I've been away for a while as had a busy time the last few months with work problems and starting a new job. I wish I was able to slot back in gently but unfortunately I find myself here needing some advice from you lovely knowledgable people.
My baby is now 11 months old and doing really well. After several months of researching, delving though old topics here, 3 urine infections and 2 different vet clinics we discovered Penny had an inverted vulva. Through my research and eventual discovery of a knowledgeable vet we agreed to let her have a season before speying to let the issue resolve itself. It also answered the debate in my head about what age to have her neutered - the earliest she can now be done is 14 months old if I wait the full 3 months after her season finished. My question on this issue is: does an inverted vulva correct itself 100% of the time through letting the bitch have a season? Or has anyone had experience of this not being the case, if so, what did you do?
My second and more pressing enquiry is regarding hind limb stiffness/lameness.
Over the last month I have begun to notice that Penny appeared a little stiff on her left hind leg after exercise. Once home and rested it was barely noticeable. There was no worsening of this over the last four weeks so I decided to monitor the condition for now. Tonight after her evening walk I noticed that ,walking home from the park, she was much more stiff (to the extent I would describe her as mildly lame) than ever before, and this did not go away after rest.
It has only ever occurred on her left hind and has never appeared worse until today (in fact I didn't even notice it on her morning walk, so it's just happened tonight). I have two trains of thought on what this might be - 1. Hip dysplasia. Her parents hip scores were average for the breed so I'm sure she may have it to some degree and that this could be the onset of symptoms. 2. Cruciate damage. Not a complete rupture as she would be completely lame, but perhaps a partial tear worsening over time. She certainly does the sort of exercise that could lead to cruciate damage and I know that symptoms of a partial tear can be stiffness or mild lameness over a period of time, rather than with a full rupture where it can be a sudden onset of symptoms.
I intend to take her to the vet as soon as possible, however it may be difficult due to it being Christmas. In the meantime I will be keeping her on restricted exercise and monitoring her condition. I will get her to the vet sooner if I think she is worsening or in pain. (I do have a bottle of metacam lying around from an episode of 'cold water tail' last month if needed)
I would like to know peoples opinions and experience on this and look forward to some responses.
I have a vet appointment tomorrow morning for Penny as this afternoon when on our way back from the park she held one of her back legs up and hopped a few steps before putting it back down.
I could really use some advice or at least de encouragement or moral support. I'm really worrying about this
An inverted vulva often corrects itself, or at least enough so that developing a uti isn't as much of an issue. You can have her examined again after her heat.
The lameness could be a few things. My first thought when I read this was her patella. Patella luxation is coming up a lot in labs. I think you're doing the right thing by restricting her exercise while waiting to see the vet.
We have just returned from our vet visit.
The vet did a thorough examination of Penny's front legs, shoulders and elbows, her spine, hips, stifles and feet/toes. She said there was nothing obvious from the examination, no areas of inflammation, knee caps were stable and hips had full range of motion with nothing suspicious. Outcome: a week of house arrest and painkillers to rule out a soft tissue injury that may heal on its own, and a check up in a week. If no improvement (as vet suspects will be likely due to length of time this has been going on) then it's off to see the orthopaedic vet for another examination and X-rays.
Whilst unable to sleep last night due to worrying about today's appointment I did some researching of Penny's parents - I already knew their hip scores and, from previous research, thought that they were roughly average for the breed. More detailed research research last night, however, led me to discover how the hip scoring system is broken down into sections and what the breed average score is -15. Penny's parents were 4/4 and 4/5 (I always forget who had which one) giving them totals of 8 and 9 which is way below the average score and on the BVA scoring system gives them ratings of good-excellent. Much better than I had initially thought!
On a side note when I weighed Penny today I was shocked to discover she weighs a tiny 18.8kg!
Any tips for keeping an 11 month old lab who's not allowed any exercise occupied? Think well all have cabin fever by the end of the week!
Most RVs will correct on first heat. You need to wait for all heat swelling of the vulva to go down to see if the RV corrected. Some will take 2 heat cycles. Since she is having UTIs I would get her on crancaps to help prevent further infections.
More info here on urine PH testing at home, etc.
Recessed/Inverted/Hooded Vulvas and Chronic Infections | Hearty Pet Talkin' Tails Blog
No idea on her limping/stiffness but hoping the rest will give you the answer and it is not serious.
When looking at pedigrees for hips, etc. it is wise to go back as many generations as you can.
She does sound tiny for an 11 month old. Is she English bred?