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falconer20

Elbow Problems - Golden Retriever

18 posts in this topic

I have been reading this forum for some time but have decided to join to broaden my involvement and to gain access to the depth of knowledge out in the dog community. As this is my first post, please treat me gently.

As the title suggests, I have a 14 month old pure breed Golden Retriever which six weeks ago misjudged some stairs. No immediate injury was evident however after a couple of days, at the end of a half hour walk, he started to limp on the left front. Walks were reduced but the limp was still evident when getting up, but his desire to be involved as much as possible was undiminished. Three weeks ago, at a meet and greet of two new pups to the family, our dog couldn't control himself and the following day he could hardly walk. A trip to the vet was arranged.

Upon examination, the vet diagnosed elbow dysplasia and then went on to tell me all the long term issues and what that involves. X-rays were suggested ($550) and anti inflammatories were prescribed. As I walked out of the vets, my head was spinning. How could this be? He's only 14 months. Operations, drugs, arthritis, long term health management, etc all caused a severe headache (me, not the dog). Telling all this to the family was met with the same questions and doubts.

Anyway, a nights sleep, some good old internet surfing, and a call to the breeder led us to suspect that elbow dysplasia may have been a worst case diagnosis. If our research is correct, we understand it to be hereditary and the breeder confirmed there was no evidence of it in their records. So we have continued with the tablets and kept the excitement levels to a minimum, but there still appears some evidence of an occasional limp.

So where to from here. If after the course of anti inflammatories the limp returns, x-rays will have to be taken to confirm the the problem. I have seen on this forum there are vastly differing costs for x-rays but I was also wondering if these have to be done under general anesthetic? Is there a vet clinic in the Waverley area of Melbourne who might be reasonable in their costs but, more importantly, able to give a good old, down to earth assessment of what might show up on the xray.

I am open to any and all comments on this as I want to make sure our dog gets the right treatment for whatever this is. 14 months is too young to be considering long term medical treatment.

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14 months is actually quite old for a diagnosis of elbow dysplasia. It usually shows between 3 and 8 months during rapid growth but it is still a possibility.

Any injury in a young dog that causes a limp should be treated with immediate crate rest, with toileting on a lead. Not reduced walks - no walks at all. Never exercise a dog with an injury caused limp and especially never let it play with other dogs. Minor joint injuries can become very major injuries very fast if they are not given time to heal properly. This could be a hard lesson learnt.

Now, crate the dog, get him x-rayed to find out what is going on and find a good doggy chiropractor. Treatment will depend on what the final diagnosis is. Hopefully someone near you can recommend a good vet and chiro as no one can diagnose elbow dysplasia accurately without x-rays.

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Now, crate the dog, get him x-rayed to find out what is going on and find a good doggy chiropractor. Treatment will depend on what the final diagnosis is. Hopefully someone near you can recommend a good vet and chiro as no one can diagnose elbow dysplasia accurately without x-rays.

This is what I would also suggest. Hopefully your dog will be OK :thumbsup:

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ish   

Ray Fergason at Monash Vet Clinic is an excellent vet to see for xrays - he does many of the hip and elbow xrays for breeders in Vic.

http://www.monashvet.com.au/

Elbow dysplasia is considered 'polygenic' or influenced by several genes and environmental factors too. Good elbows in the parents and previous generations doesn't always mean good elbows in their offspring unfortunately.

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Nekhbet   

wow - confirmed ED without an x-ray? What, is your vet magical?

You cant give 100% unless you do the xray and have an experienced veterinarian look at it. Go make the trip up to George Schofield and have him check its not something else wrong, not just the elbow

George Schofield OAM

1530 Mickleham Road, Yuroke

03 9333 1602

vets have been wrong before. I had one tell me my Belgian bitch had sudden onset severe arthritis by pulling her legs out perpendicular to her torso. The dog, having anatomy not made to go that way, squealed and tried to nip her. I go to Neil Meurer in Lal Lal, he diagnosed a dislocated tail, one swift move and she was right as rain again.

