Elbow Dysplasia Recovery Time???

Discussion in 'Labrador health' started by david052874, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. david052874

    david052874 Registered Users

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    Hi all...new member here.

    My dog Rocky had FCP in his right elbow and we had arthroscopic surgery about 5 weeks ago. He had a bunch of fragments in his elbow and was really limping bad when he went in. So about 2 weeks after the surgery we went in for a check up and my Dr thought that he should have been better by then. He was still limping pretty bad. So anyway....3 weeks later today (5 weeks total since surgery) he is still limping. It has definitely has got better but he is still limping. The other thing is that he avoids putting full weight on his right leg when standing. If I take him for a short walk he will put weight on it but if he stops to smell a bush or when he waiting to get fed he kind of leans on his left front leg. When stopped he also points his right foot (the one that was operated on) outward a bit. I am just wondering a few things and anyone with experience please reply....

    1. What is the normal recovery time on this surgery? My Dr made it sound like he would be almost sound after 2 weeks but would have to take it slow to recover. I was hoping that he would be somewhat normal (no limping or the weight bearing lameness) but that obviously hasn't happened. Have any of you seen something similar after surgery and it just took a while to get back to normal. I think his head bobbing is much better (maybe 70% back to normal), but he still bobs it at the end of the walk (10-15 min) and I am worried about him still not wanting to put a lot of weight on his leg. How long did they limp for?

    2. Did you all see any lameness like this (shifting the weight) after surgery? Or was your dog back to normal right away and just had a limp.

    3. If you had a similar case how long did it take to fully recover?

    4. He is also lethargic. I am guessing it is from some pain he has...he enjoys his walks but it seems like he is not the same guy he used to be....kind of like he knows he isn't 100% and is depressed. BUt when I take him on these walks sometimes you can see that he just wants it to end. Some days it may be like 5 min into the walk but last night it was like he just wanted to keep going. It is different every time. Any similar experiences?

    Personally I am just wondering now if there is something else he may have hurt like a tendon or ligament. I know it is getting better but it seems to me like he should be a lot better by now.....but maybe I am just too worries and these things take a lot of time.
     
  2. david052874

    david052874 Registered Users

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    I should have also probably stated that Rocky is 18 months old now as well.
     
  3. Jojo83

    Jojo83 Registered Users

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    Hi there @david052874 and welcome. So sorry to hear to hear of Rocky's FCP. My girl also had FCP of the right elbow at 8 months old, and the scans also showed an underlying small malformation of the elbow joint. She had full surgery to remove a large fragment rather than an arthroscopic procedure so I can't comment on differences in recovery time. I will though relate our recovery experience.

    Following surgery we were on complete crate rest for 2 weeks. We were allowed 3 x 3 minutes walk a day (for toileting and gentle walking) all taken on lead.
    At the two week point the stitches were removed and we were allowed to increase one of the walks by 30 seconds still onlead. We started hydrotherapy at the 3 week point to help aid rehabilitation and we increased another walk by 30 seconds. With guidance from our therapist we gradually increased each walk by 30 seconds at a time so at 5 weeks we were upto 3 x 4 minutes walks a day - nowhere close to your 10 - 15 minute walk. All walks still onlead.
    We had another set of x-rays at 8 weeks to check the elbow and received the all clear from both the vet and more importantly our orthopaedic surgeon that the elbow was looking good, with no signs of arthritis which were there in our first x-rays, so we could continue with our slow build up of exercise but now allow some offlead as long as we didn't allow excessive running, running after balls, jumping etc. Again with the advice of our therapist we started building our walks back to normal focusing on our normal 2 walks a day rather than 3 and increased each walk by 30 seconds every 4 days or so as long as there was no reaction (increased limping or soreness).
    It took us to 12 weeks before we reached a 15 minute walk and a further 4 weeks before we had reached the stage where we could walk offlead for the entire walk and join our weekly walks with other dogs all be it sometimes with our hearts in our mouths seeing her running and chasing around. Her first bum tuck around the garden had me holding my breath in horror and then relief.

    I'm not sure when her limp really disappeared - it's just something that gradually faded and the hydrotherapy helped to rebuild muscles through exercise: she also had a lovely massage before and after the exercise which helped to loosen tension in the muscles. We experienced one return of the limp at the 6 month mark and went straight back to restricted exercise of 2 x 15 minute lead walks for a week then building exercise back up over a couple of weeks. Fortunately we've had no recurrence and we are 2yrs+ post surgery. Her gait is slightly off sometimes when exercising which we believe is due to the malformation and she often lifts her right paw when sniffing on walks, but it doesn't prevent her enjoying life, exercise and mad bum tucks around the garden. We still closely monitor her exercise and if we have a longer than normal walk we will reduce other walks to counterbalance. We also add salmon oil and joint supplements to her diet.

