I received a PM from an member asking about my Buddy's elbow dysplasia problems and how I dealt with them. After his surgery was over, I was asked to write an article on my experience or the Coastal South Carolina Labrador Retriever Club. I told Hannah I would post the article here because there may be new members since this was last posted that are dealing with some of the same problems and questions. Feel free to ask me any questions that this article doesn't address. Hannah, I hope this is helpful in diagnosising Hobart.
My Experiences with Elbow Dysplasia
By: Monnie Fishel
I first noticed Buddy limping after he was dropped by my daughter’s boyfriend when he was 4 months old. He limped for a week or so and quit. When he was five months old he began to limp again. This time I took him to my vet. She x-rayed him and gave a preliminary diagnosis of panosteoitis. She prescribed Etogesic and said she wanted to x-ray him again in four to six weeks.
Over the next six weeks, Buddy limped off and on. This is very typical of pano. He was x-rayed again at almost seven months. My vet reaffirmed her preliminary diagnosis of panosteoitis. She said he would probably limp off and on until he was about eighteen months old. She said when he was having a bad bout with the limping that I should give him the Etogesic for pain.
Buddy did indeed limp almost continually until he was twenty months old. I was now convinced that he did not have pano. I felt that the limping would have stopped by now if it were pano. I returned to my vet and asked her to check him for elbow dysplasia. She manipulated his elbows and shoulders. She then said she wanted me to take him to Dr. Paul Shealy for evaluation. At this time, I decided to start Buddy on glucosamine chondroitin. About a month later, I started him on Glycoflex, also. Glycoflex is made from New Zealand green-lipped mussels. It is used in animals with hip and elbow dysplasia.
Dr. Shealy evaluated Buddy. He did numerous x-rays of the shoulders and elbows. He wanted to do a CAT scan, but due to the cost I was unable to continue with the diagnosis.
I asked my vet to refer Buddy to the North Carolina State Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Raleigh, NC. We were seen there on Monday, November 11, 2002. A beginning medical student first saw Buddy. She took a complete medical history and did an initial examination. A fourth year medical student saw Buddy next. He, also, did a complete examination of Buddy’s elbows and shoulders. We even took him outside so that they could see him move. Finally, an orthopedic surgeon saw Buddy. He, too, did a complete examination. Poor Buddy. He had to endure all the poking and pulling on his elbows and shoulders three different times. He was such a trooper. Dr. Denis Marcellin, the orthopedic surgeon, wanted to keep Buddy and do a CAT scan and more in depth manipulations of his elbows and shoulders. He said to do this he would have to sedate Buddy.
I left him with Dr. Marcellin. And like any good card carrying member of the female species, I went shopping.
When I returned later that afternoon, Dr. Marcellin told me that Buddy had osteochondroitin dessicans (OCD). He had found a cartilage flap limiting the movement of Buddy’s left elbow joint. Although Buddy’s left elbow was the worst, Dr. Marcellin told me that Buddy had elbow dysplasia in both elbows. He felt that there was nothing he could do to improve the right elbow, but he wanted to go in and remove the flap of cartilage and scrape the OCD lesion in the left. He said this would improve Buddy’s ability to move the left elbow joint and alleviate the pain. He was hopeful that it would also stop the limping. I agreed to the surgery, and Buddy was scheduled for the next day. Leaving Buddy was the hardest thing I have ever done, but Ms. Wilde, the beginning medical student, promised to call me as soon as the surgery was over.
On Tuesday afternoon, she called and let me know that the surgery was successful. She said Buddy was awake and on his feet drinking water. She said he was a very good patient.
I returned on Wednesday, November 13 to pick Buddy up. Dr. Marcellin said that they had not found a bone fragment in the joint. This was a good thing. He had scraped the OCD lesion and cleaned out the elbow joint. He felt Buddy would make a complete recovery. He did impress on me that Buddy still had elbow dysplasia and that in time he would more than likely develop arthritis in his elbows.