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Rebanne   
Anyway, a nights sleep, some good old internet surfing, and a call to the breeder led us to suspect that elbow dysplasia may have been a worst case diagnosis. If our research is correct, we understand it to be hereditary and the breeder confirmed there was no evidence of it in their records. So we have continued with the tablets and kept the excitement levels to a minimum, but there still appears some evidence of an occasional limp.

ED can also be enviromental. Crate rest the dog for a few days, go to a chiropractor, get xrays, then go from there.

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wow - confirmed ED without an x-ray? What, is your vet magical?

You cant give 100% unless you do the xray and have an experienced veterinarian look at it. Go make the trip up to George Schofield and have him check its not something else wrong, not just the elbow

Yep I agree with the statement above............your Vet must have Xray vision! The only way to confirm ED is by Xray.

Seriously I would find another Vet.

I would also seek out an experienced Chiro, Muscle Manipulator, Bowen Therapist or similar, there are many options available to you on your side of town, get him seen to and treated and with crate rest and limited exercise, hopefully your boy should be right. :cry:

Sore fronts are a common injury in a lot of breeds, let us hope it is simple soft tissue injury, or maybe a ligament or tendon has been stretched / strained or something simple like that, either way get him looked at and you will get an answer.

Edited by Stolzseinrotts

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Nekhbet   

rule of thumb - if any vet pronounces ED/HD or any other bone problem without an x-ray or claims to be able to confirm it without an x-ray, find a new one ASAP. It is impossible to tell 100% what exactly the problem is just by pure manipulation, particularly in problems like this. Some symptoms are similar to other non-serious conditions. Your dog could be sore, have its back out, or keep reinjuring the same thing because it just wont rest it. I also dont like anti-inflammatories for mild pain because pain is there for a reason - to let you know something is wrong and to stop running around to prevent further injury!

Stolzsein I have one for you ... ran into some people that have a rottweiler, he apparently had 'puppy arthritis' and had jagged edges on the the femoral heads (ie his hips). Vet told them that will wear down with age and the arthritis will dissapear and can be a common one in breeds like rotties. Oddly enough it didnt ... did I miss something in anatomy? I have never heard of a jagged joint smoothing itself down as the dog matures from adolescent to adult - arthritis is arthritis. My boy has a similar thing, but all 4 legs are arthritic

Edited by Nekhbet

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Totally agree with previous comments regarding the diagnosis without xrays. Mokha was disagnosed at about 8 months with ED after being diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 6 months. Both problems being evident on the xrays and confirmed by the specialist. Surgery was done on his elbow and he has been much better than I could have hoped for in the 1 1/2 years since surgery. Crate rest and xrays are definitely the way to go.

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Ok, looks like x-rays are the way to go. As for rest, no walks have been done in the past week so hopefully this is helping.

Will check out Monash Vet (nice and close) to see when exam can be done. Hopefully I have not extended or increased any injury by taking the course I have.

With the x-rays, are these always done under general? or are some vets clever enough to do them without. Don't want to have to put the dog under unnecessarily.

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or are some vets clever enough to do them without.

I don't think a vet needs to be more 'clever' :hug:

It's about the dog being relaxed and the area to be in the correct position for the length of time required .Sometimes this is uncomfortable/painful for the dog .. so sedation, and maybe anaesthesia is need for a relaxed body .

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wow - confirmed ED without an x-ray? What, is your vet magical?

You cant give 100% unless you do the xray and have an experienced veterinarian look at it. Go make the trip up to George Schofield and have him check its not something else wrong, not just the elbow

George Schofield OAM

1530 Mickleham Road, Yuroke

03 9333 1602

vets have been wrong before. I had one tell me my Belgian bitch had sudden onset severe arthritis by pulling her legs out perpendicular to her torso. The dog, having anatomy not made to go that way, squealed and tried to nip her. I go to Neil Meurer in Lal Lal, he diagnosed a dislocated tail, one swift move and she was right as rain again.

Sorry about your dogs lamness and the worry. As others have said it could be many things.

