Pulled muscle, or worse?

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GusBus
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Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby GusBus » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:41 pm

A few weeks ago Gus was running up the stairs and when he got to the the hallway at the top we heard a whimper, so we ran up to see what was wrong and he wouldn't put his weight on his back left leg. We rubbed it, and moved it around to make sure it was nothing serious and he seemed perfectly fine after that. Well since then we've been keeping everything low key and limiting his movement and running, but occasionally he would still favor it. Usually if he had been sleeping or not moving then got up quickly, again we would just rub it and move it around and he would be fine after. About an hour ago we were playing outside and he ran quickly towards us and stopped abruptly right in front of us, as he did he let out a huge whimper and would not put any weight on his back left leg. We rubbed it and moved it around to make sure any motion or squeezing wasnt hurting, and he seemed fine, but still is limping on it. He doesnt seem like he is in serious pain or anything, but it definitely bugs him to walk on it.

So basically I'm hoping for some advice from some experienced owners. Does this sound like a pulled muscle or worse? What would you suggest we do to help him out? Ice and heat? Should we be thinking about x-rays? Money is tight right now so we are hoping its nothing too serious, we're going to look into insurance today because i swear he is always hurting himself, and if he does end up needing x-rays hopefully it will cover it. Ugh i need a break from my crazy animals hurting themselves or getting sick! :crybaby:

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mtlu
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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby mtlu » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:57 pm

It could be a pulled muscle (fingers crossed for you). Did you check his whole foot, paw pad and in between each toe on that leg? When Molly first came up limping, I checked her her whole foot really thoroughly at first as that can cause limping too.

Molly's limping did lead to a partially torn ACL diagnosis – I hate to freak you out but that's what happened with us. She never whimpered but she did have a couple episodes of hiding and shivering before we brought her in to the vet (the shivering especially can be a sign of pain). The hiding and shivering thing happened twice late in the evening and it was a hard to put it together since it occurred many hours apart from her exercise time.

Talk to your vet and maybe get a referral for a specialist and skip the vet visit. We did go to our vet first and paid for initial round of x-rays (but I had her hips and elbows done at the same time in case there were any other structure issues) and we still had to go to a specialist to get a firm diagnosis (and two more x-rays). If money is tight, it may help you to go straight to an orthopedic specialist.

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Leslie H
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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby Leslie H » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:58 pm

Unfortunately, particularly since you're talking about several weeks, I would lean towards it being something more than a pulled muscle. I would restrict his exersize(sp) and follow mtlu's advice about the vet visit. Sorry.

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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby pblove » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:11 pm

Leslie H wrote:Unfortunately, particularly since you're talking about several weeks, I would lean towards it being something more than a pulled muscle. I would restrict his exersize(sp) and follow mtlu's advice about the vet visit. Sorry.


I agree with mtlu and Leslie H suggestions
I would def suspect a cruciate issue, but I hope it is only something minor.

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GusBus
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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby GusBus » Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:40 am

I checked everything very thoroughly - his whole foot, between the pads, moved each toe. Pulled his leg up and down, then back and forward. Squeezed everything and nothing. He is acting perfectly fine now, he's even trying to run around and play. Of course we're not letting him, and i will probably keep him leashed for a while so I can limit his activity. It looks like the inside of his leg and his hip area may be a little swollen, but that might just be because I am looking for it. I have never really compared the muscle mass on each leg, so maybe its always like that?

mtlu - if you dont mind me asking, how much were the xrays? I'd love to have his hips and elbows xrayed just so I know. Does he need to be a certain age before he has that done?

If/when we get xrays and if it is a cruciate issue or partial tear, what happens from there? Is it a possibility to get pet insurance now and have it cover it?

Ugh i swear I'm going to die 5 years earlier from all the stress of worrying about my animals and neither of them have even hit the age of 2 yet. Is there anything else i should be doing in the meantime besides limiting his activity?

