My pup turns 4 next month. She started having a problem with a slight limp in her front leg. When she stands up after lying down she limps for a few minutes and then seems fine. We tried cutting back her activity (which has made her gain a few lbs.) and put her on a pain/anti-inflammatory for a month. When she takes the meds, I see no issues. When she doesn't take them she starts limping again. They thought a soft tissue injury.
My vet has referred us to a specialist vet for their ortho dept. Here's the rub: my mother had a boxer who had a stroke, she took her there for a visit and they did a million tests which cost a lot of money and still didn't find an answer. So now that's in my head. My girl really doesn't like the vet's office to begin with (she doesn't like being forced this way and that)-so I know any tests will be traumatic for her as well.
If this were your dog, would you just continue to medicate her or pursue finding out what the issue really is?
I would continue the medication while trying to find the underlying reason for the limping. It's hard to see this in our babies. I have a German Shepard who is almost 12. Every time she slips or takes a while to get up I worry that she's beginning to get hip dysplasia. I hope you find an answer soon!
'It is today we must create the world of the future.' Eleanor Roosevelt
You are with her all the time, so do you have a sense of the problem? Does it seem like a joint issue? Does it seem something different (i.e. internal, neurologic, etc.) In either case, I strongly prefer to try my own treatments whenever possible. I'm no crazy fanatic type, but I'm skeptical of the medical industry (after all, that is what they are), veterinary included. It's not to say individual vets are "evil", but let's be honest--they have rent, paychecks to pay, utilities.
Anyway, if it were a joint issue, I'd go my own route. Namely, glucosamine/chondroitin pills mixed into food. The good thing about dogs--there is no placebo effect. Either something works, or it doesn't. My dog (9 now) had terrible pain maybe 4-5 years ago, seemingly in her hips... where she would YELP! often when getting up. I took her to the vet, who offered surgery as a replacement. One was a hip replacement (if I recall, a few grand). The other was a procedure that kills the nerve ending in the hip. I opted for the latter (I think it was "only" two grand?)
Anyway, long story short--the day of the surgery, the doctor couldn't make it and had to cancel. Instead of rescheduling, I tried her on glucosamine/chondroitin (from the local vitamin store) mixed in her food. Five years later, she doesn't yelp anymore (but will anytime I stop) and is as spry as I would hope her to be.
I would work to find out what the issue is, but shop around different vets/specialists first. One of our dogs had cancer recently, and we went to several different places for a consult before committing to one. We ended up at an AMAZING specialist that didn't do what seemed like unnecessary tests and was understanding of our budget limitations. They were very open about what they were doing and why. We loved them. If we had gone with the first vet, our dog would have had unnecessary and very risky surgery. I'm very very skeptical of vets as well, but there are some great ones out there.
My mom's 1 year old dog had a limp and it turned out to be osteosarcoma. They amputated her leg, she went through months of chemo and lived happily as a 3-legged doggy for another 2 years. Then the cancer came back in her lungs and my mom had to put her down.
My mom never regretted paying all that money to treat her dog.
How well do you trust your vet? I had one that I really trusted & if she suggested something we did it. She's passed away now, & I'm careful about trusting the vet. We had one try to mislead us while they were looking for a replacement.