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Chipped bone

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My sons 4 year old cross Springer/Beagle has had a fragment of bone removed from her fron leg. Also MRI scans, ultra sound, X Ray's and loads more. She's now on metacam but is limping terribly all the time especially in the wet and cold. Op was about 10 weeks ago.

On the vets advice she walks for no more than 5 minutes a day plus being allowed to poo/pee in the field outside. My son lives maybe 200 yards away across the field so she walks to me in the AM before he goes to work and home in the PM. Sunday she sits and watches us shoot.

She's clapping on weight despite cutting back her food by nearly a half.

She used to beat every 2 weeks in the season plus walk the local grouse moor with me 2/3 times a week with my dogs, was very active and fit. Also swam well.

Vet wants to break the leg and reset it, I think that sounds horrendous for her and unless he can guarantee her recovery I'm against it. But, she's my sons dog so all I can do is advise. He's thinking of getting a second opinion, especially as the insurance only covered the first £3000, and he's now well over £5000.

Having read many of the threads on here, I gather green lipped mussels, glucosamine and turmeric mixed in with food is good.  What amounts?

Any other ideas or treatments that we could try. She was a good working dog but we know shes now retired and will live a long and happy life with us, but we want her pain and hopefully limp free.

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Turmeric and joint supplements might help with aches and pains but they won't reset an out of place bone... why was the bone fragmented? 

 

I personally would think, what is the dog's life expectancy? Could be another 10 years. That's a long time to be limping about in pain, especially if its suffering. As your son is also already £2,000 over spent I assume the bone breaking and setting will be out of his own pocket? 

Have they said how much the whole thing is going to cost? It would be nice if money was no object but sadly many can't afford to think like that. 

 

What options is he considering? 

- Leave it be? Might be an option but as said if the dog is in pain (and possibly suffering) then that's no good to anyone and may even be an offence for not seeking vet treatment. 

- Have the op - depends on the cost and outcome. 

- PTS I imagine would be an option that needs to be considered. 

 

Tough choice to make that. I don't envy him. 

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Assuming that treatment so far has been provided by an orthopaedic surgeon (specialist) - based on the aforementioned documented pre-op assessments - it may be a question of more time needed for gradual improvement, but eventual outcome does not look good for working soundness.

If the consultations and advice have been - so far - all given by the "over-the-counter" vs - request consultation with the actual surgeon - or request referral to specialist centre.

ps - unlikely that any of the "off-the-shelf" medicaments will make much difference, so put your money into seeking specialist advice from a recognised orthopaedic surgeon, preferably one with first hand experience of the working dog.

Good Luck.

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We have no idea how the bone fragmented she started limping one day and winced when I touched her. Her joints all over are hot, but shes running no temperature. The Vet in Sheffield refered her to a specialist after doing ultrasound and X Ray's. The specialist surgeon did an MRI and removed a bone fragment which he said was "floating". She is only walked and exercised on his advice and has a monthly review. Currently taking prescribed Metacam but even the specialist has said she isn't responding.

My son is paying out of his own pocket now and although he hasn't bottomless pockets is a long way from giving up.

We're just wondering if anyone had gone through anything similar  or could give advice. We're considering another vet just for a second opinion as the thought if breaking her leg is awful. 

The cost of the break/reset op and resulting aftercare is in the region of £2000 and is an option he wants to discuss if there is no further improvement. 

At this moment, the cost is not as important as her being out of pain and not limping. Her working again is not an issue as she will always have a loving home with us.

Thanks for the replies.

 

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All I can do is say my own experience and friends.

I had a pup before my current one that had an issue, they said that they may have to break his hip to fix the issue. He went back to the breeder and went off to the vet to have the issue sorted on the condition that they will continue to try the op to fix the problem, but if they cannot reach the problem, they are NOT to break the hip and should instead stop and PTS to have the terrible pain and problems that would likely give. Thankfully the hip did not need breaking. The pup was operated on and given to the vet as a pet to keep as part payment, he wanted a companion, and the dog was noted as likely to have other issues in life. A good outcome for the dog, but heart breaking for us 😞 

 

Another mate was in a situation where his working lab blew a shoulder and the vet told him that he could fix it but they had to break and re-set it. He went with the op spending several thousand £, and the dog recovered a bit, but when the cold or wet sets in the dog has terrible pain and discomfort in that shoulder/leg. He can't take him out in winter (shooting season) as he gets awful pain and he can see it. I don't think he is amazing in the summer either, he says that it is apparent the dog has poor quality of life and he thinks he should have had it PTS instead. 

 

If I was you, I would ask to be referred to someone good. We spoke with two top surgeons at Langford Vet School near Bristol which were luckily just down the road :) very hard to hear but we were confident that they knew what they were saying. 

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Whereabouts did the chip come off, if it at end of bone which moves agaisst cartrilidge, bone needs to regrow to heal and will take months.

Comfrey (also known as Knitbone), may be worth looking into (but has to be relatively carefully administered - not adlib but not difficult) before going to extreme of breakings a bone (how if a chip comes off do you need to break whole bone?)

Getting heavier will not help

Edited by Stonepark

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I'd not thought about comfrey, my grandad used to make poltices from it when I was a nipper. 

The chip was removed from above the elbow on front left leg. No idea how it happened but shes always been very active especially when shes out with my two. When out beating she used to get a sore and scratched chest and tummy, so my son bought her a special protective vest, but you can't guard against everything unfortunately. 

Surgeon said limp would go and recovery would be noticeable after 6 weeks. Maybe we're rushing it wanting her ok. It just pains us to see any dog especially one that's part of our life/family not right. Maybe we're expecting too much too soon.

I've spoke to my son tonight when he fetched her and hes going to book her in for a second opinion with another specialist. 

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