We went to see an orthopedics specialist at Eläinsairaala Aisti today. It was about 2 weeks ago when Una started to limp her left front leg after a long walk. The 3th toe was very painful then, but had improved a lot already. The vet examined Una and saw that she is sensitive on hard and irregular ground especially with the front legs. Orthopedic examination showed normal joints and range of movement in legs and neck.
Radiographs showed no evidence for fracture or degenerative joint disease in the phalangeal joints. However, the bones of the toes, metacarpal bones and distal radius of both front legs show generalized mottled structure. The vet said that this can be caused by food uptake (incomplete nutrients as for example with pure meat diet). Neoplasia or osteomyelitis are unlikely because these cause more clinical signs, such as pain or lameness.
Una’s treatment plan includes feeding Una normal food for adult dogs, ensuring an appropriate ratio of different nutrients. I’ll have to increase her exercise gradually, and let Una swim to increase muscle mass and to load the bones without high weightload. Pathological fracture is not very likely but can not be excluded, so I can’t let her jump or do extreme things. The body needs to get a chance to adapt to the increased load with slowly increased exercise. The trauma at the toe should heal in the next weeks.