. :P It is standard to check blood work every 6 months or so if you keep a dog on medication like that continuously, but you're far away from that.

 

Not saying it's not the safest/most cautious thing to do at least a quick panel to check major organ function (or really just run a U/A because you often pick up kidney disease symptoms there first), but I don't want you to feel like your vet is being negligent. Not recommending the x-ray is also pretty standard for vets who aren't well versed in osteosarcoma in greyhounds. My vet actually took the x-ray and still missed Neyla's cancer! So I think going to the specialist like you've planned is your safest bet. Will be keeping fingers and toes crossed on Tuesday - let us know what you find out.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Thanks for all your good wishes, and NeylasMom's explanation about protocols. With that in mind, I'll have the specialist do a panel and/or U/A, since that hasn't been done for I think almost a year. I feel he'll be in better hands with the specialist anyway, since her office sees a lot more greyhounds that my backwater vet clinic.

 

I'll write an update on Tuesday, hopefully benign...

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If you still have no definitive answer, consider doing a consult online with Dr Couto. I didn't trust the vet at the practice since we didn't get our usual one. Dr Couto wasn't sure so he forwarded the images to Dr Dyce at OSU at no extra charge. Turned out to be an "avulsion of the insertion of the cranial tibial muscle" in just about in the same area as your Tracker.

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta
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