Agree with above, only xrays and read by vet trained to read them (not just your general vet) can Dx elbow dysplasia. So before you get too concerned about ED, good xrays and a proper reading are needed.

According to OFA Orthopedic Foundation for Animals

http://www.offa.org/stats.html#breed (scan down to table 'Search for Statistics by Breed', select Golden Retriever and then click Show Stats)

Approx 1 in 10 goldens have elbow dysplasia which is considered very inheritable.

Goldens are more prone to hip dysplasia at approx 2 out of 10 dogs affected.

One concern I would want to rule out is that the dog does not have poor hips and this has lead to using the front end more, leading to the lameness in front. (just like when you sprain your left ankle and few days later your right hip or knee starts to hurt because you are using that leg differently). Have seen this happen a few times.

Edited by shortstep

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there is a really good vet on dandenong rd, at the corner of darling rd i think? opposite spolight and anaconda etc. it is an emergency centre and not the best price wise BUT when my mini schnauzer did some serious damage to his near side shoulder the vet there was fantastic, he gave us options, explained everything really well and most importantly - for the 4 sessions that our boy had to return for treatment he was happy to walk in and be left there, and he is a dog that does not enjoy being parted from us and can be little timid. he loved the nurses and clearly was well treated whilst there.

pet emergency and specialist centre i think it is, they have arthriscope, xray, a swimming/walking tank etc - fantastic facilities and some really good vets. chris was the main vet with my boy and i can't speak highly enough of him...

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ish   
With the x-rays, are these always done under general? or are some vets clever enough to do them without. Don't want to have to put the dog under unnecessarily.

When I've had dogs hip/elbow xrayed at Monash, they use 'twilight sedation' which is a light sedative that doesn't last long. It means the dog can be manipulated into position without discomfort and stay still for the xrays, but still come home within an hour or 2.

If you don't use Monash, please make sure you find a vet that is experienced in taking and reading xrays - unless they know how to position correctly and read the xray accurately, you might be left as confused as you are now.

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Ok, looks like x-rays are the way to go. As for rest, no walks have been done in the past week so hopefully this is helping.

Will check out Monash Vet (nice and close) to see when exam can be done. Hopefully I have not extended or increased any injury by taking the course I have.

With the x-rays, are these always done under general? or are some vets clever enough to do them without. Don't want to have to put the dog under unnecessarily.

It is actually against health and safety guidelines to do it without- vets and vet nurses should not unnecessarily expose themselves to radiation. That means that if it is possible to sedate or anaesthetize and animal they should do so. Of course, this doesn't always happen in practice- some animals are not safe to sedate or have a GA and of course owners rarely want to pay for it. It is legal though to get the owner to restrain the dog during the xray. Some dogs are really good and will just lie, though these ones are usually very well trained or older or not feeling so well.

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Stolzsein I have one for you ... ran into some people that have a rottweiler, he apparently had 'puppy arthritis' and had jagged edges on the the femoral heads (ie his hips). Vet told them that will wear down with age and the arthritis will dissapear and can be a common one in breeds like rotties. Oddly enough it didnt ... did I miss something in anatomy? I have never heard of a jagged joint smoothing itself down as the dog matures from adolescent to adult - arthritis is arthritis. My boy has a similar thing, but all 4 legs are arthritic

Nekhbet that is one of the most absurd statements I have heard for a while. Seriously that "Vet" should give it up and walk away......... :thumbsup:

Back to the topic...........

Any updates on the diagnosis on this boy???? I am hoping it is less serious type injury. :)

Edited by Stolzseinrotts

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I had a similar problem with my Newfie girl at 6 months old, x rays didn't show much so went straight to the specialists (Luckily I have pet insurance ended up being over $5000) CT Scans an edoscopy showed inflamation they flushed out the joint in case any flecks of cartledge had come loose to cause the inflammation strict rest for 3 weeks and then gradually started exercise over the next few weeks and she was back to 100%

Hope all goes well for you :rolleyes:

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