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Old 06-29-2006, 09:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Dog continues to limp after surgery

Our one-year-old red female is limping again. She had surgery for this problem over 7 months ago, which seemed to help her. The orthopedic surgeon believed that she incurred some trauma as a pup, and that the unattended paw (left rear leg) would get worse. Prior to the surgery, she was on an extended, prescribed regimen of anti-inflammatories and pain medication, which did not help her. All pre-surgical and post-surgical X- rays were normal: hip, knee, leg, and paw.

A partial amputation of a toe was performed, and she seemed to improve--rarely limping over the next few months. Now the symptoms are back, only worse this time. She will dangle her left rear leg for a few steps, then gingerly put it down, after which it gets better. It is always the same leg, and most pronounced when the footing surface is hard: concrete, hardwood floor,etc. She is limping exactly as she did before the surgery.

My wife and I are sick about this. The poor dog has has 2 major operations in her young life--the above and a recent surgery for small bowel obstruction. She has also been treated for a paw infection (different paw) and a leg injury when she caught her foot on a taut mason line when running.

The situation has affected us physically, psychologically, and financially--thousands of dollars in bills so far. Of course we will pay whatever we must to resolve the problem for this beautiful loving girl. Thank God, she has a much better psychological handle on this than we do.

Has anyone any experience with a persistent limp? My wife and I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with her paw pad(s)? We are taking her to another vet, looking for a fresh perspective.

Any advice would be appreciated. I apologize for the length of this posting.
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Old 06-29-2006, 10:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by forager
Our one-year-old red female is limping again. She had surgery for this problem over 7 months ago, which seemed to help her. The orthopedic surgeon believed that she incurred some trauma as a pup, and that the unattended paw (left rear leg) would get worse. Prior to the surgery, she was on an extended, prescribed regimen of anti-inflammatories and pain medication, which did not help her. All pre-surgical and post-surgical X- rays were normal: hip, knee, leg, and paw.

A partial amputation of a toe was performed, and she seemed to improve--rarely limping over the next few months. Now the symptoms are back, only worse this time. She will dangle her left rear leg for a few steps, then gingerly put it down, after which it gets better. It is always the same leg, and most pronounced when the footing surface is hard: concrete, hardwood floor,etc. She is limping exactly as she did before the surgery.

My wife and I are sick about this. The poor dog has has 2 major operations in her young life--the above and a recent surgery for small bowel obstruction. She has also been treated for a paw infection (different paw) and a leg injury when she caught her foot on a taut mason line when running.

The situation has affected us physically, psychologically, and financially--thousands of dollars in bills so far. Of course we will pay whatever we must to resolve the problem for this beautiful loving girl. Thank God, she has a much better psychological handle on this than we do.

Has anyone any experience with a persistent limp? My wife and I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with her paw pad(s)? We are taking her to another vet, looking for a fresh perspective.

Any advice would be appreciated. I apologize for the length of this posting.
I think you are doing the right thing by getting a second opinion.
My first thought would be a torn ACL, but that would have shown up on an xray. Was the knee included in the xrays?

I wonder if Pano can be so painful they don't bear weight? Maybe someone else can answer that.

I wish you luck in getting her to feeling better.
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Old 06-30-2006, 12:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by CoAl-s-Mom

I wonder if Pano can be so painful they don't bear weight? Maybe someone else can answer that.
Yeah, pano can be that painful. I have a friend whose male is going through that right now-it's also more likely to happen when he spends a lot of time on hard surfaces. But I think pano can be seen on xrays, just like an ACL problem.
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Old 06-30-2006, 05:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks, Murraydobe and CoAl-s-Mom for your comments. We just returned from a visit with a new vet, who recommended that more of the toe be amputated, as the vet was able to elicit pain when pressing on the digit;all other digits were pain-free.
New X-rays today: hip, knee, and paw revealed nothing abnormal. The vet is baffled by the lack of definitive diagnostic evidence, as were the first vet and the orthopedic surgeon.
Because Dimity is in great discomfort, noticeably wincing even when on pain medication, we've decided to go ahead with the operation on Monday. In the interim, she will be on anti-inflammatories and pain meds.
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Old 06-30-2006, 06:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I hope removing the toe gets rid of the pain for her.
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Old 07-01-2006, 07:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Ahh, we'll be rooting for her. Hopefully this will take care of it once and for all.
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Old 07-01-2006, 07:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks, everyone. Thinking about it, I was wrong to refer to her "limp". This time she doesn't put the paw on the ground at all. She moves on three legs when she has to get around, with her left leg dangling well above the ground. I hope Monday's operation gives her relief.
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Old 07-01-2006, 08:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Poor baby must really hurt if she isn't putting any weight on it.

