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Laddie's Been Limping On Left Front Leg


Guest amn70
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Hi everyone, I haven't been on Greytalk for quite a long time. My boy Laddie will be turning 10 in May and has always been in good health except for his bad teeth. He only had 14 recorded races back in the summer of 2007 before retirement and no known injuries. But it looks like now his age may be catching up to him.

About 3 weeks ago Laddie broke the dewclaw on his right front leg. Of course it was painful and I gave him Rimadyl for a couple of days to help. Within 2 days all was well and he was fine. No swelling or infection or anything. But strangely and literally a day or two later he started limping on the opposite, the left front leg, Since it wasn't the right leg I knew it couldn't be related to the broken dewclaw. Mostly the limping would occur after getting up from laying down. He would seem to walk it off within a few minutes and appear fine but once he'd lie down and then again get up it would occur again. I figured maybe he hurt himself so I decided to give it a few more days or so to see if it improved but by end that week it was no better.

So I took him to the vet. They did an Xray of the left leg and found no signs of cancer in the leg or shoulder. They did say he had a bit of arthritis in the elbow and wrist joint. They also thought they saw a slight narrowing of one of the spaces between two vertebra in his neck although manipulating of his head left to right or up and down did not cause any distress. Since manipulating his wrist and elbow also did not appear to cause him any discomfort the doctor said it could possibly be a pinched nerve somewhere in the shoulder area and decided to put him on Rimadyl for 14 days and if there was no improvement we would then dig deeper.

 

Honestly to me based on everything I also do not think the source of the pain is in the leg itself but rather somewhere near the shoulder or upper spine and when he bears weight on it a certain way such has lifting himself up from lying down. He has no issue with me moving the leg around in different ways when he is lying down. He is totally relaxed when I do it no matter how far I extend it or bend it. But if I try to raise it while is he standing up he shows distress and he fights me to put it down. The right leg he has no issue with me lifting or manipulating while he stands which brings me to what I am about to mention.

 

We are at beginning of week 2 the on Rimadyl and there is no improvement and strangely within the last fews days I have noticed in addition to limping on the left leg he is now occasionally holding the RIGHT leg up when standing still almost like a Pointer would. Its as if lifting the right leg relieves the pain somewhere else but as soon as he begins walking he goes back to limping on the left one again. Also since yesterday I am noticing he is even more distressed as he is mildly panting at times after walking around for a bit which with Laddie clearly means he is in a higher level of pain than normal since he never pants unless he is warm (We are in below zero temps right now) or stressed. He isn't one of those dogs who pants when he is content or relaxed so I know the panting means he is in some sort of discomfort.

Oh and one other thing. About 6 weeks ago I put him on Glucosamine with Condrotin, not because he was showing any real problems but because he is getting up in age. So it amazes me that since putting him on the supplements he has suddenly developed this issue.

But the way things are going it looks like I will be needing to take him back in for further evaluation. Really hoped this would pass but isn't looking that way. So any advice on all this would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Edited by amn70
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It is not uncommon to have front limb lameness with cervical spine pain. The pain runs right down their radial nerve. Often medications prescribed are a NSAID, tramadol and a muscle relaxer -robaxin (methocarbamol). Often adding gabapentin will be beneficial too. Use only a harness from now on and provide lots of rest. I would radiograph the neck and spine however, often more advanced imaging may be needed to find a definitive condition (MRI).

Do you think the weather conditions have had a cause for his lameness--did you notice any recent falling, slipping on the ice, walking in deep snow?

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How did he break the dewclaw? If he caught it on something he could have injured the other leg pulling it free

 

Uncertain but it happened inside the house while he was running around. I don't think he got it stuck in something in such a way that he would have had to pull it free. Last time it happened it was because his foot slipped going down the stairs and he caught it on the edge of the step. The previous time to that he was playing with his toys and I think he went to pull on his stuffy with his mouth while it was under his paw and it hooked on his dewclaw. Strangely he only breaks the dewclaw on his right leg, never on the left.

Agree that it could be a neck/spine problem, and those can take a long time (weeks) to resolve. Pain meds, muscle relaxers, limited exercise, and time :bighug

 

Thats sort of what I hope is the case. The doctor says that may be the case which is why I suspect she wanted to try a 14 day round of pain meds to see if it gets better.

It is not uncommon to have front limb lameness with cervical spine pain. The pain runs right down their radial nerve. Often medications prescribed are a NSAID, tramadol and a muscle relaxer -robaxin (methocarbamol). Often adding gabapentin will be beneficial too. Use only a harness from now on and provide lots of rest. I would radiograph the neck and spine however, often more advanced imaging may be needed to find a definitive condition (MRI).

Do you think the weather conditions have had a cause for his lameness--did you notice any recent falling, slipping on the ice, walking in deep snow?

 

The only weather factor I suspect is the cold and air pressure. He has not slipped outside at all that I am aware of and I watch him when he is out. His outings during the winter are limited to him going into his run to do his business and come back in. He not much for hanging out outside and likes coming right back in. Unless the temps are 40 or more I generally don't walk him in the winter.

If you have insurance I would for sure do and MRI. Something is hurting him and the meds are not helping.

 

No insurance. Once the 14 days of Rimaydl are done if things haven't gotten better I will see what steps the doctor wants to take next. Maybe as others have said trying Tramadol, Gapabentin and/or Robaxin to see if they work better is the next step. Guess we'll see.

