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Another Elusive Limp!


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We're parents to our second GH. We lost our first boy at the age of nine to a sudden onset of hemangiosarcoma. It was a numbing one month roller coaster of one month from diagnosis to his passing. Luckily, there was very little discomfort and drama. We were graced with our second GH two years ago - a small, sweet, well-adjusted, confident girl. She arrived very ill - babesia, giardia and in the last year we've had to contend with SLO. We monitor her very carefully but she seems to be in remission. She's almost five years old and other than SLO is healthy, happy and content.

Now, about a month ago she developed a momentary front left limp only apparent after sedentary, non-activity. The strange thing is that the limp is apparent for a minute or so but after ambulation, the limp subsides and she seems to be fine. She's never been crazy active but is eager to walk, play and acts normally except momentary soreness when she arises from inactivity. She walks fine on asphalt, hard surfaces, etc.

When it appeared three weeks ago, we had an appt with her internist for her usual SLO check and she checked for corns and other issues and as the limp is not apparent when she's out and about, was unable to determine the problem and suggested early onset of arthritis or tissue/muscle trauma. A few days later and with the dreaded OS in the forefront, we had her affected leg and shoulder x-rayed by our local vet and the results were inconclusive. After another week, armed with the x-rays and a video of her limp, we consulted an osteopath and after palpating, poking and twisting, he couldn't see anything on the x-rays and was unable to provide a diagnosis.  He did mention that OS may not present itself in early stages but suggested arthritis or tissue/muscle damage and quiet rest, short walks and a revisit. He didn't recommend any pain/NSAIDs as the pain is episodic.

If it's tissue/muscle trauma, after three weeks, we would expect a change but the limp remains. She was retired three years ago at the age of two after exhibiting soreness but no exact description of where and how bad. And until now never saw any evidence of a limp/soreness. She did break two toes; one on the affected foot.

We've read most of the threads discussing unsolved limps but are we at a point where we should consider other diagnostics; additional x-rays, MRIs, etc? Hopefully this isn't a precursor of something more serious. TIA!

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There's a comment in this thread about a mystery limp. Do you see a "white crescent" in the soft tissue near the top of the humerus on your dog's xray?

My response seems to match that of Dr Couto regarding "the mineralization of the supraspinatus tendon (the little white crescent moon shape on the x-rays). He also thinks the oval shading in the x-rays could be a deltoid tuberosity (a normal anatomical landmark)".

Look at the first xray in that thread. You'll see the white crescent that is the "mineralization/calcification and believe his bicep tendon could be chronically inflamed."

This also happened to my girl. Eventually the limp lessened.

 

Charlie the iggy, Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz
Angels: Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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It's very difficult when you've had a dog with cancer, not to think/see cancer in every health issue, but sometimes a limp is only a limp - a soft tissue injury somehwere between her toes and her head, a corn, a calcified muscle as Ducky described above, some sort of muscle injury in her neck, arthritis. other aging issues.

Repeat her xrays in a few weeks, if you can.  If it *is* osteo in her shoulder or long bones it will have shown up by then.  

If there are no changes, I would think an nsaid would be appropriate for treating her on-and-off pain issues.  A Chondroitin/Glucosamine supplement, and/or adding in some Omega 3s through fish oil may also help her get around.

Good luck!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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  • 4 weeks later...

My apologies for the late reply/update. We had an appt with the osteo a few days ago so I decided to wait for any updates. It's been six weeks since Pandi's momentary lameness after inactivity, no better or worse. Our osteo conducted another physical exam pushing, pulling, poking and was unable to elicit any pain response. He ran another set of x-rays from her foot to her spine and no changes appeared from her initial baseline x-rays six weeks ago. To provide a more definitive look we decided on a CT scan ($1500!!) that included her head and spine. Again, nothing appeared, not even any signs of arthritis. He will forward the files to a radiologist for more in depth review and we'll receive the report in a few days. Although it seems that it's a foot related issue, he feels that it may be a leg or shoulder muscular or neurological  problem. He's seen a lot of cases of osteo-sarcoma so we're relieved that it's not cancer related. He recommended Metacam drops if needed for pain but other than momentary discomfort she's fine otherwise. Pandi was retired at 2 1/2 YO with track reports of pulling up lame on her last two races. And as she's probably taken a tumble or three, she's now five so her old sports injuries may have reappeared. Unless the radiologist reports something new this will be the last post (knock on wood!). Thanks, happy holidays to all, and love your pups as if there's no tomorrow!

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Just saw this, wondering if it could be nerve pain from the SLO.  My SLO hound would have pain even with no nail symptoms would lick leg and an occasional limp. She was on fish oil, niacin and an anti inflammatory when needed.  Usually at the first sign of licking her leg by the dew claw.

