Ouch that Hurts
Chisleay is a regular visitor and we wrote about him back in 2014 when he came to see our Nurses at the weight club. He did tremendously well there and his lovely owners managed to get him back to the normal body condition you would expect for a dog of his breed.
More recently Chisleay has suffered from lameness affecting his right foreleg. This was a persistent lameness. When we examined him there was a pain response when we flexed and extended his elbow joint, with a palpable joint effusion (excess fluid surrounding the joint).
Chisleay had some xrays done of various front leg joints. The only pathology we could find related to the right elbow. The Radiographic images show the left elbow (on the left) and the right elbow on the right. If you compare them you can see new bone growing around the right elbow joint, at the top of the radius and elsewhere. Can you spot the differences; they are quite subtle. The new bone growing around the joint develops where the joint capsule fastens on. These little spurs of bone are called osteophytes. They arise as a consequence of longer standing inflammation inside the joint.
Chisleay has osteoarthritis. This can arise because of trauma or other injuries to the joint. In Chisleay’s case the elbow developed imperfectly and so he has some degree of elbow dysplasia. Also, as he was developing from being a puppy, the cartilage in the joint in some places didn’t develop into bone properly. So we also think he has defects affecting this. You can read about conditions like osteochondrosis and osteochondritis dissecans on the internet.
In cases like Chisleay’s we clearly need to manage the pain and inflammation. If we can’t do this satisfactorily with conservative treatment then at some future stage surgery may be an option (to clean out the joint and remove/curette damaged cartilage). But most of these cases manage really well with medication. In fact, even if Chisleay had surgery, we would still need to manage his arthritis.
The modern approach to osteo-arthritis management includes:
- Weight Management
- A regular and controlled exercise regime
- Supplements that help repair damage, improve the joint fluid and reduce inflammation
- Anti-inflammatory pain killers (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Other drugs to manage pain
- In some cases physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, laser treatment or other physical therapies
- Intra-articular treatments
- Medications like Cartrophen which modify the disease process in osteoarthritis
- Stem cell therapy
- providing comfortable sleeping/resting areas and aids to help very arthritis dogs to manage.
Chisleay really only has a minor problem that we think we will be able to manage really well. We will keep you updated with his progress.