Before her first surgery, what did the ortho Dr see on xrays to warrant the surgery?
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Old 07-14-2006, 03:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Dimity is 11 days post-op, and is doing ok. Her spirit returned yesterday.
She had a rough recovery, however--hardly eating during the 1st 7 days, while finishing her course of medications: prophylactic Pepcid AC, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and occasional sedative. The vet likes how the paw is healing, suggesting that we leave the stitches in for a few more days. The stitches will be removed on Tuesday.
Has anyone had experience, or have knowledge of, a dog's recovery after toe amputation? How soon are they able to walk relatively comfortably, etc.?
We are concerned for her, as this whole business began when she was 9-weeks old. First, at 20-weeks of age--after numerous medications were tried--her toenail was amputated, now the remainder of the same toe has been amputated 7 1/2 months later. A biopsy revealed a tissue infection of the toe; the vet suspects that after the first amputation, the remainder of the toe curled downward, and, over time, rubbed incessantly with every step, irritating the paw until Dimity was no longer able to put her paw down. Of course, he admits that this is conjecture. He and the orthopedic surgeon cautioned us that they could not guarantee that the surgery would resolve Dimity's problem.
Well, the first obviously did not. As for the 2nd operation, Dimity is unable to put her paw down, save for an occasional step, and then only with discomfort. Still, the stitches are still in, and it's only been 11 days. This poor dog could use some healthy time.
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Old 07-14-2006, 04:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Sorry, Coal-s-Mom. I only now just read your question about the orthopedic surgeon.
After weeks of medications and appointments with the first regular vet, we were referrred to an orthopedic vet, who was mystified when he first examined Dimity. He was able to elicit pain and discomfort from Dimity when he pressed down on the toe, even when she was sedated, noting that no other parts of the paw were evidently tender. He wanted to give it more time, however, and allow medications to resolve the problem, if possible.
We medicated her for a few weeks: pain meds, anti-inflammatories, and sedatives--none of which had any effect on her condition. She was limping more than ever after a few weeks of the above.
When we brought her back, he recommended surgery, in which he would amputate a small portion of the toe (essentially the toenail), which was the prominent site of pain when touched.
The second vet had pretty much the same perspective: first, see if medication resolves the problem, then surgery, if necessary.
All three vets have ordered numerous diagnostic tests, including X-Rays and anti-immune blood panels, etc.--all of which have ruled out a lot of possibilities.
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Old 07-14-2006, 04:08 AM   #11 (permalink)
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And i'm sure everyone here hopes she gets some healthy time too! lets hope it all heals up and you get a happy bouncy dobie .
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Old 07-14-2006, 04:14 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks, Brumwolf. Dimity is bearing up much better than we are. We feel awful for her, helpless.
I neglected to mention that, even at 9-weeks of age, Dimity's affected paw was not the typical cats paw of the doberman: it was smaller, flatter. After the initial surgery it seemed to curl up better, but it still is not nearly as well developed as the other paws.
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Old 07-14-2006, 08:29 AM   #13 (permalink)
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AW, im sorry for what your baby has gone through. But im very happy to hear that she is on her way back to recovery. Thanks for the update!
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Old 07-15-2006, 02:44 PM   #14 (permalink)
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This morning Dimity had diarrhea and vomited yellow bile. Her paw was swollen so we took her to the vet, who confirmed that the paw was infected-- new antibiotic, new GI medicine.
The stitches were removed, so we're in wait-and-watch mode.
This is a sweet, brave dog.
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Old 07-15-2006, 08:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Poor baby is really having a time of it. I hope she feels better soon.
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