Good evening everyone - thanks for the kind thoughts and words, much appreciated.
Well, it's $600+ later and I'm still not sure what the problem is. This morning he seemed a tiny bit better - he managed to get down the steps out back and did his morning business. I lifted him in/out of the car; he wasn't too pleased about that. At the vet's he was certainly scared, he was visibly shaking and he stuck to me like...well, like lab hair! ;D I hated to leave him there but had no other option. I contemplated taking a day of leave and staying there until they were done but in hindsight, glad I didn't. They had an emergency with another dog and it bumped back Cooper's appt until 1400 this aft. I went there at 1700 hrs and he was still groggy but I brought him home. He's crashed in his crate right now, giving the odd loud snort. He is definitely lights out for the night.
They did about 5 xrays and on the positive side, the vet said his hips are "excellent". I was happy to hear that and see it on the xray because my hubby is petrified that Cooper will get hip dysplasia (he owned a golden who had it). But the xrays didn't really prove a whole lot. The vets still are unsure if it's a problem with his spine or if it's muscular. They took some blood and have sent it off to the lab, the results will be made available tomorrow afternoon. What the vet told me is that if there is a high enzyme count in his blood sample (forget what type of enzyme, she had a name for it), that will be indicative of a muscular injury. My fingers are crossed that it's that and not a spinal injury. If it is the latter, there is an animal hospital here in Ottawa that does CT scans and the vet said that would certainly confirm the problem. (Of course, I am then thinking...."why didn't I just cut to the chase and go there for the scan, instead of xrays?!)
On the xray, the vet pointed out a mineral buildup/calcification/deposit at the base of his spine, where the tail is attached. She said that often, that particular area is problematic in smaller dogs and some larger breeds, such as the German shepherd. Again, is this the source of discomfort? We don't know.
So I wait until tomorrow and find out the course of action once they get the blood work. I have to say, despite Cooper being out of it from the sedation, he doesn't seem as hesitant to walk. In fact, he cruised down the back steps to the yard as soon as we got home and did his thing. He also gave a shake while at the vet's and to me, that was good sign that he felt a bit better.
Quite honestly, I don't really like this vet. It's a two vet clinic and we have seen them both. I prefer the other one, which is the one we saw last night. The one today is quite opinionated and it's hard to ask questions of her because she starts to answer before you're done! Also, I found this sort of funny: I mentioned that I give Cooper glucosamine and immediately she points out that there's no scientific proof that it is effective in dogs. After I left the clinic and am driving home thinking about her comment, I suddenly realize that their website has a huge article on glucosamine and its benefits!!! I'll be commenting on that during my next meeting with her.......
Just got back from the vet with Cooper. He hurt himself tonight, I am guessing it happened when we were having a round of Chuck It when I got home from work. He was very, very hesitant to come in the house, it was a struggle for him to step up & over the threshold into the house. I watched him walk and his gait seemed normal, he was just slow moving. He was pretty puffy so I sort of wrote it off to him being spent from the play session. I went out for about a 1/2 hr and when I returned, he was laying by the patio door. He often lays there so that wasn't unusual. I went to the basement to catch the early news and after about 15 minutes, I had heard enough and shut off the TV. It was then I realized that Cooper never did come down to lay by me. I went up and he was standing by the patio doors, facing away from the door. He looked really sheepish. I did a quick look around, thinking he had done something. Nothing was amiss. I then looked at him again and noticed he was sort of hunchbacked. I gently touched his hind legs and he flinched slightly, but he often flinches when you touch him near the rear quarters. He seemed to favour his right rear leg. I got him to walk a bit around the hallway and he was very slow but would put weight on all legs. He did seem to favour the rear a little bit. I called the vet and took him in right away. I was scared he would injure himself more so I lifted him in/out of the car. The vet isn't 100% certain if it's muscular or if he has injured a disc. She poked and prodded him quite a bit, had him walk around the clinic so she could see his gait, etc. He is so tense, she couldn't get a good read off of him. She is leaning toward muscular but I have to take him back in the a.m. for xrays. She thinks it's important to try to rule out a spinal problem. So here's his symptoms:
1) Hunched back, near the back 1/3 of his spine
2) Hesitant to step up or lie down - he'll either stand or gingerly sit down
3) Can't shake - I say "can't" but it's more like he won't. He wants to but will only shake his head a half turn then he stops immediately.
4) When he does lay down, it takes him much longer to do so, he appears to be unsure of how to lay without causing more aggravation.
He has not yelped in pain or anything but I noticed on the way home, I could hear him sort of quietly moan if the road surface was a bit bumpy.
The vet said that Labs are not a breed prone to back injuries - she sees it more in dachshunds and bassets. I think this is also why she is thinking it's a muscular problem.
If Cooper were my boy I'd give him one regular human aspirin before bedtime. If he's a bit stiff in the morning just use some gentle massage, a heating pad later if he's still uncomfortable. If that doesn't ease his discomfort, head to the vet.
Seamus and Flynn
Sending good thoughts for Cooper.
Oh no, poor Cooper... good thoughts incoming!!
Oh how scary for you and Cooper.
I'm sorry that I don't have advice ... but I am sending good thoughts and prayers that he will be feeling better soon.
Oh no, poor Cooper. When you said that he was stiff/sore in the hind end after chuck it I immediately thought cruciate, but with the hunched back thing I don't know...? Could he be compensating for the cruciate maybe..?? But I'm sure the vet would have felt it if he had done in the cruciate.... ah jeez I dont know. :-[
I hope the X-rays provide some answers for you. Good thoughts over here for Cooper, hope he's feeling better soon.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
Sorry, no help. But hoping that it's muscular, heals quickly, and doesn't cause any long-term problems. Sending good thoughts to you and Cooper from here, please update when you get the x-ray results.
Oh, and I also recommend an aspirin for some pain relief. Chamois will often run so hard she gets sore, and an occasional aspirin puts her right again very quickly.
Toby and Chamois say: GO STEELERS!
Prayers and well-wishes for Cooper, I hope it's nothing serious.
Sure sounds like a back problem to me. Labs can and do hurt their backs, especially dogs that are hard charging. I would take him to an orthopedic vet for a second opinion.
Sorry to hear Cooper's hurting. His symptoms with the hunched back and difficulty moving neck(shaking) and laying down sound like disc to me. My beagle and my last labby Huckle had herniated discs in their necks....they presented a similar way. My beagle was easy to diagnose but that darn Huckle....he had such a high pain tolerance he let them press and stretch everything without so much as a whimper. Finally diagnosed for sure with an MRI.