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

114 viewsArthritis

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!

Answered question

Thanks Hannah!
Good thought about the Gabapentin wobbles – we’ll keep an eye on that!
There is a local(ish) massage therapist, Ren, who I’ve been in touch with. She does quite a lot with the local Forever Hounds Trust kennels dogs so knows her sighthounds, which given their peculiarities is probably no bad thing 😉 She can see him in a couple of weeks, which will be after the orthopedic appointment so I’m going to get him booked in.
I kept an eye on him via camera while at the office this morning and he started bodging after 2 hours snoozing, whereas yesterday he slept straight through for 3 hours so hopefully he’s not quite as sore today.
Thanks again x

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Hey well done Lisa what a devoted owner.
Have we got to the bottom of the shoulder swelling?
Also just check gabalentinnusnt making him more wobbly as this is quite common
Massage can still be very beneficial in compensatory areas and to maintain joint mobility in the less severely affected .. generally a therapist will maximise their time on these secondary areas to hopefully reduce overall pain state XX

Please let us know how you get on x

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Sorry about the ‘action’ shot (and dead hebe – blame Arthur), but this is where we’ve got to with the harness…
I think the chest plate should possibly be a touch further back, but it was sliding forward if I did that. I’ll try moving it back again and shorten the strap that joins to the hip lift tomorrow and see if that helps.
I don’t think he could do masses of walking in it as the hip lift is in contact with the leg/groin skin flaps. We’ll see how we go. The key thing is helping him stand while eating, dealing with steps and going in the car for now.
He was a bit uncertain, but he did let me take most of his weight so he could come upstairs to bed. I would have slept downstairs with him if not, but he seems happy to be up here having avoided being carried (which hurts as well). He’s very much a boy of routine and has resisted sleeping downstairs, with company, before. I think we’re going to have to get him used to it in the long term though. Maybe we’ll start with the odd night in the next week or so when he’s hopefully feeling a bit better.

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I emailed the vet this morning and she has already replied – really can’t fault the responsiveness of our vets. They have always been great and I feel bad for pestering and being a flappy owner, but CAM has given me hope that we can keep trying to push back against this horrible disease.
She’s said he can do short lead walks on soft ground, which is great. We’ll need to be careful as he’s really not very steady, but we live right next to the park so worst case scenario one of us can dash back for the buggy or car (I might take the buggy with us).
She agreed about getting an appointment with the orthopedic vet we were referred to last time as well so hopefully we can stabilise his wrist a bit. Fingers crossed.
The Help ‘Em Up has arrived, but I’ve not had much luck with fitting the hip lift. I called Orthopets and Alison was great. There’s a chance his delicate greyhound groin/leg skin flaps combined with him having a rather narrow undercarriage may mean it wont work. She suggested the GingerLead sling combined with the front of the Help ‘Em up may be an option. I’ll try again when Jon is home though and see if we can get it to fit.

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The vet has said we can give him more Gabapentin (the max does for his weight is 1380 and he is on 600 per day), but that and rest were her only suggestions. She is fairly sure it’s his back due to the knuckling and when he yelped during examination.
We mentioned massage, but she felt that the possible neurological element could make that risky. Does anyone have any thoughts on that?
I’ll admit to feeling like he’s being written off a bit. She was lovely, but it felt like the situation was fete accompli. We are back in for vaccines on 22nd and I think I will ask if we can be re-referred back to the hospital. I do wonder if the changes in how he’s using his front left leg are part of what is putting extra pressure on his back. If that was the case and could be managed with a carpus support it feels worth trying. Because both his wrists are dodgy (and he’s a fairly doddery 11) joint fusing doesn’t feel like it would necessarily be ideal, but I think at least talking to the orthopedic specialist would be good.
The Help ‘Em Up harness has been dispatched so fingers crossed it will arrive tomorrow.

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