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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby Red » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:11 am

Ugh, I hope Gus did not rupture his cruciate. In that case he will need a surgery to both stabilize the joint and prevent degenerative changes.Not sure about the insurance, since most do not cover pre existing conditions. Do you know any orthopedic specialist in your area? If not I can suggest one in Glendale, for a consult.

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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby mtlu » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:21 am

Not all pet insurance plans cover cruciate tear injuries and I think the ones that do require being signed on for 6-12 months before being eligible. We raided our savings account for Molly's surgery.

Since you ask about muscle mass, one of the other indications we had was that Molly's left thigh/haunch muscles (above the knee and on the outside of the leg) were smaller and it was her left knee that needed repair. Both our vet and the orthopedic specialist seemed to think that her knee could have been injured quite some time ago and since it wasn't a complete rupture but a partial tear, the muscle wasting on the left side probably happened gradually as the knee degraded.

I don't know what the symptoms are when the cruciate ligament is blown in one incident but I believe others here have experienced that and hopefully they can chime in.

I'm in SF and see that you're in OC so I imagine our vet costs will be similar. 8 rads were taken under sedation by our regular vet and the total cost was a little over $550. By shelter guesstimate, she is about 3yrs old now and the x-rays were taken at the end of June. Her condition was such that we immediately stopped any off leash activity and shortened her her daily walks and limited her use of stairs (there are 16 steps going down to the backyard). We started using glucosamine/msm supplements (human kind from Costco) and our regular vet prescribed metacam (anti-inflammatory) during the initial wait and see period when he wasn't able to detect a drawer sign.

The orthopedic specialist cost just under $300 for the consult and 2 rads that were taken without sedation. The ortho specialist we went to is really good and this is why I say if money is tight (and Gus needs surgery before insurance kicks in), find the best orthopedic specialist you can and skip the other stuff. The ortho specialist who did our consult quoted us $4700 for TPLO on one knee. We were able to find another surgeon who is just as reputable who did it for less than that but it was still a big hit.

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Red
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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby Red » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:10 am

I don't know what the symptoms are when the cruciate ligament is blown in one incident but I believe others here have experienced that and hopefully they can chime in.


In my case Ice suddenly started to avoid to put weight on her right rear leg. Since it did not solve in a couple of days and she started to carry her leg in a partial bent position (which is a symptoms of a knee problem) I took her to take xrays. It is possible that she partially ruptured her cruciate weeks before, but all I noticed was some limping one day, and she returned to using her leg the following day. I have no clue of what caused it in the beginning but I don't exclude that Tux ram her on the leg during play time.Body slamming is part of his play style.

GusBus, I went to one of my regular vets to take x rays (1 set only I believe) and had him put the imagines on a CD and then took them to a specialist. No sedation required, the vet could do what he needed to do without it. Ice is exceptionally good when it comes to that.The orthopedic specialist manipulated the knee and looked at the dog but the x rays were pretty clear.I was quoted $5000 but it ended up being $4000, plus two follow up visits in which x rays were taken to see how the bones were healing.I have all the paperwork from the surgery if you'd like to have an idea on what went into the costs at the clinic I used.

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GusBus
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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby GusBus » Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:52 pm

Well this morning, Gus is acting completely normal. The neighbors just adopted a new dog so he is all hyped because it keeps barking. Before we could leash him he had a case of zoomies up/down the stairs and through the hallway. I had to jump in front of him and grab him to stop him. And he is not favoring that leg going up stairs and will even use it to step himself up onto the couch.

It's just crazy because now he seems perfectly fine - did that happen with your dogs?

We dont have a regular vet - we just moved and then he had his surgery, but it was after hours so it was at urgent care. My Bf's step sister used to work at an animal hospital/hotel and Gus stayed there for a couple days of recovery so maybe the vet there could refer us to a specialist where we could get xrays done and go from there.

Val- where was the clinic you used and where you happy with them?

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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby pblove » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:29 pm

[quote="GusBus"].

