Labrador & Elbow Displasia - Help & Advise please

millimoo

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My 4 year old lab is the love of my life...
When she was 9 months old she injured her left elbow, and at the time was Joint tapped and x-rayed - the results being clear. In terms if the injury, I never knew what she did, but I expect it involved my mums bull mastiff squashing her - we had our backs turned and she yelped???
She recovered, and was fine until October 2010, where she hurt it again after hooning around ball chasing - although the lameness was only present after rest, and quickly walked off. However as a precaution she has been on Sinoquin ever since.
She has had 2 minor episodes since then, until last week where again hooning after her ball she tweaked it again.
I rested her but she was quite lame after rest, so I've gone back to the loading dose of Sinoquin, and shes been prescribed metacam for a week. If this doesn't help, my vets suggested an injectable treatment in the neck (1 injection weekly for 4 weeks) which apparently helps clear and lubricate the joints. He also also said theres probably not a lot of point in xraying as the treatment for Arthritis is what we're doing now, and this is effectively what we're dealing with at her age. He also manipulated both bront legs and she has reduced mobility on this left leg (her other leg is fine, and never caused a problem)
I'd really appreciate some experienced advise...
1. Should i be xraying sooner rather than later, or does her age mean she's past the age of be able to improve her condition
2. Is Elbow Displasia basically the Arthritis he's suggesting
3. Has anyone got any advise for next steps should the metacam, and injection treatment not work
4. Would anyone be doing anything else?
5. Should I be asking for a referral to a specialist? She is insured by petplan and covered for life.
Sorry for the essay, I Love her to bits and want to make sure I do the best for her.
I also want to add, I trust my vet and we have a very honest relationship, but I like to be armed with all the facts hence posting here so I can discuss anything suggested here with him.
Thanks in advance, just so worried, and whilst she's not hobbling about yet, im very aware of the progressive nature of these kinds of things so want to do all I can to help slow down the deterioration.
 

MurphysMinder

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If she was x rayed at 9 months and the results were clear, although it is a little early to be totally conclusive it is unlikely she has elbow dysplasia. ED is not arthritis, though can lead to it, I would imagine the original injury has left her with arthritis.
It does sound as if you vet is offering the right treatment,I imagine the injections the vet has suggested are cartrophen, my elderly gsd had them and they really helped keep her comfortable. Of course if you feel you want to take her to a specialist that is up to you .
Other treatment you could consider would be hydrotherapy, your vet could probably recommend a pool local to you. Arthritis can be managed well with the right treatment so try not to worry and remain positive.
 

millimoo

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Thanks Murphys Minder, really appreciate your reply.
She's responded very well to the Metacam and I hope she stays ok when she comes off it... And just take steps to ensure she stays slim, and manage the let as and when it flares up.
I will look at the Hydro therapy as we have a local pool - plus it will give her an opportunity to learn to swim (she loves water, wallows, rolls etc but just won't quite lift off the bottom). She's had a few unplanned swims when she's jumped in and it's been deeper than she thought :D
Thanks again, will try not to worry... Just she's my girl, and I want to ensure she gets the best possible (but sensible) treatment :)
 
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Hey,

Your vet seems to have done the right thing by x-raying her previously and the injections (cartrophen by the sounds) help with arthritis if present. Cartrophen stops enzymes breaking down the cartilage and the cushioning within the elbow joint and helps stimulate the blood vessel in that joint.

Sometimes labs gets what we call 'joint mouses' which is a loose flap of cartilage that is flapping around in the joint which can also cause on and off lameness (my dog suffered this). This can't always be picked up on normal x-rays and would need a contract material injected into the joint for the x-ray to pick it up. You have the right to ask to be referred to a specialist if you feel it's required but there's no reason to monitor her for a while before asking for further work ups.
 

millimoo

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Thanks nelly626... She did the metacam for 7 days and has been off it for 7 days with gentle exercise. She's much better, but is still slightly lame - most wouldn't notice as it's subtle.
Anyway, i'll be going back to the vets I think and will discuss the injections, and mention the flap (I think he's mentioned it in the past)
 

Booboos

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I don't know how helpful this is to you but Jakey was diagnosed with elbow displasia before he was a year old by a specialist vet near Durham (sorry can't remember his name now). He did hydrotherapy for a couple of years and has Metacam as and when he needs it (which is not at all often). We try to lift him out of the car and he avoids gravel, but other than that he has had a very active life. He is now slowing down noticeably but he is 15 years old.

My general advice is no matter how much you trust your local vet ask for a referral to a specialist. They really do have a wealth of knowledge and they can come up with the latest treatments and a long term care plan which your local vet can then help you implement. We have had diagnoses by the local vet completely turned on their heads by the specialists more than once!
 

Taffyhorse

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My 5 yr old Border Collie has mild hip dysplacia which I realise is slightly different. However, hydrotherapy has really helped him - I also massage him (physio showed me how) and he sees the physio approx every 3 months to keep an eye on things.

I can only speak from my own experience by the above has really helped my dog - and he loves his swimming :)
 

millimoo

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West Yorkshire
Thanks all... It's great to hear positive things.
I love her dearly, and am going to see the vet next week to secure a referral to our local hydrotherapy pool, and in the meantime see whether she should have the jabs and discuss whether she should see a specialist (although not sure it's bad enough for that just yet)
:D :D
 

noodle_

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Earth...
My spaniel has hip displasia - shes on cartrofen (now monthly - was weekly) and is much better

Shes now 5 and have to be careful not to let her run round like a pillock but shes doing better :)

she hops when she runs - i knew before the vets( who wouldnt listen....)! she had displasia. - its mild but there

good luck :)
 
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