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    froggy7's Avatar
    froggy7 Posts: 1,801, Reputation: 242
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    #1

    Jan 19, 2008, 03:20 PM
    Need support!
    Trink hasn't gotten better on the bedrest. It's currently stumping my vet(s) a bit... the problem is that she is intermittently favoring one back leg, which can occasionally just entirely give out from under her. But other times she is perfectly sound, and you wouldn't know that she has a problem. X-rays have ruled out any bone issues (they really do look very clean, with just a few changes that aren't out of the normal for a 7 year old ex-racing greyhound.) Which means looking harder at soft tissue issues, which would be the orthopedic specialist, or neuro, which means the neurologist. Since the leg isn't responding to the normal routine for soft tissue damage, we're arranging to see the neurologist. And, if I can read between the lines, the concern is that it could be the start of degenerative myelopathy. But I'm not going to borrow trouble yet!

    The big problem is that it is so intermittent. About the only consistent symptom is that she will "hop" the back leg down steps instead of trying to bear weight on it. So the potential problem is that the neuro guy looks at it and doesn't see anything and says it's an orthopedic problem, and vice versa. For some reason, I felt better thinking it was an orthopedic problem, rather than the spookiness of a neurological problem.

    And, of course, the neurologist is only in Austin on certain dates, so my vet needs to call him on Monday and see when he's going to be around, and depending on when that is, I may be looking at going out to Texas A&M and getting her checked out there. Which means a two-hour drive, with a dog that does fine on short trips, but I don't know what she's going to think of that.

    Oh... and when I say "intermittent"... here's the latest incident. Came home last night, and Trink stood up from where she was laying on one rug, and started to walk to the other rug (open floor plan, one is in front of the loveseat, and the other behind the loveseat in front of the patio door) which involved walking on the wood floor for the depth of the loveseat. And the minute her back foot stepped off the rug, it just started collapsing under her, which sent her in a mad scramble to the other rug. But after I stood there petting her for a few minutes (if that long), she really needed to go out to go potty. (I'd gotten home probably two hours late, so she was pretty desperate.) I let her out in the backyard off leash since it was cold, dark, and rainy and she generally will just go out and do her business and come back in on those days, plus I figured the leg was bothering her because of the fall. But no... she gets out there, goes potty, and then spent a good seven minutes racing back and forth, full speed, cutting corners, etc. Picture those scenes of young horses racing around and kicking up their heels, and you get a good idea of how she acts when she runs. I would have stopped it if I could, but she doesn't come when she's running, and there's no real way of catching her. And after all that... she comes to the back door, and scrapes her back foot when she is coming in.

    Which is being one of the difficulties with this case... get her on steps, and it shows up to some extent. Get her on grass, and 99.9% of the time, she's fine. On concrete, it shows up after a long walk, but not after a short one. I am going to try and jot down notes about when I see her favoring the leg, to see if that helps with the diagnosis.

    Anyway... words of comfort, support, advice are appreciated until such a time as I can get in with the specialists.
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #2

    Jan 20, 2008, 06:44 AM
    Froggy, I think jotting down notes and keeping track of when this issue occurs and when it doesn't is a very good idea.

    Have you spoken with anyone at the greyhound rescue about what is occurring? Do they have a recommendation for a vet that deals with a lot of rescued greyhound issues? Does your own vet have a lot of experience with orthopedic issues? I am more inclined to think that she either really tore up the ligaments, on that one leg or there may be some cartilage damage or deterioration. If it is a ligament issue, it may be that either due to her age it isn't healing as fast as it should, she keeps reinjuring it in some way when she is walking, or if it is a cartilage issue it is causing her pain only when she steps a certain way. Years ago, I tore up all the ligaments in my ankle and foot. It didn't heal as quickly as the doctor thought it would. I had to go for therapy. I can honestly tell you, it took a good two to three years before I had complete mobility of it again without any pain or stiffness. So, please don't panic. She may just be favoring the leg and has some residual stiffness or pain, or she keeps retearing the same ligament. Start talking to other greyhound owners and, if the neurologist is so far away, you might want to consider going to the orthopedist first. I would imagine he deals with greyhounds often. If I were in your shoes, I would rather have his input first, to completely rule out a physical issue before looking for a neurological one.
    froggy7's Avatar
    froggy7 Posts: 1,801, Reputation: 242
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    #3

    Jan 20, 2008, 10:29 AM
    Ruby,

    Thanks for the comments. Unfortunately, the recommendation to see the neurologist is coming from the "greyhound vet" in the area. She's highly recommended by my rescue group. Whether I go to the orthopedist or the neurologist, it's going to involve waiting for them to come to the area or going out to A&M. So it's just a question of the timing... if they are in the area in the near future I can see them out here, but if it's going to be weeks, then I'll probably take her to them.