It's just crazy because now he seems perfectly fine - did that happen with your dogs?
quote]
a yes that did happen with my dog off and on initially , but those times became fewer and fewer unitl surgery was a must
MY dog was walking to the barn with me, we were on unlevel ground, he slid a tiny bit and yelped, that was what started his cruciate issues.

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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby mtlu » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:41 pm

Yes, the lameness was intermittent so do be careful with him until you can figure out what's up with his leg. If it is a partial tear, there will definitely be days when he seems fine. Molly would always use both legs going up the stairs but going down the stairs is when she would pick her left leg every so often. Even with going up stairs, it takes a lot of ridiculously close observation to see the differences between the left foot/leg placement and right foot/leg placement and noticing when the muscles flex and thrust to try to detect if there is an issue. Someone that's been schooled on what to look for could probably see it right away.

Look for which leg he leans on even on days he is fine. During the period when I was researching/going through options and we had her on short leashed walks only, her muscle mass on the left side did improve (after about 4 weeks I think). I started doing a test with her though: when she was standing up on all fours, I would kneel behind her and slip a finger beneath both back heel pads. To the unpracticed eye like mine, she looked perfectly fine standing on all fours but there was a gap and very little downward pressure from her left rear heel pad which was the affected knee and I could feel that the right leg was doing all the weight bearing by comparison.

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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby elegy » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:20 pm

I think it's pretty common for lameness to come and go, especially when the dog is hyped or stressed. Luce was never once lame at the vet's office, even when I was there dropping her off for knee surgery. Too much stress and adrenaline, I think.

With her first knee especially, her lameness was intermittent. It was really kind of frustrating. She's broken, she's not broken. She needs surgery, she doesn't need surgery. I'd crate rest her, she'd be fine, as soon as I'd start allowing her any significant exercise, she'd be lame again. Finally I took her to a specialist and we decided to go ahead with surgery, and her ligament was 75% torn.

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GusBus
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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby GusBus » Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:08 pm

I hate that I even have to ask this, but since there is absolutely no way we can afford surgery right now, what precautions do you guys suggest to help the situation not to degrade any further in the meantime?

I'm unemployed, so its easy for me to limit his activity, but that is also the reason we cant afford major vet care. We are leashing him and not letting him run around on it. He is getting a few short walks throughout the day ( by short, how far do you recommend?) I know mtlu suggested glucosamine supplements, would it be good to get him started on that? Should we be applying heat or ice?

I feel so horrible that I cant afford to take the best care of him, but we are doing all that we can. I am setting up a strict budget, cutting expenses, trying to organize a garage sale and what can go on craigslist so we can get the money to take him in for x-rays and figure out the treatment and cost from there. Do they offer financial assistance for surgeries like this? I'm going to contact the rescue group we got him from and see if they can offer any assistance.

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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby Ilovethepits » Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:35 pm

There is a sticky up above in Health Issues that has some resources for financial aid for vet care.

I hope you are able to get the answers you need.

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Re: Pulled muscle, or worse?

Postby mtlu » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:00 pm

Yes, go ahead and start the glucosamine supplements. They won't hurt him and even though every vet I have asked cannot verify the efficacy of glucosamine supplements, a few of them do give it to their own dogs. I have never used ice (and I personally would not recommend heat for any suspected inflammation).

Just use common sense with not letting him run up and down stairs and stick to short leashed walks. We cut Molly's walks down to 20 minutes only, walking on dirt whenever possible. She adjusted surprisingly well given she used to get minimum 2.5 hrs a day with part of it being off leash running in a special spot.

There's no harm in calling a particular practice/specialist and asking how much they charge for a consult. The specialist we went to x-rayed both knees but I'm sure that they would understand if you only want to get one knee x-rayed for now.

I guess try not to get yourself too worried right now since you still don't know for sure what's wrong with his leg. It's great that you are home to monitor his activity so that's the good part but I totally understand the stress of being unemployed (been there before too :sad: ).

Hugs to you and Gus :hug:


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