16 February 2009


Funny how syncope for myself just gets me irritated, but my dog being in pain worries me enough to keep me up at night. Watson came home from his walk last night and wouldn't come up the stairs. I went over to see where he was and he had stopped in the middle of the flight of stairs and refused to come up or go down. K carried him up the stairs as I'm giving him the third degree, "What did you do to the dog?" "Why won't he come up the stairs?" "Did he hurt himself?" and probably at least half a dozen others in the time it took him to walk up five stairs cradling my aging baby.

As a good EMT, I immediately assessed the patient. He wasn't bearing full weight on his right rear foot. He cried in pain when I touched his right hip. When laying down, I could take his leg through a full range of motion without apparent distress, but he still cried when I touched his hip. I strongly considered checking the internet to see whether I could give him any over the counter medication for pain, but ultimately decided to have him sleep the night and see how he felt in the morning.

This morning, he was not improved. When he got up to eat, he cried when putting weight on his leg. When he went outside, he walked tenderly, using his right leg as little as he could. I walked around the house with him so he could get downstairs without using the stairs and he curled up next to my chair, not even willing to go the extra 2 feet to lay on his pillow. I was worried he might have a soft tissue injury from a dislocation that he had been able to get back in place, or some loose ligaments in his joint that was allowing his hip to slip out of joint in some fashion. We had a vet appointment at noon.

Some of the early questioning by the tech involved ticks and I never really made the connection until the vet said she felt comfortable that this wasn't Lyme disease. Watson was very patient and easy-going during the exam, definitely reacting with pain when she got to his right hip and enjoying the gentle massage on the rest of his legs. After the exam, she decided it seemed like a soft tissue injury, possibly a bruise. Watson is crazy at times and will run around the corner from the yard onto the porch and lose his footing in the snow/ice, so this is entirely possible. He's now on a course of anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, with no walks, no outdoors (except leashed bathroom trips) and no stairs for 10 days. My hope is that this will be enough healing time for him because after this it is sedation, x-rays and the options get less pleasant.

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