Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No bad news...

...is good news, or so they say. I took Zac to my go-to ortho vet, Dr Betts in Cary. I have total, 100% trust in Dr Betts and i have to say he's about the only health professional, canine or human, that i can say that about. I have a healthy dose of "question everything" in me. :-) I've been taking dogs to Dr Betts for as long as i've had border collies, so about 15-16 years, and he's never given me any cause to doubt him. Why would he? He taught at NCSU forever and has had a private surgical practice the whole time i've known him. When Zac originally got hurt, Dr Betts is who i called but he was booked up so i saw one of his associates. Anyway, i was glad to get to finally see him on this problem.

After a really thorough exam and even a radiograph of the spine, the diagnosis is again "???". Zac doesn't have anything wrong with him orthopedically speaking. There was a tiny bit of resistence when Dr Betts would rotate Zac's pelvis, stretching his rear legs completely out, but just a bit, and the xray ruled out a spinal problem. Dr Betts said Zac's muscles are really well developed and even from side to side, and he couldn't find any problems at all. So again we're at a loss to explain Zac's skipping. Since he was a bit lame on his good side last week (couldn't find an explanation for that either), i'm going to rest him for a couple of weeks and then really get busy with stretching (i wasn't doing one of the stretches quite right) and physical therapy and see if maybe we can get this skip to go away. I also have him on doxycycline just in case the good side limp might be tick disease related. I do think the physical therapist i took him to a couple of weeks ago had the right idea, to put him in situations that could make him skip but do it in a controlled manner and maybe change his patterns. It'll drive us both crazy, but i'm going to hold off on working him for a good long rest too. I'm still waiting on Dr Betts to email me the final report but right now that's the plan. There is one more option if i decide i just can't stand it or the skip gets worse. There's a soft tissue specialist in Raleigh that Dr Betts said might be able to pinpoint exactly where the limp is coming from with some specialized equipment he has. So that's a possibility still. I did get an answer i liked to my question about the chances of Zac hurting himself on his good side because of favoring that right leg. Dr Betts said he didn't think it was something to worry about since Zac is so very muscular, both sides are even and he's so light on his feet. That's a relief.

So after almost a year of this, and two orthopedic vets, a sports medicine rehab vet, a holistic chiropractic vet and a physical therapist, it's still a mystery for Zac and me. Maybe i will be trying the sports med guy in Raleigh........

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Robin,
sorry to hear about the ongoing problems with Zac.
I know it is far away but..... I can highly recommend Dr Sherman Canapp in Baltimore. He is the one that diagnosed Ben and Jack correctly, after being misdiagnosed in Philadelphia. I've sent others to him and they have all been very happy. alot of herding dogs in this area go to him.His website is: http://www.vetsportsmedicine.com

I thought he was moving to a new office in the same area, maybe they haven't moved yet.

nancy O

Robin French said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I actually read an article by him recently on the iliopsoas muscle pull, which is what Zac was originally diagnosed with. I'll definitely keep him in mind but Raleigh is a lot closer and i think Canapp actually interned with John Sherman, who is the one Dr Betts recommended. I may give it a try out of curiousity though i'd think it'll still be hard to diagnose, even with all his cool toys, when Zac won't skip in a clinical setting. These dogs do like to keep us guessing, don't they?

Rebecca and Molly the Border Collie said...

I can definitely agree with the idea of having the good side get bad from favoring the bad side. My left hip hurts worst but my PT and my massage/chiropractor guy have both said that the right leg is way worse when they work on me. So I hurt in my "good" side from taking care of my bad side and it's so set in my that I don't even know the right side is bad. It's probably all related to a really nasty knee problem from years and years ago.

I hope Zac will soon be feeling better. Is it possible that he had an injury originally but is now skipping out of habit? Molly cut her paw as a pup and still does a 3-legged squat out of habit.

Robin French said...

I can sure sympathize with knee problems! Ankle problems too actually. Yes, Zac's original issue was definitely from an injury. I didn't see what happened, but one day he wasn't skipping and never had before, and the next he was skipping a lot.