I'm new here. I have a 6 year old black lab named Neiko. He was recently diagnosed with elbow displasia by an orthopedic specialist. This vet recommended bilateral arthroscopy. The xrays he took (only one shot on each leg) didn't show any fragments, but he suspects the problem is on the medial side and the xray was taken from the lateral view. I was wondering if anyone here has had similar trouble and how they treated it, surgically or otherwise. He's been on adequan for almost 3 years since he's always had some joint stiffness after excercise. Only recently though, has he started to limp noticeably on walks and jogs. He is in good weight and pretty active. Telling him he can't play fetch anymore is heartbreaking, so I'm trying to figure out the best way to help him and preserve his ability to play and hike as long as possible. If anyone has any advice, I would be very appreciative. I'm considering the surgery, but at $3000, I'm trying to do my homework first.
Hello, my copper is going to turn 5 yr in Sept. He has been diagnosed with ED and Shoulder OCD... i brought him to an ortho vet and they initially were going to do the bilateral arthroscopy in both elbows for $4,000 (i live in Long Island everything is more expensive in NYC LOL) anyway then when they saw the shoulder OCD they can only do one let at a time now... the elbow and shoulder at one surgery and then the other elbow and shoulder a few months down the road... now i am looking at $7,000!!! but i feel the same way he is full of live and it is so heartbreaking to watch him want to run so bad and i have a 3 year old labbie too who runs around like a nut-job so i feel bad he can't keep up.
Scotty was diagnosed with FMCP (fractured medial coronoid process) kind of ED when he was about 7 months old. The ortho specialist also suggested bilateral orthroscopic surgery ($2,700 in Utah). Per Scotty's breeder's recommendations, I submitted Scotty's X-rays to the OFA for a preliminary evaluation. Dr. Keller at the OFA confirmed the diagnosis and assigned Grade II to Scotty's ED. He agreed that since Scotty was lame, surgery was a better option that conservative management.
There were no fragments on the X-rays though. Most of the time, fragments don't show up on the X-rays. When Scotty's ortho went in, he found one fragment in each elbow. He removed the fragments and shaved off the part of the bone that was prone to further fragmentation. Scotty already had arthritic leisions from the fragments rubbing off the cartliage in his elbows. His recovery from the surgery was speedy. After about 3 months, we were back in obedience training. We manage Scotty's pain with Rimadyl, Adequan, G/C and physical therapy. Scotty is an active dog; we train for obedience, tracking, and hunt tests. Moderate exercise is good to keep the joints flexible and to help manage the weight.
I suggest that you get a second opinion. Maybe send the X-rays to the OFA for evaluation to get the grade, that way you'll know if you're dealing with mild, moderate or severe ED. With prelims, you can call and talk to Dr. Keller who does all elbow prelims. With regular evaluations, I'm not sure if you can talk to someone about the results.
I was hesitant about doing the surgery. I have a bad knee myself and was offered surgery but refused because I'm afraid the surgery would do more damage than good in my case. However, with Scotty, surgery was a lesser of two evils (letting the surgery do some damage to the joints vs. letting the fragments to keep damaging the joint).
I am very pleased with the results of the surgery and believe that I made the right decision. But it is really an option that must be weighed carefully. If you have any other questions, let me know.
Wow, thank you all for the great advice! It is really reassuring to talk to people who have gone through this and I'm glad your dogs are doing better. Copptob - are you going to go through with the surgeries? Did your vet give you any alternatives? My regular vet originally suspected that Neiko had OCD in his shoulder, but the specialist thinks it's just his elbows. I'm inclined to go with the specialist, but at the same time I'm worried they'll get in there and not find anything wrong in his elbows. I'm not sure what I'll do then, because I'll definitely be out of money... ???
Tatyana - What is the OFA? I've seen that reference on here a bunch and wasn't sure what it meant. How do you send xrays in? I have Neiko's on cd and if I could find someone to give me a second opinion that would be great. The specialist did tell me that he didn't see any fragments on the xrays, but said there was some mild 'scleroris'? I'm not sure that's the right word... He thinks it's on the medial side and didn't get xrays from that angle, so I don't think he was surprised. How did they grade Scotty if your xrays were also negative? Was there cartilidge damage? How old is Scotty now? Do you have to do rimadyl often? Neiko isn't very lame, but gets sore after hard excercise. Lately, he's also been on-again off-again limping during regular walks.
Neiko's specialist also suspects that he has a partially torn cruciate and is recommending a TPLO at the same time as the arthroscopy. I'm leaning towards a wait and see approach with his cruciate because I definitely can't afford the combined surgery and I've heard conflicting opinions about the TPLO procedure. I know I run the risk of a full tear, but I'm praying that the recovery period for his elbows will give his cruciate time to repair. He thought it was only slightly torn at this point, so I guess it could go any way. :-\
What sort of g/c supplements do you guys like? I'm using Adequan and that's helped a lot. Maybe there's something else I should try also...?
Thanks again! You guys are really comforting me at a confusing time!!
Yes we decided to go ahead with the surgery because it kills us to see him want to run so bad, it is what they love to do best (besides EAT lol..) so if we have the option to let him be a normal running free labbie then we have to go with it. My vet said to use conservative measures and treat with Cosequin. I was not happy with that response and researched and found the ortho vet who said he does three a day (it is a big facility). He thought at first from the x-rays (i brought my copies in from prior vet) it was not OCD but ED, then he took his own x-rays and showed me that it was OCD and ED... he showed me the flap in the shoulder and essentially he said he has scoleosis of the elbows.. so Copper is going in on April 10th... i am very nervous also because he had a MCT (mast cell tumor) last year removed at a grade II with clean margins and I found another lump on the other leg... I am praying it is not a MCT... i can move it around and it doesn't feel like the other one.. but i am very scared about that to... the ortho vet is going to try and remove that as well not to put him under twice.... oh boy, talk about what a stressful day April 10th will be!! i am gonna need lot's o' wine! lol..... I use Cosequin DS for Copp.
I'll be thinking about you guys on the 10th! My mom's lab was first diagnosed with MCT when she was 7 and she's almost 12 now. Neiko has a lump on his thigh that I had biopsied awhile back and fortunately it was a fatty lympoma. They sure make you worry though, don't they? What did your ortho recommend for recovery? Mine said it would take about 6 weeks. I have a lot of stairs in my house, but he said with a harness I can help him up and down, and not to try to keep him from it. I'm not sure what we're going to do yet, but I'm leaning towards the surgery. It's just a tough call when Neiko gets along great 90% of the time. I don't want to look babk though a couple years from now and regret not doing something while I could... Hmm... I really wish they could talk ;D