    Does your vet plan to take another series of x-rays to check the elbow? I think it would be good to make an appointment and discuss Rocky's recovery and perhaps think about some hydrotherapy to aid recovery. Also I do believe that you need to discuss the exercise levels with the vet or therapist as from other threads on the forum, and personal experience, it seems that recovery has been a slow process of gradually rebuilding over many weeks/months.

    I'm sure others members who have experienced ED will also be along soon and give you their experiences.
     
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  4. david052874

    david052874 Registered Users

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    Thanks for the reply. The initial x-rays didn't show any fragments but I think they noticed the coronoid was chipped. Initially we did x-rays of both shoulders and elbows. Then we went in for FCP surgery. He went in on both but he said really the bad one was his right elbow.

    Post surgery we actually had an MRI done of his elbow and shoulder on his right side. I wanted to make sure he didn't have any OCD or underlying shoulder injury. It cam back pretty good on the shoulder but they did see some inflammation in the elbow still and a little in the shoulder.

    Did your dog show any significant weight bearing lameness before and after the surgery? Or was it just the limp but when she was standing or mellow everything seemed fine?

    I will check on the exercises length but I am following what my vet told me. Last week I even asked him again if I should tone it back a bit and he said that what I am doing is OK. He said that the movement for those 10-15 min walks will help his muscles recover and build some strength and break down any scar tissue. But I will double check again. I also have a call in as of yesterday to get him swimming with some hydrotherapy....waiting to hear back from them today.

    I am just thinking that he may have another issue like a torn muscle or ligament that we haven't seen yet. Another thing I notice is that if he walks at a slight incline the limp is much more noticeable....that makes me think it may be more muscle related as it is putting more weight on it....but I am not a doctor so I don't know exactly.
     
  5. Pilatelover

    Pilatelover Registered Users

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    Hi @david052874 firstly a very warm welcome to the forum from me and my girl Mabel.

    My girl has severe ED, next Wednesday will be a year since her surgery and she still has days when she limps and we have to cut exercise right back although on the whole she is brilliant. At the moment it is 30 degrees in the shade and this is something we very rarely witness in the UK she is finding the heat very uncomfortable and is limping a lot so I've cut her walks down to a quarter of the normal length and playing a lot of brain games.

    The one thing that struck me after Mabel's surgery was the sheer length of time it took her to recover, although I was warned of this by the specialist it still caught me unawares. My main advice to you is to follow the guidelines given to you by your specialist as I have learnt that ED effects each dog to differently. Also don't be afraid to get a second opinion.

    Here is the link to Mabel's story, you may like a little read to see her progress and how I coped. Hopefully it will help you a little.

    https://thelabradorforum.com/threads/poor-mabel-more-surgery-required.15063/

    Good luck to you Rocky :)
     
  6. david052874

    david052874 Registered Users

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    Thanks for the replies...it has been another 2 weeks now and Rocky is still limping pretty bad. I have another appointment tomorrow and am thinking about maybe seeing another ortho vet to take a look at Rocky. The thing is that his limping has never shown any signs of improvement at all. I have even toned back his walks to 1 walk per day and he is the same. We also took him swimming and the following day he actually seemed worse and was limping a bit more....and this was just like a few swims out and back.

    I am soon frustrated right now it is just killing me. I feel so bad for him and I just want him to get normal or some sense of normalcy so I can take him out even if it is for a walk. Every morning when I wake up I just hope that his limp is getting better.....but it never does. It is so frustrating not seeing any improvement day after day.

    Right after my previous post we ended up going to the vet and he gave him a shot in his elbow that he was hoping would make him feel better and suppress the limping.....but nothing happened. He stayed the same for the last 2 weeks. My vet said that shouldn't happen and that their may be another underlying issue somewhere.

    I guess I have a few more questions for any of you that have went through this.

    I know I kind of asked this before.....but just before surgery, Rocky avoided putting weight on his right leg and shifted it out when sitting/standing. He still does that now....not much has changed. It makes me believe that there is something else going on like maybe he has OCD in his shoulder or some fragments were left behind form his FCP surgery. Can you guys relate to this at all if your dog did the same thing....(1) did your dogs still avoid weight on the bad leg after surgery and if so for how long? I am almost 8 weeks in now and it hasn't changed. (2) if your dog pointed his toe outward prior to surgery, did that get better after surgery? I ask because Rocky still tilts his foot outward.

    And did you guys see any improvement from week to week? And how much? I think he got about 10% better from weeks 2-3 after the healing if the incisions were complete. But from that point on until today there is 0% improvement.

