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Will an x-ray be any use?


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Charlie is 11 1/2 years old and over the last couple of years has had a recurring limp on his front leg which lasts a couple of weeks and then gets better. The vet suggested arthritis and we've treated as such with daily previcox. We've never x-rayed as it's always resolved. Over the past few days he's started limping again (I think it's his other leg now), worse when getting up, he's managed to walk as normal and it seems to ease a lot over the course of a 30 minute walk. He yelped when I stroked him at one point and that was his shoulder.

I booked him in for a x-ray on Friday (last one) then rethought and cancelled as I wanted to give him a bit longer to see if he recovered. I'm taking him to the vet on Monday morning where I suspect they'll suggest some stronger pain medication and see how that goes. 

My question is, if we can't control the pain is there any point in having an x-ray? He's slowed right down in the past 6 months and I don't think he could undergo any major surgery/ treatment at his age.

My fear is that we go for x-rays and it's bad news and in that situation I think it would be kinder not to wake him up and he'll have spent his last day somewhere unfamiliar and he's very nervous and shy. Would it be reasonable to say we try to treat as if it's an acute injury and if there's no improvement we say goodbye with me by his side (I don't even know how the procedure is working here now we're locked down again)? 

 

My heart is breaking and I want to give Charlie every chance to get better, but he's tired I don't want to put him through too much. At the moment he's reasonably comfortable, he's been out on a walk today and we're currently cuddled up in his bed.

 

Would really appreciate any thoughts.

 

 

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I'd do the x-rays, and try not to borrow trouble.

In the worst case scenario, they may tell you his leg's about to break from cancer, and you'd have to let him go. But would you rather know and be able to decide for the best? Or not know and be horribly surprised an hour or a day later--maybe when you and Charlie are on a walk and you have no way to get him home? (And I think the vet could let him wake up enough after x-rays to know you're there, and you could be with him the way you want to be.)

Or, better: It's an injury and meds will help enormously. Or they may tell you to restrict activity for a while.

But there is an advantage to having an x-ray--in knowing what you're dealing with. I don't think uncontrollable leg pain would come from much short of cancer.
 

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Limps are scary.  And yes it could be really bad news. If xrays do show cancer you know what you're dealing with.  You don't necessarily have to send him to the Bridge from the vets office.  There are some strong meds out there that can give him relief. Even if for a few days of being spoiled and to be able to go to the Bridge from home.

Also Dr. Couto said age is just a number.  After an extensive day at OSU, the vets there determined my 12 year old was healthy enough for amputation. Which we did. She lived a great 6 months longer only to have developed cancer in another leg.

So I think xrays can help determine course of action. 

Good luck.

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Thanks for your responses - it's definitely given me food for thought. The pandemic is making things difficult here (UK -currently on full lockdown) - we're not allowed in the surgery - the vet nurse comes to collect the dog and then the vet comes out after the examination to discuss. It's far from ideal and makes things more difficult. A relative had to have her dog put to sleep and she couldn't be there with her at the end which is heartbreaking. 

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3 hours ago, KF_in_Georgia said:

I'd do the x-rays, and try not to borrow trouble.

In the worst case scenario, they may tell you his leg's about to break from cancer, and you'd have to let him go. But would you rather know and be able to decide for the best? Or not know and be horribly surprised an hour or a day later--maybe when you and Charlie are on a walk and you have no way to get him home? (And I think the vet could let him wake up enough after x-rays to know you're there, and you could be with him the way you want to be.)

Or, better: It's an injury and meds will help enormously. Or they may tell you to restrict activity for a while.

But there is an advantage to having an x-ray--in knowing what you're dealing with. I don't think uncontrollable leg pain would come from much short of cancer.
 

This, 100%. 

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I think it is always better to know. Over here there are vets who specialize in in-home euthanasia, don’t know if they have those where you live, but if so it could be an option, should the news be bad. Even if you have to be in another room, at least he would be at home in familiar surroundings. 
Hopefully, the x-ray would just show something like arthritis and all this other would be unnecessary.

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if you do the x-rays make sure they are digital- the best imagery. i went thru x-rays with my 8 year old gh and asked the vet not to bring her out of anesthesia if it was osteo. it was not my usual vet, their machine was down and this person refused to euthanize on the spot. to this day i am angered at the refusal and there was no need for my sweet girl to suffer as she did. she only lasted 6 weeks post x-ray and DH just lost his job at the time and she sent us home with $400 worth of meds on top of the $$ fee for x-rays and anesthesia.  it was an awful situation.

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Thanks for your response. Charlie has gone downhill overnight and has started to drag his foot. Struggling to walk at all and I hate to say it but his eyes have changed. I'll see what the vet says but I think it might be nearly time.

