Sorry if this is long winded but I'm beside myself with what to do about 3 yr old yellow lab Daly.
Daly started limping slightly about a year ago. At first we weren't even sure he was limping, and it wasn't just a funny walk, but we started noticing that it would get worse after heavy activity. We took him in to my regular vet, had xrays done, and they found nothing. They warned us that shoulder injuries (which they suspected it was) are notoriously hard to diagnose and treat. Boy were they right. They recommended going to the University of Minnesota vet hospital to have him checked out. We did, we went over our options, but at the time he really wasn't limping that bad and we thought the less is more approach might be better if it was going to be a lot of poking and prodding on him that came to nothing. Sometimes he wasn't even limping. We did 6 weeks of Rimadyl and lower activity, and he was fairly limp free for the next 7 months while we slowly ramped up activity.
Around 3-4 months ago Daly's limp started getting MUCH worse. To the point that he would slow down when walking. This is not a lab to slow down for anything either. We took him back in to the U of M hospital, they attempted to get a pain reaction out of him when examining his shoulder but my Daly is very stoic and wouldn't say boo. They finally had to have me leave the room and then he apparently gave a pain reaction. Poor dude was being brave for me. Had an ultrasound done and decided to try arthroscopy because they suspected it could be the biceps tendon (we were really, really hoping it was the biceps tendon, apparently great success rate with fixing the biceps tendon injuries). It was NOT the biceps tendon, but they did find blood in his shoulder joint (supposedly incredibly painful) and a torn joint capsule (not sure if I'm saying this right, the dr's notes aren't in front of me). That was 4 weeks ago tuesday that the surgery was done. He was on 2 weeks of complete rest and now 6 weeks of two 5-10 minute walks a day (it's a lab people, feel for me here, he's miserable at this level of activity). He's not really better. The worst part is that none of the surgeons have seen anything like Daly's presentation of symptoms before and all think it's really odd. They don't know if he'll get better, and they don't think the torn joint is the main problem, but they're not sure what it is. They have even thrown out the possibility of a nerve tumor causing this.
We are so sad, he's bored and miserable. My heart is just aching for him, and it's spring. Even a walk around the block is painful for him though. I know he's still on the mend but the vet has made me feel like he may not get much better.
Oh the expenses that are piling up on us! We are basically not able to afford anything else after this last surgery and all the associated bills.
They want to do an MRI, and that could lead to a surgery (read $$$$). My questions:
Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this? What did you do?
Is there anyone here who was able to find a cheaper MRI? Where? How?
I would really appreciate any advice or other stories like ours. Thanks so much.
(I used to come on here when Daly was a pup, but lost my other login - so hi to everyone again!)
I am so sorry about Daly. I have no experience with this sort of thing, so nothing to offer there.
What I can suggest is doing some 'mind' exercises in the house to help relieve his boredom. Some obedience training; heel, walk, sit, down, stay, long stay, etc. Try hiding treats and letting him find them. Get a couple of interactive toys that make him work to get a treat. Working his mind can tire him out almost as much as working his body.
Jackie, Champ, and Buddy
Thanks amazon, good idea with the obedience training. I havent tried much of that yet.
We have been doing some of that. We got him a toy to put his food in and he has to "work" to get it out of there - we have been doing that for breakfast and dinner. And we've been using kongs for healthy treats too. And lots of car rides, he at least gets to see outside!!