Buddy was confined to his crate for two weeks. He could only be walked on a two-foot lead to go potty. After two weeks, I had to start taking him for two 15-minute walks a day. Eventually, Dr. Marcellin wanted me to have him walking half the time and jogging the rest of the time. He didn’t have to be crated the whole time in the house, but he had to be quiet. After these four weeks, Buddy could return to normal activity. He will not be able to chase a ball or do any hard running for another month.
The four weeks is up today. I turned him loose this morning on our morning run. He was so glad to be free. On a happy note: Buddy is not limping anymore. His movement is free and unhindered. I hope this will be the way he moves for a very long time. We will take it easy. It is so good to see him moving without pain.
For those of you interested, the initial visit and x-rays with Dr. Shealy cost $356.00. The exam, CAT scan, surgery, anesthesia, and medicines at NCSVTH came to $990.75. Yes, it’s a lot of money, but I feel that it was worth it to see Buddy moving without pain. I highly recommend being referred to a Veterinary Teaching Hospital if your animal needs this kind of care.
Update: October 3, 2006 - Buddy is still doing well on his elbow. It has not hindered him at all in the last 4 years. He competes in AKC obedience, but I decided that Agility would be too much for the elbow. Now that he is getting older, I do notice that after strenuous running that he tends to limp for very short periods of time. I figure this will get worse as he ages. It is to be expected of a dog with ED.
Eiderdowns That's My Buddy
CDX, RE, WC, CGC, TDInc.
Thanks for sharing.* It was a great write-up~!
We went through ED with Maddy, but her version was FCP....fractured coronoid process...which is when the tiny bone in the elbow joint, called the coronoid breaks off and floats in the joint.* My vet knows large breeds and I also immediately asked for xrays to rule out ED.* They found the bone chips (in both elbows) immediately and within a week, she was operated on.* We only lost 1% cartliage in one elbow and 3% in the other.* She was diagnosed and operated on at 14 months, and this week she'll be 4.* She gets stiff and gimps a bit after hard exercise, but she is a hard player (ball-obsessed retriever) and we don't know if it's the elbows or the chronic stress injury in her right wrist.* She gets Metacam on the tougher days.*
While ED is supposed to be hereditary, hence why they OFA elbows, FCP is very influenced by environment.* Maddy, being the super freak that she is, was jumping and catching frisbees at 4 months of age.* We KNEW better, but it was so darn cute how talented and coordinated she was.* We allowed her to be very active.* If she had been a slug of a dog (not from high drive field lines) perhaps the bone would never have fractured off.*
1) don't over exercise puppies no matter how cute
2) if the dog limps, go to the vet, ask for xrays, and ask to rule out ED right away
3) if your vet doesn't have much experience with LB dogs, seek out an ortho vet first.* They do not cost more, but are specialized.
Thanks for taking the time to write about your experience with surgery. We have a 7 month old chocolate lab who had surgery on both hocks for OCD. Our ortho vet removed very large flaps from both sides. Our puppy is doing well now, he has only been home for 24 hours and we are worried about the days to come because he is already so wild!! He wants to run and jump and climb on the couch and go up and down the stairs and romp with his big sister. We are not allowing any of this of course but my goodness, he is wearing me out. How on earth did you keep Buddy under control for the recommended time? We keep him in the crate most of the time but he does not like it AT ALL :P. Any suggestions would certainly be appreciated!
Buddy is and has always been a rather calm Lab. He was fine with being in the crate as long as I was in the room. My vet said that if he would just lie down that he didn't have to be in the crate all the time. The first week/10 days he was out about half the time. Then the grandkids and their parents came for Christmas. Buddy had to be crated to keep them away from him.
Eiderdowns That's My Buddy
CDX, RE, WC, CGC, TDInc.
Here is a link that offers distractions for dogs that have received TLPO http://www.lauriebryce.com/tplo/distractions.htmlOriginally Posted by ericpullen
And on the page after are games that you can play while your dog recovers, kids can even do these with the dogs.
Added the section on confinement as well http://www.lauriebryce.com/tplo/recovery.html