Question from Richard, Jul 17, 2012 at 10:42 AM: Hi Dr. Chris, we found your website and subscribed to your blog in December of 2011. Your advice relative to our 11 year old rough collie’s stiffness and limping problems was very helpful – until recently.
I was just re-reading the email that you sent out in April of 2012 concerning cruciate surgery. Since canine arthritis is your specialty, we would appreciate any input you can give us. We dearly love Tartan and would like to be able to help him with this.
Tartan is 11 now and will be 12 on September 19th. He is beyond extraordinary and is the love of our life. For most of his life, he has been very active, happy and in great health. Over the last year and one-half, he started to show some stiffness in his gait and some mild limping. Our vet put him on daily doses of Metacam and over the last year or so we have been giving him daily doses of glucosomine & chondroitin – Flexerna and Glucanaid HA. Our vet does periodic blood tests. Until about two months ago, the Metacam, Flexerna and Glycanaid HA seemed to be helping with the limping and stiffness. Now, Tartan has more and more trouble walking and real trouble getting up and down. The trouble seems to be in his back legs and/or hips. Tartan is falling more and more often and has more and trouble navigating hard surfaces such as tile, etc. Our veterinarian says that the problem is probably spinal arthritis and/or hip dysplasia. He is not a surgeon, does not have MRI equipment, etc. and wants us to take him to a specialty pet hospital in Orange County, CA for evaluation and MRI, etc. About two years ago, one of Tartan’s rear legs was injured during a boarding stay at the vet’s and I am not sure that the current problems are not at least partially the result of an injury.
We dearly love Tartan, would like to be able to help him and don’t want to lose him. On the other hand, we don’t want him to suffer. Before we get involved with MRI’s and possible surgery, we really would like to know what you think and what you recommend. Anything that you can do to help would be appreciated. Obviously, we wish we were MUCH closer to you. Thanks for your understanding.
Dr. Chris’ reply: Hi Richard, it does sound spinal from what you say. The weakness and the slipping on the floor can very much be spinal disease. An MRI is the best diagnosis for this, but a lot depends on what you would do about spinal disease if you found it.
Hope that helps and I would love to be able to help more as well. The tyranny of distance as we say down here.