Archive for December 16th, 2009

Sidekick Is Sidelined

Eva, my ever faithful barn dog, has to take a break for a while. Her “pokey bone” has flared up. When she was not quite 1 year old she had orthopedic surgery at  Affiliated Veterinary Specialists. The surgery was successful for the initial diagnosis of  OCD of the hock. Now we must deal with the lifelong effects of her “pokey bone”.

“Osteochondrosis (also known as OCD) is a common, painful disease in dogs. It is characterized by an abnormality in the cartilage-to-bone transformation. As a result, cartilage and bone fragments may break off into the joint space. Osteochondrosis is not a form of arthritis, however, it often leads to arthritis. Larger breeds of dog have a genetic predisposition towards the condition, which results from rapid growth. (The pain from osteochondrosis is similar to the “growing pains” experienced by adolescents.)

Cartilage is the tissue, normally at the ends of long bones, which contributes to pain-free motion. Osteochondrosis is a congenital defect in normal joint cartilage development that leads to the development of a loose piece or flap of cartilage. This loose piece or flap can give rise to secondary degenerative joint disease. Secondary degenerative joint disease that develops as a result of osteochondrosis, generally occurs early in the dog’s life as opposed to the “wear and tear” arthritis that many dogs experience later in life.

Areas most commonly affected by osteochondrosis include the shoulder, elbow, knee (stifle) and ankle (hock) in young dogs. Osteochondrosis can occur on both sides (bilateral) and may involve several joints. There are several types of osteochondrosis.”

We were hoping not to deal with this until she was a bit older. She only turns 3 in February. When she’s at the barn with me she flies across the pasture at 100 mph chasing the goats and cows. This past friday she was carrying her leg and laying down as I did my chores. She’s never done that! So in she went for x-rays and sure enough, she has arthritis in that joint and substantial swelling. Dr. Rick thinks the swelling and aggravation had been building for while and she must have done something (hit a hole, took a turn wrong) to bring it to where we are now. She’s on a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and is on exercise restriction for at least a week. Not being able to go to work with me at the barn is about to make her crazy! Dr. Carson will be coming tomorrow to start acupuncture treatments and there are some interesting stem-cell procedures we are investigating. I miss her being with me but we have to do what’s necessary for her to be pain free. She’s far too young to be lame. Since we started her restriction the swelling has gone down and she’s using the leg again. All good signs.

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