So we got you sesamoid disease. Happy 10th Birthday Tweed!
You all owe me a Big Fat Apology!! All your nagging, scolding and berating me for not keeping Tweed crated and it wouldn’t have made an iota of difference anyway!
Yeah, I know I asked for it, but I still demand an apology! ;-)
We went off the to vet on Tuesday as promised for what I was pretty sure was going to be me dropping a couple hundred dollars on x-rays and Dr. Bowra telling me that Tweed had another mysterious “soft tissue injury,” another round of anti-inflammatories and more crate rest. I got the last part right at least.
It turns out Tweed has something called Sesamoid Bone Disease. The sesamoid bones are teeny weeny itty bitty little bones around the toes in one’s foot. When there is trauma to the toe bones, it can damage the sesamoid bones like fractures, thickening or similar. It causes a condition similar to arthritis, limiting the mobility of the toes and causing quite a lot of pain for the dog. Ouch. Apparently it is not uncommon in horses and racing greyhounds – animals that run a lot. It’s also an affliction of the sport dog, say, one that does a lot of agility.
Fortunately for me, Dr. Bowra is one of the only veterinarians in Canada who is familiar with a procedure called sclerosing, a little trick he picked up from a veterinarian friend who is a Greyhound track vet. A chemical compound is injected into the afflicted toes (Tweed had two nasty toes) that builds up fibrous tissues around the toe bones, and kills off the nerve endings around the damaged sesamoids. The afflicted foot is casted for a week to keep everything immobilized while the chemical compound does its work. Then the cast is removed and the dog spends another week on absolute crate rest. Then one more week of short on leash walks and otherwise crated. At week three, he can start to run and I’m told by Dr. Bowra and a couple of owners who’ve had this procedure done to their dogs that after a day or two of limping, while the fibrous tissue build up breaks down and everything shifts back into place, Tweed should be completely back to normal, able to run, jump and play agility just like it never happened.
So you see, all the crate rest and Deramaxx in the world would not have helped. Last year Tweed (we thought, my old vet and I) dislocated one of his toes. At that time I had his foot x-rayed and we didn’t find anything, but he was better almost right away. He has occasionally had sudden onset lameness in that foot which always went away immediately, but it was those pesty sesamoids (they must be related to Dexter) at work. A few weeks back when he had mildly injured his OPPOSITE leg, he was probably putting extra weight on that right foot and damaged the sesamoid bones for good, hence the sudden onset serious limping, and why the Deramaxx cleared up the left leg limp but not the right.
“If you want to run him in Regionals in Abbotsford in June,” said Dr. Bowra, “I suggest taking care of this now.”
(as an aside, I can’t tell you how impressed I was that Dr. Bowra not only knew when and where Regionals were, but also assumed we’d be at them!)
I am grateful that they were kind enough to let me stay with him through the whole procedure, and I tried REALLY hard not to be that panicky, annoying owner – you know the one – but I couldn’t stop myself from asking 3 or 4 times “Are you sure he’s still breathing??” He looked so out of it :( My old vet did not invite owners back for surgical procedures, so the only time I’ve seen dogs that zonked is when I was euthanizing them (like Briggs, or foster dogs that were too broken to safely place).
There was a team of visiting veterinary technician students who were lucky enough to watch a procedure they won’t see many vets do, and I ALSO could not help telling them that Tweed is actually a very handsome dog … when he doesn’t look like this:
He’s now safely casted and ensconced in Dexter’s crate, where he is moaning and crying – partly because his foot really hurts, and partly because he doesn’t like being in there. But after $600.10 to fix his foot (ouch – I am also in pain!) no amount of moaning is going to convince me to let him out before the Doc says he can come out!
There will be a noticeable absence of Tweed photos for the next 3 weeks, for obvious reasons. There may also be an absence of Piper photos because I can’t get her to stop staring at Tweed. You see, they do this nifty thing where they affix half of a tennis ball at the bottom of the cast to keep the toes dry and give the dog something to walk on. It’s peeking out of the bottom of the cast, and Piper thinks Tweed is hoarding a tennis ball, and she wants it!!
Poor, poor Tweed. I gave him the worst birthday present ever :( I can’t even afford to buy him his annual birthday cake because I gave Dr. Bowra all my money. This will be the first birthday since the inception of this blog that isn’t celebrated with photographic documentation of a doggie cake for Tweed.