A while back, at some point the dog started favoring his back foot. By favoring I mean he was lifting it up and not walking on it. Toe-touching.
I couldn't find anything in his paw or leg that made him whimper or that looked like it would cause him to limp, such as a thorn or stone. He wouldn't go up or down the stairs unless I was there for a while, such as upstairs to sleep, or downstairs for the day. Mostly, he stayed on one of the platforms near the stairs where he could look out onto the first floor. This was a red flag because he is my shadow.
Eventually, when he kept the paw off the ground, leg tucked up to his belly, while standing in the house, not just walking around outside, we took him in to get checked out.
The vet needed to do X-Rays to be sure but he out right asked if the limping started out after a trip to a dog park. We said no, no dog parks recently, and Dr. Sean explained that knee problems like this one, which he was willing to bet money on that it was the knee and not the paw or leg, usually are injuries that happen at dog parks from over-extension.
The X-Rays showed very little, thank goodness. Dr Sean told us seeing that was a good sign because there wasn't much inflammation under the skin; the bones looked just fine. Unfortunately, the dog was freaking out by then and would have needed to have been put under to have a full knee manipulation, just to be sure. We forewent the extra work as surgery was a 90% necessity. I love our vet because even though our location is a hospital, he told us on the sly about another hospital that his friend works at...but we had to promise to come back to ours after, no switching teams. Our dog is too large for the surgeon at our location, this other vet only likes working on small dogs. So they would send us to their sister facility... and so we had a cost estimate for both places.
I also love Dr. Sean because he did tell us there was a slim possibility that pain meds and anti-inflammatory chews might help heal the knee if we can keep the dog from moving. Now, we tried to explain that he has to walk a mile before he poops, but hey, if it helps, we skip the walk and deal with the poop schedule.
As it turns out, whether on account of the pain or the pain killer, Tanner only walked down the street and back, no longer, no father, no deviation. Unfortunately, he did not find the chews edible, and so we have to push both the pills and the chew down his throat. He was a good sport about it and enjoyed the treat after each 12 hour dose.
I'd say it was about the two week mark, when his meds ran out, that he started running circles around the furniture in the house and wanting to walk longer and farther. We still took it slowly, he wasn't allowed to play with the dogs at our neighborhood park, we tried to walk shorter distances, at a slower pace for about a month.
He wasn't having any of it. But he also wasn't hurting. Fast forward to more recently, we had Tanner in for a nail clipping and they did a whole day's health and beauty for cheaper, so we took it. As part of it, they put him under sedation. I made sure the vet on call that morning knew to manipulate his leg to see if there was any improvement or worsening. Great news, it moved just fine!
Surprisingly, (although typing it I realize it shouldn't be) I
started gaining weight. Since first getting the dog, I hadn't lost any
weight. But now that I wasn't walking two miles a day, I was slowly
gaining. I say surprisingly because I didn't think it would have made a
difference. But then again, I started adding carbs into my diet so that
could be the extra calories that walking would have kept off.
Our life was put on hold while we focused on the dog, which took considerable time. Not only the slower walking but the worrying and trying to figure out what to do if surgery was necessary. And so my blogs went to the bottom of my priority list. Sincerest apologies, readers!
Thinking back, we realized his knee was probably injured when he was running around with his pal Odie. We were sitting in the grassy near old Buddy and Tanner ran over the pavement and skidded out. He had a brush burn on his inner thigh which I treated with antibiotic ointment. That may have been when he strained his knee. There were also all the times he ran up and down the stairs in the house when he could have done it. Or a combination of any of those and some unknowns.
But he is now better and we are moving on if a bit more cautiously.