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> Shetland Collie And Degenerative Arthritis Of The Wrist
Lucy8
post 30th Jan 2018, 10:02 am
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A friend of mine has been trying to find out information for a five-year old Shetland Collie who developed a limp in his right front leg just before Christmas. The vet prescribed anti-inflammatories and complete rest, which made no difference to him at all. He went back for x-rays and he apparently has degenerative arthritis of the wrist. The vet said this is becoming increasingly common in Shelties. He is on 3 Tramadol daily and this seems like an awful lot for such a small dog. The vet said, if she were in this position with any of her own dogs, she would not have the operation as it would involve fusing the wrist. She is referring the dog to a specialist orthopaedic vet. There is a possibility that he can 'scope' the joint to find out if the pain is perhaps being worsened by loose material which can be removed and then follow up with physiotherapy.

I just wondered if anybody has come across this before, especially with regards to Shelties, if it is really as common as the vet suggests, since we have not been able to find anything on Sheltie forums.
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doggroomer
post 30th Jan 2018, 10:58 am
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I don't know about this condition in dogs, but I do know they do this procedure with human knees, as they recommended it for my arthritic knees years ago. I didn't have it done though, so don't know how successful it is.

I have a friend who's had Shelties for many years, and has never had one with this problem.

Hope your friend's dog can have some good treatment to become more mobile..

Chris
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ceri1
post 30th Jan 2018, 9:48 pm
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Recommended caninearthritis.co.uk website.
Always worth getting a specialist opinion if possible but tbh if the choices are do nothing or fuse, fuse will be a lot less painful in future.
3 tramadol means nothing, it comes in various sizes!
Saw a vet discussion about similar in rough collies recently, but not shelties..

This post has been edited by ceri1: 30th Jan 2018, 9:49 pm
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Lucy8
post 31st Jan 2018, 6:33 am
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Thank you, I will check it out. And good point about the Tremadol
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Dalsmum
post 31st Jan 2018, 10:18 am
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I used to know someone with a border collie with that. He was treated for a shoulder problem until she went to a different vet who immediately diagnosed a wrist problem, not a shoulder problem.

She had the joint fused and he had no further trouble.
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ebd
post 31st Jan 2018, 2:06 pm
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Lucy, does the sheltie have hyperextension of the carpal joint? As in, the dog 'wrist' has sunk, almost touches the floor when he walks? This is what often happens in cases of degenerative arthritis in the wrist (carpal) joint.

If that is the case, one option - or at least an interim step before surgery to fuse the joint (arthrodesis) - might be a carpal brace:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtoHmkL6dD0

(Grabby wore a brace that was similar, although not so 'robust' as by that time he was elderly, not so active. These braces re made to measure for the individual.)

Sadly, progressive, degenerative hyperextension of the joint is seen in collies and shelties. I've seen it far more often in collies, of my shelties only Grabby was affected, and that first about age 15. Your friend's sheltie is so young - I would research to all options to help this dog.

As an aside:

I have no hard facts, only anecdotes, but in my little corner(s) of the sheltie world the cases of degenerative hyperextension I know of seem to be more common in British/continental type shelties, less so in the American shelties. Again this is only among my circle, certainly not a representative sample. But interesting given the different bone structure of the two types. I couldn't find any hard research on the subject, though.

ETA: Interesting that the sheltie in the video looks to be the American type, which sort of blows my theory out of the water. ;-)

---

Quality of life is always first and foremost in any medical decision. Top of the QoL list is pain management, in all options your friend considers. I would strongly recommend seeing an orthopedic vet, preferably an intergrative practice to better round out the discussion of surgery, support, medical pain management options.

Here's a good write-up on canine carpal hyperextension, by the way:
https://www.fitzpatrickreferrals.co.uk/orth...hyperextension/

And more on carpal arthrodesis (joint fusion) surgery itself:
http://www.michigananimalhospital.com/page/490663702

This post has been edited by ebd: 31st Jan 2018, 2:08 pm
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ebd
post 31st Jan 2018, 3:10 pm
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A couple additional things to discuss with the vet:

Given that the sheltie is so young, has the possibility of Anarthron injections (pentosan polysulfate, I think called Cartrophen in the UK, not to be confused with the NSAID Carprofen) been discussed?

A UK friend had her dog (juvenile arthritis) on Cartrophen with good results, where other drugs did not help. My Grabby had the injections at around age 13-14. I saw some improvement, not earth shattering but when it comes to pain management any improvement is good. From what I read research is divided on efficacy, but at least a discussion with the vet as to whether it would be appropriate for your friend's dog might be worthwhile.

