Deterioration in mobility over a couple of days plus swollen muscles between shoulder blades

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Morning all,
I’ll preface this by saying I will be calling the vets to try and get in today, but thought I would see if anyone has had a similar experience.
Some history:
Arthur is a rescue greyhound, but wasnt a racer so we don’t know his D.O.B. Our best guess is that he is about 11 and he’s been with us for about 2.5 years.
He had a back x-ray 2 years ago, which showed possible beginnings of lumbrosacral disease, but the orthopaedic vet didn’t think it was significant. In June last year he had CT scans on his wrists. His left wrist is a funny shape and was getting bigger and the GP vet wanted to rule out OS so we were referred. The referral vet thought OA and the CT scans confirmed this with a clear historic fracture and evidence of bone having been pulled from the joint by a ligament in his left wrist. There were also signs of OA in the right wrist. He suggested keeping on with pain relief and looking at hydrotherapy.
We went to the physio/hydrotherapist and althoigh he was very good he really didn’t like the treadmill (he walks around puddles 😉 ). She wasn’t that encouraging about doing more of that, but gave us some exercise suggestions. We have bars and cones for him to step over that we had out most of the time (although I will admit that we haven’t had them down for a month or so…). She suggested getting him to stand with front legs on a step for a minute at a time to have treats to build up his back legs. We haven’t done this consistently enough, but he also seems to still manage to hold.moat of his weight atvthe front when doing this one.
He wasnt great in Sept (I think) and was swapped from Metacam to Onsior, which seemed to improve things. He is now taking 40mg Onsior, 300mg Gabapentin twice a day and 50mg Tralieve twice a day (swapped from 3 x 50mg human Tramadol due to change of supplier at vet in late Nov).
Sorry that bit was so long…! Onto the current situation:
We’ve been thinking for the last two weeks that we would like to go back to the referral vet as Arthur seems to be rolling out in his left paw and scraping nails on his back right foot. I filmed him walking on Friday in preparation for this.
He was unusually bouncy on Saturday and tried to do an “excited about going for a walk” dance like he used to at one point. Then, on Sunday he struggled on his first walk and was also scraping nails on his front left foot. Early evening he tried scraping his bed and lost control of his back end and fell. Jon got him settled on his bed and he crashed out for a bit.
He (and his bed) came into the living room while we had dinner and he really struggled to get comfortable and even get on/off his bed. When helping him we realised that his back, in the shoulder blade area, was raised and solid so we wonder whether he has twisted/hurt something that has caused the muscles to spasm/swell. Maybe that is making his back end control worse?
We didn’t take him for a second walk and I helped support him while he pooed.
He seems worse on his front left and back right, but is generally struggling. We carried him upstairs for bed and back down this morning. He only woke me once ‘adjusting’ his bed in the night, which is less than it has been lately (he wears a jumper and we try and block drafts etc).
I’m a bit worried about leaving him for work this morning, but I will come home asap (max 3 hours) and we will hopefully get into the vet later today.
If anyone has any suggestions of anything I can do to help him until then, or suggestions of things to ask the vet that would be great.
Thank you!
Lisa

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So sorry to hear your news Lisa. Thinking of you.
Take good care.
Shona xx

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so sorry to hear your news Lisa… my heart goes out to you.

xxx

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Hi Kathryn,
I’m afraid the news is not good. Arthur collapsed late on Sunday night (vomited, was unresponsive and seemed to have no sensation in his limbs) and we rushed him to hospital. He was alert by the time we got there, but no feeling in back feet, low temp and, we found out the next day, had pale gums and poor heart rate.
He had ultrasound scans, which showed fluid in his abdomen and his spleen and liver looked ‘off’. The day vets then ran CT scans of abdomen, chest and spine and had planned to do a liver biopsy, but found the fluid was actually blood. The most likely thing seemed to be Haemangiosarcoma.
They could have woken him and waited for the imaging results the next morning and then made a decision on whether to attempt a liver resection, but given his existing conditions and the likelihood of it being the highly aggressive Haemangiosarcoma (which may also have been what caused the upper spine issue) we made the incredibly hard decision to let him go under anaesthetic.
We are broken and while we do feel we made the right choice are still struggling with it.
We will still hear back about the CT scans and that may tell us whether there was also disc degeneration, or if it was all the cancer. The ortho vet did say at the time that the differential diagnosis had to consider tumours, but that the disc was most likely and that seeing if it healed with rest would be a good indicator. We could have had CT scans then, but the vet felt that the risk of anaesthetic at that stage (partly in terms of worsening a disc problem) outweighed the benefit. I think that was fair advice and realistically wouldn’t have changed a lot. He continued to get lots of love for that last week and we were doing our best to keep him comfortable. I held him all the way to the hospital and he seemed to get comfort from knowing I was with him.
Sorry to splurge. It’s still all very raw.
I think because we were so focused on arthritis-related issues we’ve been a bit blind-sided by cancer.
Thank you for all your support. Having access to CAM definitely helped us ensure his last 6 months were the best they could be.
Lisa x

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Good to hear you’re getting some answers. How goes week one of crate resting?

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Hello,
I thought I would pop back with an update.
We saw the referral vet this morning and he gave Arthur a thorough (painful) examination – not fun for anyone, but necessary!
He thinks that Arthur may have a disc problem in his neck, but as he has already shown improvement with partial rest he thought it was probably better to monitor and put him on crate rest for the next 4 weeks to see if it will heal itself. He did give us the option of an MRI, but gave us all the pros/cons and he seemed to feel waiting was the least risky option for now. He also agreed that there is probably lumbosacral stenosis and worsening arthritis symptoms in his wrists. The hope is that in 4 weeks the disc will be OK and we can then look at his lower back for proper diagnosis/management options and get him fitted for carpal supports, which should help as the fusing surgery is probably a bit much for him at this stage.
While this morning wasn’t fun and Arthur isn’t very happy about being in the crate (he’s being pretty good to be fair, but he’s not thrilled!), but I think we feel a bit better for knowing what’s going on and also that we were right to ask for further investigation.
I may be less happy after a couple of weeks of sleeping on the sofa and trying to keep a crated boy happy, but if he heals it will be well worth it!
Lisa

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