Long story as short as possible, in addition to Bug being lame, Ike losing 20% of his body weight, and me dealing with some very serious personal upheavals, Irie’s left foreleg started showing external rotation aka “turn-out.”
I sent stacked photos of Irie at 5 mo, 1 week to Joanna and she had some helpful supplementing suggestions. I had the chiro adjust her and discovered her accessory carpal joint, above the stop pad, was locked laterally.
I imagined (because I was watching her like a HAWK) she limped on it one day shortly after reaching out to the chiro and Joanna. So, I had the chiro take a second look at it, she then had the PT look at it, who then suggested we make an appointment with the Rehab vet.
The vet ordered x-rays and we discovered that Irie’s left distal radius growth plate is closing prematurely.
Prematurely closing growth plate (above)
Open growth plate (above)
CRAP! What did this mean? The vet said it can be hereditary but it is more likely caused by a small trauma. With dogs that are dwarves, the growth plates are very fragile. This is why many breeders recommend waiting one year before allowing corgis to do stairs or jump off of things. I did try to limit Irie’ jumping off of things and do not allow her to go down stairs, however, she is a wild child and I cannot keep her in a bubble. At some point, some small trauma likely occurred.
The rehab vet said that surgery was a possibility in order to limit the impact on the elbow and consulted with one of her favorite surgeons. He does not do that surgery so she had me make an appointment with another surgeon she thinks highly of, Dr. Knapp at Angell.
I was prepared to be told surgery needed to happen ASAP and was sick to my stomach. I was sick at the idea of putting her through surgery and rehab and sick at the cost, both monetary and in terms of dreams. What would this mean? Did it mean I would not be able to do everything I dreamed of doing with Irie?
The consult was fabulous. The orthopedic vet was calm, knowledgeable and NOT a scaremonger! He is also not over eager to cut just to make something look “nice.” Dr. Knapp said that as long as her elbow looks the same as it does currently, and shows no sign of pain, there is no need to do surgery. If the ulna moves out of place then surgery would be necessary. To not do surgery would cause arthritis in that joint (the elbow), a notoriously difficult joint to rehab and one which carries 30% of the dog’s weight.
The best news was, as long as the angulation of her left foreleg does not change significantly, it will only be an aesthetic issue and she could still do agility and herding.
If the elbow does change and we do need to do an ulnar osteotomy (taking a small piece of bone out of the ulna so that it relieves the pressure and allows the leg to correct and grow straight), after the lengthy healing period and PT, she would be able to do agility and herding.
We will be doing our next set of x-rays next week. Please say a prayer to any gods that you believe in that nothing has changed in her elbow. She is going through a growth spurt, and is ravenous. If change is going to occur, it will occur now.