Also, thinking of pain management drugs, had the use of Gabapentin been discussed? Again, research is divided, as are anecdotes among my friends. Some have had good sucess, others felt there was little efficacy.

But again - all options are worth discussing, even if just as an interim measure as your friend considers surgery.


I really hope this poor soul can be helped.
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Lucy8
post 31st Jan 2018, 9:20 pm
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Thank you so much. The referral to the orthopaedic vet is not until the end of feb, so the only plus side of that is plenty of time to read up and get lists of questions together.
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ebd
post 1st Feb 2018, 12:05 am
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Lucy, here is a video that might be of interest to your friend.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-dKEfU7R_U

(It's in German but since there are only titles, no speech, it's easily understood. I'll translate the gist.)

This is an Aussie who had the fusion surgery (due to injury, not degenerative arthritis) in May of 2011, the video is was made in Nov 2012. Yes, the rehab period is a long one.

The surgery was done on the right front leg/paw.

The first segment shows the dog walking, then again in slow motion.
The second shows the dog trotting, then again in slow motion.
The third shows the dog galloping, then again in slow motion.

This gives you an idea of how the dog could walk after the fusion operation.

According to the text, the dog lived a normal life - she rans, played, swam, she could jump into the car, climb steep stairs. The only things she had to give up were high impact sports like Agility and Flyball.

As time went on, the owner did not see any deterioration.

(Sadly, the dog died some 5 years later, from leukemia.)


The owner kept a diary of the dog's recovery. It's a long document in German, but if you run it through one of the better translators like DeepL it's a more or less understandable read. Here: https://www.the-sky-is-the-limit.de/109.html

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Now the surgery was needed due to her injuries, she was otherwise a healthy dog. How, or if, your friend's sheltie would fare given that her disease is degenerative, as in, is it expected that other joints would be affected over time - this is a question for the specialist vets.

But be that as it may, I thought it might be interesting for your friend to see one possible outcome of the fusion surgery.

This post has been edited by ebd: 1st Feb 2018, 12:14 am
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ceri1
post 1st Feb 2018, 9:29 am
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Ebd has wonderful advice! Cartrophen is a great suggestion. Tramadol is a bit out of fashion these days for various reasons, gabapentin /pregablin and amantadine may be better options, as well as an Nsaid for anti inflammatory effect.
Other stuff like laser therapy, heat, physio/hydro and most importantly keep it slim and very important too...
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ebd
post 5th Feb 2018, 2:03 pm
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A chat with our physiotherapist today made me think of this thread.

We were discussing Nora's dewclaws, and the physio commented that these days dewclaw removal may be suspected of playing a larger part in the development of arthritis in the wrist joint (chronic carpal arthritis) than had been previously thought.

I'd never heard of this, so he told me to look up Dr. Chris Zink, an Canadian vet (now at Johns Hopkins University in the US) who works with performance dogs.

Some quick googling brought up these short for-the-lay-person articles:
http://www.secrethavenkennel.com/resources...Explanation.pdf
http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/documents/dewclaws-injury.pdf
https://barkpost.com/what-dew-claws-do/

If I understand correctly, the gist of Dr Zink's theory is that there are 5 tendons, and thus muscles, attached to the dewclaw. Those muscles have a function, to prevent torque on the leg. If the dewclaw has been cut, those muscles could atrophy from under use, possibly causing the leg to twist when cantering or galloping. The result of that additional pressure can be carpal arthritis.

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Now - I understand that the theory tying dewclaw removal to carpal arthritis is controversial, some orthopedic vets dismiss the idea.

But Lucy's mention in her OP that her vet has seen a rise in degenerative arthritis of the wrist joint in shelties is interesting. These days it seems that sheltie breeders are removing dewclaws automatically 'so that the claw doesn't catch and rip when you brush that long coat.'

An interesting theory, at least likely worth looking into further. I'll try to find some scientific papers on the subject.

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The other reason my visit today reminded me of this thread is to underscore Ceri1's point above that Lucy's friend would probably want to research whether any of the other therapeutic options might be of help.

Jester does hydrotherapy on the underwater treadmill to work on his gait.
Nora has laser therapy on her shoulder.
They both get physio massage, and the physio sets us up with exercises tailored to each dog's issues.

The things we do in physio are both to ease symptoms and to try to prevent further deterioration. (Not degenerative arthritis... yet.)

I'm pleased with the progress we have seen in both Jester and Nora via physiotherapy, and would recommend at least a primary consultation.

And if the sheltie's owner decides to go for surgery, of course she should research post op physiotherapy to aid recovery.

---

Again, wishing the sheltie all the best, keeping our paws and dewclaws wink.gif crossed.

This post has been edited by ebd: 5th Feb 2018, 2:04 pm
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