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Well I just don't understand it. Two days ago Laddie was feeling the worst he has felt since this started. Yelping when getting up and such. I had pretty much realized that we would have to pursue this thing further. But something crazy happened. He woke up yesterday being almost completely back to normal and today even more so. Occasionally I think I see him mildly favoring the left leg when he walks but it may just be that I am so focused on how he is walking that I am imagining it. Not sure what changed but he his old self again. I really was starting to get concerned. Maybe it was a pinched nerve and somehow it unpinched itself overnight the other night although I can't imagine how. I will still be finishing the Rimadyl course since I have 3 pills left. But at this point I will just watch and see how he is going forward. Hopefully it problem doesn't return.

 

Thanks everyone for all your advice,

Adam

Edited by amn70
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That's a good update! Hope he continues to improve. :goodluck

Cynthia, & Cristiano, galgo
Always in my heart: Frostman
Newdawn Frost, Keno Jet Action & Chloe (NGA racing name unknown), Irys (galgo), Hannah (weim), Cruz (galgo), & Carly CW Your Charming

Princess http://www.greyhound-data.com/d?i=1018857

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are." -- Unknown

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Well it looks like I spoke to soon. The problem returned within two days. So strange. He goes from being at his worst to almost a complete recovery in 8 hours and then 48 hours or after that he wakes with the exact same problem. I would expect a change one way or the other to be gradual not sudden. He also has completed the 14 day Rimadyl regimen although the problem returned the day before his last dose so the problem returning wasn't due him going off the Rimadyl. Oh well, back to the drawing board. Going to make an appointment this week to have the right leg xrayed. So strange that when he stands he doesn't want to put weight on the right leg but when he walks its the left leg he limps on. And again while laying down he has no issue with me manipulating and bending either leg. It seems to be only when the legs are bearing weight that it bothers him.

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Sending good thoughts. Keep us posted.

Cynthia, & Cristiano, galgo
Always in my heart: Frostman
Newdawn Frost, Keno Jet Action & Chloe (NGA racing name unknown), Irys (galgo), Hannah (weim), Cruz (galgo), & Carly CW Your Charming

Princess http://www.greyhound-data.com/d?i=1018857

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are." -- Unknown

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest amn70

Wanted to update everyone on Laddie. Well on 2/27 I took him back to the vet and they xrayed the right leg and shoulder. While they found no issues with the leg other than the same mild arthritis as was in the left leg but the vet saw something suspicious on the upper part of the top (the ball) of the humerus bone, the one that goes into the socket of the shoulder. She wanted a radiologist to review it. Finally got the word back this past Tuesday that the radiologist is also concerned it could being cancer although cannot say for certain at this point.They want Laddie back in for another xray in two to four weeks to see if there is any change in it. If it shows change then that more or less confirms it is indeed cancer. So right now he is on Tramadol and Rimadyl but in last 5 days they don't seem to be working anymore. The Tramadol was helping at first but now the pain he seems to be getting worse. He's limping badly and does not want to use the right leg and also has become very hesitant to climb or go down the steps. He even yelped a couple of times while going down yesterday. Even with the limp he manages to be able to eat and go out in his run to do his business so he is still functional in those respects. And still seems painfree when laying down thankfully so clearly it is only when he bear weight on the right leg that he has pain. But there is no way he can 2 or 3 more weeks before going back for the followup so I am going to contact the vet this week to see what others meds we can try until then. But the fact that the pain has gotten progressively worse over the last week really makes me feel that it is indeed cancer. If it was a disc in his back as originally thought I wouldn't expect that the pain would grow worse so fast especially with him being on the meds although I could be wrong.

 

I can't stand seeing him like this and frustrated not knowing what is truly going on yet. But at least when he is laying down so he can escape the pain otherwise I don't know what I would do.

Edited by amn70
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I'm sorry-it does sound like your hound indeed has Osteo-damn Osteo. You need to get that leg radiographed again and it sounds like you need to tweak his medication protocol. You can't increase the rimadyl but you can tweak the dosage and frequency of the Tramadol and introduce gabapentin.

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Guest amn70

Your vet probably started him on a low dose of tramadol. You probably need to increase that as a start. Check in with your vet. He shouldn't need to see him at this point, but can add meds. You don't want your baby to be in pain. Good luck!

 

He is on 50mg of the tramadol twice a day so 100mg a day. I am going to call the vet tomorrow to confirm increasing the dosage.

 

Thanks

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Please also ask about getting gabapentin on board for the pain.

Introducing Tessie, PK's Cat Island 12/9/13
Jackson the Airedale 12/12/05
Forever missing Grace 2/18/03 - 1/19/13 (RT's Grace, 18156/23B) and Fenway 10/10/06 - 9/25/16 (not registered)

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I agree with the suggestions to add gabapentin. For a greyhound with significant pain, I usually start with 300 mg every 8-12 hours. It can make a big difference, and less chance of seeing the agitation that the higher doses of tramadol can sometimes cause.

Jennifer &

Willow (Wilma Waggle), Wiki (Wiki Hard Ten), Carter (Let's Get It On),

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Guest amn70

Just another update on Laddie's condition. I have doubled his dose of tramadol. It is now 200mg daily, 100 morning 100 evening. He is also now on gabapentin, 100 morning and 100 evening. I am seeing improvement. He is still limping but he is handling the stairs a lot better. He still appears painfree when he is laying down so its only when he's on his feet that he has to deal with it. Still have another week and half before we return for the followup xray. At that point we will know for sure of its cancer or not. Keeping my fingers crossed. The waiting is so stressfull.

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You can give those meds every 8 hours (3 times daily).. Technically they can even be given every 4 hours--giving the meds every 12 hours is allowing him more painful hours. You could very safely increase the gabapentin dose too. The best way to control pain is to stay ahead of it.

I hope the best for your Laddie.

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