    Apparently the reason the vet is leaning away from the orthopedist is because of the intermittent nature of problem. She'll go from having the leg totally collapse under her to perfectly fine with no sign of a limp. If it was a ligament, I'd expect her to be favoring the leg to some extent at all times.

    Of course, the complications are that she is a little tender in one area of the thigh, which might point to a soft tissue problem, or might be the result of the falling. And she's not showing signs of a neurological deficit, which might indicate that it's soft tissue, or might just mean it's a neurological problem that doesn't have an accompanying deficit.

    And, of course, the other complication is that she doesn't talk, so I can't ask her whether she is refusing the step because it hurts, or just because she wants to stay out longer!
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #4

    Jan 20, 2008, 02:44 PM
    Well, it sounds as if your vet has done everything she can do. I hope that one of the specialists finds something that is easily correctable. You have been doing such a terrific job with Trink so far and I know that you will continue to do your best by her. I don't know what else to say to you except to hang in there and please don't panic. :)
    froggy7's Avatar
    froggy7 Posts: 1,801, Reputation: 242
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    #5

    Jan 20, 2008, 04:24 PM
    One bright spot... since the bedrest doesn't seem to have changed things, I have been given permission for short walks. Still no running, etc. But she seems perkier since we went out this morning (for a whopping 1000 feet!) So that makes me feel better, and hopefully will help her as well. Unfortunately, it also gave me things to log. But.. we will see what happens.

    Updates as events warrant.
    carolbcac's Avatar
    carolbcac Posts: 342, Reputation: 72
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    #6

    Jan 22, 2008, 08:53 PM
    You've probably already gone over this with your vet but just in case... it sort of sounds like her kneecap could be slipping in and out of place. When it is "in" the leg is fine, but when it pops out the dog doesn't bear weight on the leg. I don't know how common it is in Greyhounds. Giving you another straw to grasp at, I guess, but this is often correctable with surgery.
    froggy7's Avatar
    froggy7 Posts: 1,801, Reputation: 242
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    #7

    Jan 22, 2008, 09:53 PM
    Well, now that I am logging things, I have noticed that she does something I call "ice walking", where she will slowly and cautiously walk across the wood floor, head down, carefully placing each foot, exactly like a dog on an icy patch. And when she does that, her front foot scrapes and knuckles under a little. Instead of picking up the foot, she sort of slides it forward so that the nails turn under and then rolls the foot back. Which may be a result of not wanting to lose contact with the ground if her balance is off, or could be because she can't control the foot better. But it is beginning to look more and more like a neuro problem to me.

    And tomorrow I get to talk to Texas A&M's vet school and see about scheduling an appointment. The neurologist isn't going to be in the area until February, which is just too long for me to wait!
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,910, Reputation: 5430
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    #8

    Jan 22, 2008, 10:05 PM
    Does the surface she walks on make any difference? Seems like she had no problem on grass or rug, but does have trouble on hard surfaces.
    jpmadison's Avatar
    jpmadison Posts: 5, Reputation: 2
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    #9

    Jan 22, 2008, 10:18 PM
    We had similar problems that you are describing - nothing showed up with any of the Dr. visits. A friend suggested taking her to a Chiropractor. At this point we were ready to try anything so we went to the person that they recommended. AMAZING! Our little girl had a pinched nerve and after a few adjustments - she was like new. When the problem came up again - we took her back and same wonderful results. We moved to a new area and had problems with our new male and we were able to find a local chiropractor that worked with animals. It worked for us and may be something you might want to investigate. Jotting down your notes on the problems, episodes and what happens will absolutely help in figuring this out - stay in communication with your Vet - but in many of these unexplained issues just need a lot of investigating and "thinking out of the box". I hope you find your answers...
    froggy7's Avatar
    froggy7 Posts: 1,801, Reputation: 242
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    #10

    Jan 23, 2008, 08:18 PM
    Wondergirl - I'm not sure if she has more problems on the hardwood, or if it's just more obvious on it. You can hear the scraping on wood, and it's easier to see the distance between her foot and the floor than it is in the grass. On the other hand, if it is DM, the problem is partly a loss of proprioception (the nerve signals that tell you where your body is), so being in grass/carpet might be stimulating nerves further up the foot.

    And the appointment is set for Tuesday, so I'll hopefully find out something then. It occurs to me that I should have gotten some idea of how much this is going to cost me... I was told to see the neuro guy when he is out here is $120 to walk in the door, with diagnostics potentially adding on to that. I'm assuming the base cost is the same if I go out to A&M, where he's based at. And, of course, the fun of going to a teaching hospital... they say that I should expect to be there all day.
    carolbcac's Avatar
    carolbcac Posts: 342, Reputation: 72
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    #11

    Jan 23, 2008, 08:36 PM
    This IS sounding neurological. As a side note, I've also had good results with chiropractic (my Doberman had occasional problems with a vertebra in his neck). Of course check everything out with the specialist, and let us know what they say.

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