    I just don't know what to do....my vet said the day of surgery that he should be good in 2 weeks and expected a full recovery because he just had to basically remove the fragments. There wasn't much else done....and he is shocked as well that he is this bad today. I just don't know why Rocky is not getting better....it makes me think that he may have (1) more fragments in his elbow that were missed, (2) maybe a muscle/ligament injury as well, (3) OCD in his shoulder or a shoulder injury.

    (4) The other thing I wanted to ask is did your dog stretch a lot after surgery? My dog keeps stretching his front legs all the time. I don't know how that would help his elbow at all and that is why I am thinking maybe it is a muscle tear or sore shoulder joints as that would seem to make more sense. Another thing that he is doing more of is scratching his shoulders with his hind legs. He scratched both so that is why I am thinking something may have to do with his shoulders.

    I am going back tomorrow and they are going to joint tap his shoulder to see if that shows anything. I asked my vet about checking muscles/soft tissues as well with an ultrasound but it kind of sounded like he didn't want to do that....which I didn't understand. Maybe he is not that familiar with that stuff.....that is why I am thinking I need a second set of eyes to look at Rocky and may consult a new ortho vet. Something just isn't right about Rocky.

    When I flex his elbow he shows no pain at all.

    I don't know.....this is just so frustrating. It would be one thing if he was 8 or something and this happened as those are his golden years.....but to have this happen to him at 1 1/2 is really taking its toll on me. I am just crossing my fingers that we cross some hurdle in some way.
     
  7. leejane

    leejane Mum to the Mooster

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    Hi,
    Sorry you are going through this. My boy has moderate to severe bilateral ED as well as bilateral HD. We havent had surgery but controlled it through other methods.
    Dont be afraid to get a second opionion, I saw two ortho vets, i took a dislike to the atitude of the first one. My insurance paid out for both visits. Another interesting thing we did wasa gait analysis, two in fact, with a physio vet who specialisies in recuperaton and rehabilitation of joint problems. We see her every few weeks for hydro and acupuncture.

    One thing all my vets agreed on was swimming was a bad form of exercise for monty, they described it as giving the elbow far too much freedom to flick out and move much faster than on land, which could cause or exacerbate injury. Hydro on a treadmill is excellent, though.we do this monthly.
     
  8. david052874

    david052874 Registered Users

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    Well...I have an update. Also this may be someone here that has a dog that goes through ED surgery may want to read also.

    So it was 9 weeks since the initial surgeru and Rocky was still limping pretty bad. I decided to get a second opinion and after some CT scans on both elbows and shoulders they were able to see 2 more fragments in his elbow that was on the side that was causing the limp (and the elbow that was the bad one to begin with). So I spoke to my original surgeon and sent him the CT images and last Friday Rocky had another surgery. He called me after the surgery and told me that one of the chips was actually hiding under a ligament and was kind of stuck/pinned in there for whatever that means. But they were able to get them out and actually saved them in a glass tube for me to see.

    I took Rocky home.....so sad that the poor guy had to go through this again....but I think deep down he knows that we are trying to get him better. Anyway....he was in pain on Friday night from the surgery/meds/etc..... But Saturday morning came and me and my wife were blown away. His demeanor was totally different. He was happy again.....sore but happy. For months we could see that he was hurting all the time and laboring to walk. I think those fragments (and especially that one that was trapped around that ligament) were just constantly bothering him....maybe just constantly rubbing and irritating him with every movement. But when he woke up on Saturday morning we could tell that he was still hurting from the surgery incisions but that the "constant" pain he was feeling for the last couple months was gone.

    So he still has a mild limp but nothing like before Friday. We are hoping he just keeps getting better every day moving forward. He still flares his foot outward so we will see what happens with that as time goes on, but like I said we are only 3 days post surgery. And the important thing is I know that he has less pain and much, much less of a limp. So we will keep our fingers crossed and see what happens.

    All I know is that all my friends (and even my wife) thought I was crazy after the initial surgery when he didn't get better and I kept saying that "something is still not right...I know it." They thought that he just had permanent damage that was not reversible off the initial injury. But I knew deep down that something was not right and kept pressing for more MRIs and CT scans and 2nd opinions etc.....so just know that if you go through with this and your dog still isn't where you think he should be that maybe you should get a few more tests and a second opinion for sure. You never know. I have no clue how this is going to turn out for Rocky but I can tell he is doing a lot better and is a lot happier.

    Also that second opinion I went to mentioned that the scratching could be due to allergies so they started him on Benadryl and it seems to be helping. He is scratching much less. Maybe that irritation from the fragments caused some if it....but overall I am just so happy that my baby boy is getting better. I know we are a long way from where we want to be but I know that we are no longer stuck in the mud and we are moving forward.

    So thanks for all your replies and insight and I hope anyone that has a similar circumstance will benefit a bit by reading this if their dog doesn't come out of the surgery exactly right. Sometimes things may get missed or just taking another test can show something that may have inadvertently been missed.

