We finally went to see the orthopedic specialist in town today, the same one who did Riddle's knee, about what we thought was a shoulder issue. She's been limping after exercise for a few months now, and resting with no exercise for multiple weeks different times hasn't made it better. So our regular vet thought seeing the specialist was in order.
After an exam, he thought it was actually her elbow, but he took x-rays to be sure. Sure enough, the x-rays showed roughening and thickening around the joint indicating damage. From that and her reaction (yelping and flinching) when the joint was manipulated a certain way, he thought it was from the ulna and radius growing unevenly. So too much movement is put on the ulna instead of the radius, wearing away the cartilage and causing pain. Jumping down off of things particularly exacerbates the problem, so she has what's often called "jump down syndrome". The technical term for her particular problem causer is "radioulnar step defects".
Thankfully he is very optimistic that we'll be able to resolve this without surgery. We're giving it 8 weeks to heal up or at least start healing. In that time, she's not to be jumping at all. So we'll be breaking out the ramps from her knee surgery. Of course that means she's going to have to be on leash for exercise... thankfully its warm enough we can still swim! She's also going to be getting laser therapy twice a week for three weeks, then once a week for the rest of the time. We will be doing range-of-motion exercises twice daily, and muscle building doggy pushups as well. The physical therapist also wants her to get neck massages twice daily, since she's tense around that area from the pain.
She's also being started on glucosamine, probably for life- right now I got her InClover's Connectin tablets, but we're seeing her regular vet on Tuesday and we'll see then if he wants something different. We may also do Adequan injections weekly, and possibly acupuncture. We'll have to wait and see what her normal vet thinks on Tuesday.
All in all I'm really overwhelmed and depressed. It seems like we just got used to the whole mast cell idea, and now we're hit with this. Keeping her constantly leashed is going to be tough for her, she's a wild child who likes to run and play hard. I don't mind doing all this for her, I'll do whatever it takes to keep her pain free, but its going to be hard on us all. I'm trying not to think of the money involved either... with all the therapy and things we'll be paying for, I think we're going to start having to find places to cut corners. Of course, she's always worth it.
I'll keep everyone updated on her progress, as usual. :P