Possible Elbow dysplasia in 6 month lab

(15 Posts)
lottiebear69 Thu 21-Mar-19 10:20:15

I have an Adorable lab puppy who has suddenly started limping intermittently. He seems in no pain, never yelps but the limp when it happens is significant.usually after a 30 min walk - he came from a reputable breeder is pedigree and his parents had good hip scores. The vet says yesterday that hopefully it’s just a sprain or something but could / quite likely to be Elbow dysplasia. He’s on two weeks of only short lead walks and metacam as an anti inflammatory- he looks thoroughly miserable that he can’t go to the park and chase his ball. I’ve started reading up on it and seems if he has it his exercise could have to be limited. My heart is breaking for him and I’m dreading seeing what the next appt in two weeks will reveal if he needs a x Ray / Ct. Does anyone have any good stories where a limp turns out to be something curable? Can he have an op . He had a weird seizure type thing about a month ago and stayed over night at the vets and thankfully after monitoring it hasn’t happened again (at the time he had Giardia and diarrhoea so wasn’t in best of health) poor fella seems like everything that’s out there has gone his way - but could this be linked ? I so want him to get fully fit which he was for first couple of months ! I worry about him more than my kids !

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Thu 21-Mar-19 18:23:36

No experience of dysplasia but lots of experience with restricted exercise due to injury and illness.

I would look at things to tire him out mentally. Tricks, licky mats, kongs, hiding food and toys for him to sniff out will all help.

EllenRipley Thu 21-Mar-19 18:28:41

My friend's lab-cross pup was diagnosed with this. She's been giving him turmeric and CBD oil for pets, there's been a massive difference in the dog's mobility.

Toooldtobearsed2 Thu 21-Mar-19 18:29:56

I dont have a good news story, but I do, iykwim.

My black lab was diagnised with elbow displasia at 5 months.
He had the op and was on crate rest for years and years and years (or so it seemed)!
He had been such an energetic bundle of puppy, the thought of having to keep him calm and steady for a long time seemed totally and utterly undoable.

He is now 6 years old and still a boucing bundle of trouble. We got through the bad times in the same way as you get through crap with babies. You just do. And you come out the other end.
We can give you ideas for exercising the brain rather than the body, but honestly and truly, if worst comes to worst, you will be fine😊

Booboostwo Thu 21-Mar-19 21:03:13

Take his directly to an ortho vet. I would expect the vet to X-ray straight away and it is curious that he mentioned elbow dysplasia without any diagnostic tests. For example, why wouldn’t it be OCD?

I would not go through the horror of keeping a puppy on two weeks ad only exercise without a diagnosis.

Having said that my GSD was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia at 9mo. He had intermittent lameness from very young, but xrays at 5mo and 7mo didn’t find anything. He had an arthroscopy and the vet admitted he was not expecting to find anything, but there is was, one of the worst cases he has ever seen complete with hole in the bone, bone fragment inhe articulation etc.

My dog had six weeks in lead exercise only and it was a nightmare. It really affected him psychologically, by the end he was howling. It was awful. He also had three injections of platelets but still needs metacam from time to time. He is only 2yo and the prognosis is poor.

Having said that, other cases of elbow dysplasia can be a lot milder and other conditions, like OCD, can be treated if caught early enough.

lottiebear69 Thu 21-Mar-19 22:33:17

Thanks everyone. Is an operation the usual treatment ? After the 2 weeks she’ll x ray if still limping ? I spoke with the breeder she says vets are often quick to label a limping large breed as likely to have dysplasia when in fact or maybe a ligament strain from a knock with his mates (he likes to play with the big dogs 🐕 and he also likes chasing a ball) she says there is absolutely no dysplasia in 5 generations so apparently it would be unusual so I’m crossing everything. Is it strange that he doesn’t seem in pain or make any noises to signify pain ? Thanks for your reassurances and stories

OP’s posts: |
Notrusthere Thu 21-Mar-19 22:44:58

My last boy had a limp as a young dog, only once in a while vets said they thought he'd strained something.

At 9 and a half we lost him to cancer. It had been 7 years since he limped.

A limp in a young dog does not mean the end of the world I promise you x


tabulahrasa Thu 21-Mar-19 23:52:05

“For example, why wouldn’t it be OCD?”

Because elbow dysplasia was/is used as an umbrella term that covers that too and diagnosis and treatment would be fairly similar tbh.

“Thanks everyone. Is an operation the usual treatment ?”

Yes, arthroscopy is the most common one, so it’s not physically a big operation, it leaves like a 2 stitch wound, it’s tiny...