    I don't fault anyone along the way....I am just glad we were persistent enough to keep going and not settle.

    dave
     
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  9. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    What a wonderful owner you are, Dave. Kudos to you for pushing for better for your boy, against the weight of opinion :)
     
  10. Cath

    Cath Registered Users

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    So glad Rocky is getting back to his normal self. You know your boy alright :)
     
  11. Ann Beirne

    Ann Beirne Registered Users

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  12. Ann Beirne

    Ann Beirne Registered Users

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    Hi There
    We have a x5 month old Labrador and he started limping at x16 weeks. He was put on medacam and rest for x1 week and that lameness disappeared. Limp returned again last week so another visit to the vet and injection of medacam and drops for a week. Vet suspects it’s his front right elbow so he’s in for a CT scan on Weds and if they see any fragments they’ll operate. I’m gutted but am hopeful they find the cause of the problem. I’m feeling reassured Harvey will be ok reading your post. It’s just so worrying.
     
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  13. asil

    asil Registered Users

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    Hi David,
    I see that this post was from a few years ago, however my 11 month old puppy seems to be going through the same thing! He got his elbow surgery almost 8 weeks ago and the limping has not improved. It makes me extremely sad and upset to see him limping constantly. He is not putting weight on his right paw and often turns his paw in as well. I just wanted to see how your dog is doing since his 2nd surgery and if your dog has stopped limping! I am very hopeful that one day I will wake up and my dog will no longer be limping. :(

    I am going back for an appointment next week but at this point I am becoming frustrated and thinking this limp will never go away (trying to be positive). Your story about your dog was good for me to read as I am trying to read as much as I can to understand what is going on with my puppy! Your story gives me hope! Any update you could provide would be much appreciated!

    H
     
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  14. Diana Maberry

    Diana Maberry Registered Users

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  15. Diana Maberry

    Diana Maberry Registered Users

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    This is my first post here. I see that your dog still has an occasional limp after a year. My pup just turned 3 and had left FCP surgery on Aril 12th. So it's been about 3 1/2 months. He has not limped at all since the day he came home from surgery. Tonight, he got up after resting for about 2-3 hours and had a slight limp. He walked a few steps and it was gone. Then he slept for about another hour and once again he had a slight limp that stopped after a few steps. This is the exact way he first limped when I took him in for xrays. Only after resting. The Ortho told us at two week check up and suture removal that he was doing great and we were to take two 15 minute walks a day and add a few minutes every 4 days not to exceed 30 minutes before his next check up on May 31st. So far he has done well on the walks with no limp. He has been in an xpen the first 2 1/2 weeks and seldom did anything other than rest when in there and crated at night. He said we could allow him a one room access at 3 weeks which we have done. Now I am wondering if we should not have done that. He isn't doing much but maybe walking around more. A couple times I saw him start to flip a toy and made him stop which he did. Wondering if this kind of limp is normal or I should be calling the Ortho. I know he doesn't see patients again until Friday as this was his in office day and then again on Friday and Sat. Or maybe I should wait a couple days. I just thought it was odd that he has not limped until today so it really frightened me to see him limp again. I hope your dog continues to do well. Are there still occasional limps since I see this post was from a while ago.
     
  16. Diana Maberry

    Diana Maberry Registered Users

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  17. Diana Maberry

    Diana Maberry Registered Users

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    Did Harvey end up having elbow surgery? Curious how he is doing since my boy had surgery in April.
     
  18. Diana Maberry

    Diana Maberry Registered Users

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  19. Diana Maberry

    Diana Maberry Registered Users

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    Asil, did you get the recheck yet. My boy had surgery April 12th and never limped even day after surgery. Now tonight May 7th he has limped 3 times after naps. I am concerned why. Did your boy always limp after surgery. Or did it start recently. We are not due back st Ortho until May 31st but thinking we should call and see him sooner. I don’t know if it is normal to have some limping after having none. One thing I just remembered is that he just finished the anti inflammatory they gave him two days ago. Wonder if that was keeping pain away. I hope you got some answers. I know I am feeling quite stressed tonight about this.
     
  20. asil

    asil Registered Users

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    Hi Diana,
    Sorry for my delayed response. My dog is still limping but the limping is not as bad as it had been before and after surgery. He seems to be getting better each day, however there are still days where he is limping more than others. We are continuing to give him his anti- inflammatory meds intermittently which seems to help, particularly on days where he may have been more active. He goes for a re-check again on July 12th so I’m hoping things continue to improve. My vet did tell us that it is 6-8 month healing process and it’s not alarming that he is still limping at times. There is hope for sure! I know at the beginning I was very stressed and crying every night! It’s so sad to see your baby in pain! I hope your pup is doing well and please give updates!! Hope this helps!
     

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