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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy?

Savage has been limping very noticeably in the past week, to the point where he refuses to put any weight at all on his right front leg. At first I thought he had slipped on ice or fallen (though I had not seen him do so, and we've been relaxing at home for a few days because I've been sick with a cold). I waited for the limp to correct itself, but 4 days ago he began exhibiting a weird head-shaking behavior at least once a day. Though horrific for me to watch, the head shaking was not like a seizure, with Savvy completely aware, not drooling, eyes not dilated, etc. These episodes each lasted about a minute each and I "snapped him out of it" by offering him a treat - in two cases the treat was a Dorito (could this be the cure? LOL.) Then 2 days ago I took him for a short walk and about a minute into it, he started limping even worse, gave a few high-pitched whines, sat down in the snow, and wouldn't follow me further. That was enough to make me call his vet and make an appointment.
Yesterday we met with a vet at our regular clinic (not his normal doctor) and after moving his leg around, three x-rays, and lots of head-scratching and consulting with other vets, Savage was diagnosed with hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD). The new vet attributed the head-shaking to him just dealing with the pain, but I have researched this enough to believe that it may be something called "idiopathic head tremors", which is a condition most commonly affecting dobermans and english bulldogs. It seems that neurological diagnostic tests come out normal with idiopathic head tremors, and the affected dogs are otherwise healthy.
The HOD diagnosis scared me because I know some danes that struggled with this as very young puppies and went through incredible pain. Only when we were driving home did I remember Savvy's episode of panosteitis back in August. Because both diseases seem so similar to the lay-person (me) I'm almost inclined to think that this limping may just be a continuation of Savvy's pano, albeit more severe. In both cases, the diseases should resolve themselves in time, and the best I can do is let my boy rest and treat him with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. I was given Deramaxx at the clinic, but given the terrible possible side-effects I have not given Savage any yet. Both my vet tech cousin and my dane's breeder reccommended buffered aspirin (another NSAID) in very low doses and I think I will start him out on that with breakfast tomorrow. The side effects with aspirin appear to be almost the same as Deramaxx, but we will try aspirin first.
It's very difficult to be proactive with my dog's health without having the knowledge of different diseases, medications, etc. I'm hoping that these current health problems will eventually go away, and I will keep researching them and sharing my findings on the blog.
In the meantime, Savage is being his normal wonderful self, except for the lethargy and limping. He's very happy to be home after dealing with the nervousness of the vet's office. He did behave very well considering the strangers poking and prodding at him. The x-rays were difficult because he's so big and doesn't really fit comfortably on the table, and hates being held down against his will. I was very proud of him for being so willing to go through those things. In retaliation for those dreadful two hours he drooled all over absolutely every thing and everyone he possibly could.

1 Comment:

  1. Abbey said...
    Sorry Sav's doing it tough. I googled HOD & theres an overwhelming amount of info..Its awful when they are ill and your unsure which way to go....I'd do what your doing research the hell out of it and trust your instincts...

    will be sending you all positive vibes I have..lets us know how ya get on...love Abi & Chels

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