You can depending on exactly what they found* choose to treat conservatively instead, but an ortho would talk you through options and percentages of success rates before doing anything invasive.

I will say mine that had ED came out of surgery walking better than he went in.

“Is it strange that he doesn’t seem in pain or make any noises to signify pain ?”

Nope, it means nothing about pain levels - dogs are weird, lol, they can hobble about on the worst joints imaginable seemingly happily or equally react like they’re about to die because they’ve a grass seed between their toes - you can’t tell at all, but obviously he’s uncomfortable or he’d not be limping.

“she says there is absolutely no dysplasia in 5 generations so apparently it would be unusual”

But not impossible... and does she mean clear elbow scores? Or just no confirmed cases?... because they’re not the same thing.

None of that however means it is ED... it could well be a sprain, or something else entirely.

Personally if he’s insured I’d go to more diagnostics and an ortho referral before 2 weeks... if it’s something minor it should improve before that tbh, IME anyway.

MellowMelly Fri 22-Mar-19 00:10:01

I have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier who was diagnosed with Elbow Dysplasia by X-ray after the onset of a sudden limp during her exercise. She was about 5 months old at the time and also didn’t display any signs that she was in pain as the vets pulled at her leg on examination.

She is 7 years old now and we decided with the vets to avoid an operation and manage her dysplasia with a life long care plan.

Her weight is kept an eye on (we keep her at the lower end of her recommended weight so she’s not carrying excess weight on the joint), we do gentle exercise (searching for treats and toys, rolling balls a shorter distance so she’s not bounding after them etc..)and shortened her walks, she’s on fish oils for joints and she wears an elbow brace (sounds worse than it is and only cost £7!) when exercising.

Apart from an occasional limp if she has chased after a squirrel in the garden, she is happy. I do so often want to let her off leash and watch her run like the wind but I know she’ll suffer later that day. We just make her life more interesting in other ways ☺️

BiteyShark Fri 22-Mar-19 06:09:43

As PP said showing no pain means nothing. I have seen my dog acting like nothing is wrong but he had significant injuries that half his body wasn't functioning correctly. They have an ability to mask pain very well.

Do you have insurance? Because if your normal vet still thinks ED after your two weeks I second or third as I think several have said to go straight to specialist vet and do the diagnostics there.

ForTheTimeBeing Fri 22-Mar-19 06:46:58

We had a lab who was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia aged six months. He also was from a reputable breeder and parents with good hip scores. However, since there are multiple genes involved in the condition, the parents' scores don't guarantee a healthy pup.

Our dog recovered very well from his surgery and didn't have any joint problems again until he was very old and became arthritic.

tabulahrasa Fri 22-Mar-19 08:25:32

“However, since there are multiple genes involved in the condition, the parents' scores don't guarantee a healthy pup.”

They don’t, they do up the odds... but also... hips scores don’t tell you anything about elbows.

Elbows are scored seperately.

Booboostwo Fri 22-Mar-19 08:44:34

tabulahrasa yes of course elbow dysplasia is a wider term that covers OCD. I suppose my worry was with the vet mentioning the possibility of elbow dysplasia before xrays. Some versions of OCD are treatable when caught early, maybe even most of them. Whereas wider cases of elbow dysplasia, like my dog who has cartiledge problems but these pale into relative insignificance compared with the hole in his bone, are more worrying.

The intermittent and mild nature of the limb would worry me. My experience with horses and dogs suggests that a pronounced limb that disappears quickly is not serious, a mild limb that comes and goes is a sign of an ongoing condition. But I am not a vet so may be talking rubbish. OP I would take the dog to an ortho vet ASAP.

tabulahrasa Fri 22-Mar-19 09:02:04

See my assumption is that the vet mentioned ED, just because they’re thinking hmm, this could be something worth checking out, rather than anything really specific. I find vets are much more willing to muse at conditions than doctors, by the time a doctor mentions anything they’re pretty sure that’s what it is, with vets they’re just considering possibilities.

But I’m not a vet either, just spent the last 8 years dealing with pets with various health issues including the dog with ED.

Booboostwo Fri 22-Mar-19 09:32:02

I’m sorry about your dog tabula. I had one with elbow dysplasia that lived to 14yo with the odd dose of metacam once a year, but I have a 2yo now with no end of problems because of his ED. Both came from generations of health screened dogs, but sometimes you are just unlucky. I had a horse with severe OCD who despite an operation and nine months of recovery never came sound, but then again I know a lot of people who have had a good outcome from OCD operations.

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