Tank's page - Take 24/17/02 - We got some bad news last week from our vet. Tank has been suffering off and on for the last two months from what we all felt was Panosteitis. While he has not had any episodes of acute pain in over a month and a half, he still seemed a bit stiff in his movements. And he did tend to start limping rather easily if he was playing hard. He also had swelling on the knobs of his elbows, which had not really gotten any better. We took him in last week for X-rays of his elbows to get a better idea of exactly what was going on. His elbows were perfect, showing no signs of any abnormalities at all. The swelling was simply the body developing "padding" to protect the bones (the way a dog that sleeps on concrete will develop extra padding and even callouses on the elbows) and did not relate directly to the pain, stiffness, or his tendency to come up limping. That was the good news. The bad news was that he had rather significant OCD lesions in both his shoulders. Our vet believes that the onset of pain was the beginning of the OCD, and that the swelling on the elbows developed as a result of his adapting his behaviors (how he laid, slept, played, etc.) to try to protect the shoulders. The pain and stiffness were never from the elbows at all, but were a result of the developing OCD in his shoulders. The swelling of the elbows drew our attention there, but the real problems were in the shoulders. His right shoulder was pretty bad, in fact our vet said it was as bad as she had ever seen. The left shoulder is not as bad thank god, though it still may require surgery down the road. However, the right shoulder needed immediate surgery, and Tank went under the knife today. He came through the surgery just fine, and I will be bringing him home in a few hours. As usual our vet, Dr. Cary Heyward has been a real godsend (read more about Dr. Heyward and our girl Gracie here). It sounds odd to say that we are lucky, but we are in a way. OCD of the shoulder has the best chance for a full recovery, it responds well to treatment and his prognosis is good. In addition, we caught this early, which means the chance of his developing Osteoarthritis from this is low. OCD in other joints often will not respond well to any form of treatment, and left unchecked, OCD will eventually lead to Osteoarthritis, which is progressive and incurable.
For more info on OCD, Pano, Osteoarthritis, and other bone diseases check out these sites:http://www.acay.com.au/~dissi/elbow.htm
And for all sorts of Dane health info check out this site
6/1/02 - Tank is recovering well though he has not been the easiest patient. He gets so pent up being confined and restrained that he just bursts loose any chance he gets. At first we kept him on leash and completely separate from the other dogs. But after about 4 weeks, with the approval of our vet, we started to let him loose alone in the back yard. He would run like a wild man for a few minutes and then kind of calm down some. We kept a close eye on him during and after his free runs to see if he showed any signs of limping or discomfort. He never did. We also started letting him be with the other dogs in the house when we were there to watch over them and stop any rough play. The last week or so we have let him out back with the other dogs, but only when we can stand right there and prevent any rough play. He seems to be recovering very well, though his elbow swelling is, if any thing, worse than before.
We started Tank on a regimen of Cosequin and MSM as soon as he was home after surgery. We talked with out vet, who had experience with Cosequin and Adequan, and her recommendation was the Cosequin. She did not feel the Adequan would be much, if any, better and the higher costs were a real issue for us. Not that Cosequin is cheap mind you, but the Adequan would have been much more costly. We went with the Cosequin/MSM regimen to aid in healing of the surgery. We also are hoping it might aid in natural healing of the other shoulder, at least enough to avoid surgery on it. We will be keeping a close eye on that other shoulder, not only to see if we need to intervene surgically, but also to asses the efficacy of the Cosequin/MSM regimen. I have to say that I have doubts about Cosequin's ability to actually help heal damage. However it is worth a shot, and it does seem to help with the symptoms.
For more info on Cosequin and Adequan treatments check out the following sites:
7/31/02 - Tank has recovered well from his surgery now. The shoulder clearly is more limber, and he doesn't seem to be experiencing any stiffness or pain. However the other shoulder has not responded to the Cosequin and MSM regimen. He clearly has some discomfort and stiffness in that shoulder, and if we allow him to play much with the other dogs, or get too active, he will be limping the next day on that leg. So it seems that he will need surgery on that shoulder as well. He has really developed into a beautiful dog, he has such substance and such a beautiful head. It makes it all the more difficult to see him in such discomfort and so limited in regards to his activities. It also makes his inability to be shown all that much more painful. He has grown into quite the clown. He will simply not allow either my wife or I to be upset or angry. If we are, he will howl, growl, throw his toys at us, and generally clown it up until we get over it. He is a very sweet dog and has such a happy personality. He has not let his limitations put a damper on his spirit or his enjoyment of life. He loves to work with Carole on his obedience and training and is doing extremely well. If Carole had a bit more time to spend on it, he would easily be competing in obedience, and winning. I've added some more photos of him that were taken within the last week or so. In the background of one of them, you can see PJ our retired Greyhound and Connor a deaf Dane we have in rescue right now. I've also added a trio of shots at the bottom, one from this most recent set of photos, and the other from when I visited Tank at the breeders, just before I took him home with me, and the last is a photo the breeders sent me after he was old enough to start waddling around.
- We almost lost Tank this week. He suddenly got very sick. In 48 hours he
went from seemingly fine, to literally nearly dead. When we rushed him to
the vet's, he had no pulse, they could barely find his heartbeat, he was
limp and unresponsive, his body was like ice, and when they tried to draw
blood, they got this thick dark brownish black ooze. He did survive, though
it was a very close thing. It turns out Tank now has Addison's disease. This
is a disease that both people and dogs can get. Essentially his adrenal gland
has failed and it is not producing the hormones he needs to live. The good
news is it is treatable. I will update these pages in a month or two, to
let folks know how things turned out and give the full story. For now I will
just say that he is alive, and the prognosis is good. However his medication,
which he must be on for the rest of his life, is very expensive, between
$250 and $300 a month. On the bright side the medication completely controls
the condition, and he is as good as new now.
The following photos were taken beginning in
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