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Thanks for the suggestion but we initially considered an SLO related limp. But with her maintenance doses of Vitamin E, fish oil and a minimal dose of Atopica, luckily there have been no flare ups for six months. And our derm and osteo suggested that if it was SLO related that the limp would be ongoing and not the usual momentary episodes after periods of inactivity. She will literally limp for a minute or so and then seem fine. We watch her closely and once she gets going, we haven't noticed any limp , compensation or head bobbing. And long or short walks don't affect the severity of her initial limp. At any rate, anything and everything is fair game so SLO is surely on the radar.

As a side note: many wonder where/why we named her "Pandi". Interestingly, her entire litter mates had silly  "P" names; Prissy Girl, Pokemon, Precious Pride, Pacman, Peek-a-Boo and Pandi. "Pandi" seemed fine and to honor her sixty races and ten wins, we kept her track name. We're very blessed as she's an affectionate and petite girl, well adjusted, confident, fun, sociable and ignores other animals (deer, cats, squirrels, turkeys). Except for the aforementioned babesia and giardia and now SLO she arrived with perfect teeth and no battle scars. She quickly learned to climb stairs and even regrew her rump hair. We wanted to visit the Caliente track and thank her handlers but with the crackdown by immigration and now Covid that probably will never happen.

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Edited by ricm
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14 hours ago, ricm said:

Pandi was retired at 2 1/2 YO with track reports of pulling up lame on her last two races. And as she's probably taken a tumble or three, she's now five so her old sports injuries may have reappeared.

This is exactly what happened with Sweep. She ran at least 70 races and retired at 2.5. No signs of lameness until she was 5, exactly as you describe--primarily upon rising and then she'd "walk it off." I'd go into a full-on panic thinking it was osteo each time we went in for an x-ray. We spent a lot of money trying to figure it out: appointments with ortho specialists, treatments like Chinese herbs and acupuncture, and physical therapy. One of the specialists finally determined it was a weight-bearing toe on her front left foot; probably an old racing injury causing issues with age. We've managed it ever since with an NSAID as needed. Depending on the weather and her activity level, sometimes she needs it daily and sometimes not at all for weeks. She's 11 now and doing great! All blood work has remained normal despite the meds over many years. Best wishes to you and your girl!

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Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

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Wow! Thank you for the heads-up. In conducting my own poking and prodding, I think that there may be sensitivity with the joint of her outer toe up under where it meets the pad. She does recoil a bit but I thought it was a nerve or funny bone reaction. I'll relay this info to the osteo when we talk. It's strange that nothing significant appeared in the x-rays or CT. We thought of applying some topical treatment; CBD, epsom salt bath, etc. but it's futile not knowing where the paint center(s) are. We're reluctant to give her Metacam for only a two minute limp but perhaps it would help with the healing? But if it's a neurological issue then perhaps gabapentin would be better?

We're hoping that Pandi's limp doesn't progress. And hopefully it's not developing into an attention getting behavior where I immediately apply the paw rubs and "poor dog" routine. But what the hell!

Other than the momentary limp, Sweep is a gorgeous girl and it's great that she's doing fine and enjoying her "golden" years. 

Thanks again!

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57 minutes ago, ricm said:

Wow! Thank you for the heads-up. In conducting my own poking and prodding, I think that there may be sensitivity with the joint of her outer toe up under where it meets the pad. She does recoil a bit but I thought it was a nerve or funny bone reaction. I'll relay this info to the osteo when we talk. It's strange that nothing significant appeared in the x-rays or CT. We thought of applying some topical treatment; CBD, epsom salt bath, etc. but it's futile not knowing where the paint center(s) are. We're reluctant to give her Metacam for only a two minute limp but perhaps it would help with the healing? But if it's a neurological issue then perhaps gabapentin would be better?

Happy to help! I know how frustrating it is when you don't know exactly what you're dealing with. I will just add that nothing showed up on x-ray with Sweep back then either. It was a presumptive diagnosis for a long time, until we needed an x-ray for something else a few years later and, sure enough, they could finally see the calcification/arthritis in that toe. I guess in some cases the dogs can feel it a long time before we can see it. Not sure if that's what's going on with Pandi but an old injury is as good a guess as any, and greyhound toes are notoriously problematic. If the limp can be managed with a low dose of Metacam or another NSAID, it's worth trying (and, yes, Gabapentin would be appropriate if it's neurological). Sweep didn't do well with Meloxicam (the tablet form of Metacam), so we used Previcox for years and now we're using Galliprant since she's a senior and it's supposed to be easier on their kidneys/liver. You definitely have numerous options to try. Hope your lovely girl is feeling better soon. 

17369590311_3d5eeef92f.jpg

Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

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