From my understanding, a fused joint is somewhat different to arthritis.
Just over 3 1/2 years ago I was doing competitive obedience with my Lucky. Less than two months later he could not sit without falling over. After doing extensive tests and multiple x-rays, we were told that he had a small bony growth on his right front shoulder which was starting to fuse the joint, as well as a very large bony growth on his left hip which had almost completely fused the joint 'shut'. Because he also had a partially calcified knee on the same back leg, from an old injury, and had 3 compromised joints in total, even had I been able to afford it, he was not considered to be a good candidate for surgery. The recovery time and pain management levels were not in his favour.
All of his files were sent by our vets (without my knowledge ) to the veterinary school in the province and were reviewed by two of the top veterinary orthopaedic specialists / surgeons in Canada. They agreed completely with the diagnosis and treatment plan laid out by our own vets, which essentially was to keep him as comfortable as I could for as long as I could. The specialists could not believe that I had been competing with him in July (this was now September) because they had never seen a dog with this level of joint fusion that had not been incapacitated for at least a year or two! We were very fortunate that they did not charge a single penny for their consultations, and were told that he had been included in their teaching program.
He had some underlying health issues that we didn't know about at that time, which were completely exacerbated by his joint problems, and I lost him shortly thereafter. He weighed about 75 lbs, and like all my dogs was a registered Rough Collie. There was absolutely no history of anything like this at all, anywhere in his background for at least 15 or more generations, so it was not something deemed to be even remotely genetic. I know this for a fact, since he was one of my own breeding.
While he did do fairly well once we worked out exactly what pain medications and doses he managed best on, even without the other problems that ultimately caused his death, the best prognosis we were given was from 1 - 2 years, before there would most likely be no way to keep the pain at a liveable level for him.
I wish you good luck, and hopefully a better outcome than I had with my boy. He's the one in my profile pic.
Edited by: KATHYSCOLLIES at: 12/28/2011 (23:33)
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