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20 hours ago, Remolacha said:

I think it is always better to know. Over here there are vets who specialize in in-home euthanasia, don’t know if they have those where you live, but if so it could be an option, should the news be bad. Even if you have to be in another room, at least he would be at home in familiar surroundings. 
Hopefully, the x-ray would just show something like arthritis and all this other would be unnecessary.

Our last two greys the vet was convinced it was arthritis. Can arthritis pain creep up relatively quickly like this? Charlie dragged his foot slightly a few times today which made me wonder about a trapped nerve or something. Obviously this is just guessing and hoping.

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Arthritis usually comes on gradually, but a pinched nerve or some kind of soft tissue injury is always a possibility. I have arthritis in my shoulder and have had some related tendinitis that has come on fairly quickly, so it is always worth checking. :goodluck it is something manageable.

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What a difficult choice you have to make now. Dragging the foot could be due to a ligament problem or neurological/nerve damage in addition to whatever else is going on. I think I'd still want to try to find out what I was dealing with, and yes I'd ask that they not bring the dog out of anaesthesia if there was obvious bone cancer. Yes, it doesn't help that vets have taken an extreme reaction to lockdown and we cannot be with our pets in their office. At your dog's age there is no blame in considering euthanasia. nor in seeing an 'enough is enough' sign from a dog that you know and love so much.  :grouphug

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1 hour ago, JohnF said:

What a difficult choice you have to make now. Dragging the foot could be due to a ligament problem or neurological/nerve damage in addition to whatever else is going on. I think I'd still want to try to find out what I was dealing with, and yes I'd ask that they not bring the dog out of anaesthesia if there was obvious bone cancer. Yes, it doesn't help that vets have taken an extreme reaction to lockdown and we cannot be with our pets in their office. At your dog's age there is no blame in considering euthanasia. nor in seeing an 'enough is enough' sign from a dog that you know and love so much.  :grouphug

Thanks for your response. Can I ask a follow up question - would you wait before going for an x-ray? The reason I ask is that I've been looking at some old messages and Charlie has had a couple of incidents like this before - quite bad limping which goes on for two or three weeks - last time they definitely thought it was his shoulder as it is now (what is frustrating is I can't remember which shoulder) and we treated with painkillers and it got better but it did take time. I think it is maybe slightly worse now although he's a year older. I'm just wondering what is reasonable, whether we could give it a few more days with some stronger pain medication and see which way it goes before deciding to x-ray. 

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With covid you can  be waiting for an appointment.  Take that into consideration. It  be great to compare current images to old images. Also, you can just ask your vet if It's the same side and does he/She think this is necessary  or wait. 

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Thanks all. Charlie is booked in for an x-ray tomorrow. 

I don't know how to feel - I want to have some positivity but I'm just so sad. The vet said it could be osteo but it could also be other things which the x-ray would help with. I just don't know how to prepare for the possibility of good news vs him not waking up. I'm nearly 40 and I feel like I'm 10 years old wishing my mum and dad could help me with this. 

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On 2/13/2021 at 5:52 PM, KF_in_Georgia said:

I'd do the x-rays, and try not to borrow trouble.

In the worst case scenario, they may tell you his leg's about to break from cancer, and you'd have to let him go. But would you rather know and be able to decide for the best? Or not know and be horribly surprised an hour or a day later--maybe when you and Charlie are on a walk and you have no way to get him home? (And I think the vet could let him wake up enough after x-rays to know you're there, and you could be with him the way you want to be.)

Or, better: It's an injury and meds will help enormously. Or they may tell you to restrict activity for a while.

But there is an advantage to having an x-ray--in knowing what you're dealing with. I don't think uncontrollable leg pain would come from much short of cancer.
 

Do x-rays show soft tissue injuries too?

 

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I'm heartbroken to update this thread. Charlie has gone - he was so brave, he hadn't let us know the extent of how ill he was. He had a tumour in his leg and it had spread to his chest - I can't believe he went downhill so fast. The only thing we could do was say goodbye. Our hears are broken.

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I am so, so sorry. You did right by your boy. He knew how very much he was loved. You take care of yourselves, you're not alone. :grouphug

Godspeed Charlie.

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. Annie Oooh M. 

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, KLTO. Aiden.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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I am so very sorry you lost your Charlie.   I have lost two the same way and it truly stinks.  I wish you peace, knowing you "did good by him."   

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yup, they seem to take a piece of your heart, don't they? i'm sorry as to your loss- but do remember all the good, obnoxious, hysterical, silly, loving times and go celebrate and toast to a wonderful companion who was all heart!  :f_red

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I am so sorry for your loss.  I do hate cancer.  It is the thief who robs us, every day, of those we love.

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