As I mentioned last week Yoshi had to go to the vet for an XRay. At lunch time last Thursday we went in to get the results. The news could have been better, but it certainly could have been a lot worse.
He has a mild case of hip displasia. That isn’t the bad part. The XRay showed some bony growth on his spine. This is called spondylosis. This can occur near a joint that isn’t as strong as it should be. The body is attempting to make the joint more stable by making a bridge from one side of the join to another. The vet thinks that the hip displasia was brought on by Yoshi compensating due to pain in his back.
What does this all mean? Well, we must modify his exercise regime. We have to severly limit his retrieving (his absolute most favoritist game), and be careful about how long he runs. Swimming is good for him since it is no impact. He shouldn’t go on really long runs with Sue any more, but shorter ones are okay (half hour or less, and off leash is vital). It is also probably not a good idea to take him mountain biking anymore (unless it is a short ride). This make Sue and I sad since I love taking him riding, and Sue loves his company while running. Also, on long walks we need to take breaks every now and then to give him a rest.
We have also started him on supplements to help regenerate the cartilage in his joints. Glucosamine now gets sprinkled on his food every day. The first couple meals he was suspicious of the powder on his food, but now he rarely hesitates. 🙂 Also we have some anti-inflammatory meds to give him when he does over do it. We were advised to give them before heavy exercise, but on the advice of a physician (thanks Andy), we have decided to not do that. The reasoning is that pain is the bodies indication to slow down, and if we give him pain meds before exercise, he won’t slow down and will injure himself more. Someday thought he might have to go on anti-inflammatory meds on a daily basis.
We can’t reverse the damage that has been done, but we can limit the spread of it. Some time in the future we will take him back for another XRay to see how his disease has progressed. We most likely won’t do that until he starts showing more symptoms though.
One thing the vet mentioned is that she thought Yoshi hid his pain really well, which is completely opposite to Sue and I thinking he was a big wimp. Now Sue and I are really noticing every little noise he makes, and wonder if he is feeling pain or not (Yoshi makes all sorts of whines, groans, and growls on a very regular basis). I think that in time we will return to how we thought of him before, but right now this is in the foreground of our thoughts that we wonder if his idiosyncrasies are really something else.
Life will proceed at a modified pace, and I have no doubt that Yoshi will adapt. So will we. It is just sad because I am not ready for Yoshi to shows signs of aging (he is almost 6 now). I love him the way he is right now, and I am not prepared for him to change.