Cooper is an 8 year old Border collie cross, who has been a patient at our clinic for quite some time now. Towards the end of April, Cooper’s owner made an appointment at our clinic as Cooper was quite sore and not wanting to walk on his front left paw, especially after going for walks and runs.
After a chat with Cooper’s owner and an examination of Cooper’s leg, Dr Andrea found that Cooper’s carpus, the equivalent of the human wrist, was very swollen and very sore, as Cooper was very sensitive to his leg being touched. The possible causes of this swelling and pain were either some form of arthritis, a soft tissue injury, or an unlikely tumour. To help come to a more definitive diagnosis of Cooper’s problem, Dr Andrea wanted to carry out some x-rays. Cooper’s owner gave the consent and x-rays were carried out the next day under a general anaesthetic. Placing an animal under a general anaesthetic for x-rays allows us to carry out an in depth, pain-free assessment of the leg, and also allow for proper positioning of the leg to obtain clear and detailed x-ray images.
Once x-rays were completed and Cooper had recovered from his anaesthetic, Dr Andrea was able to analyse and interpret his x-rays. She suspected that Cooper had a condition called ‘erosive polyarthropathy’, as the x-rays showed that Cooper’s carpus joint was lacking cartilage and some of the outer surface of the bone. Erosive polyarthropathy is a form of arthritis, an inflammatory joint condition, where the patient’s cartilage is eroded away in one or more joints and caused by the patient’s immune system. Dr Andrea discussed these findings with Cooper’s owner and also discussed treatment. Cooper was first placed on some medication to help alleviate his bone infection. After two weeks another medication was introduced to help stop the immune response that causes this condition and that also helps to alleviate the inflammation in Cooper’s joint. After another two weeks on both medications, Cooper was to return to the clinic to reassess his condition.
Upon Cooper’s revisit at the end of May, Dr Andrea took an updated history from Cooper’s owner and re-examined Cooper and his leg. Cooper was doing much better at home as he was moving much more comfortably, and he also allowed Dr Andrea to fully examine his leg with no swelling seen and no pain! Due to the early detection and use of appropriate medications, Cooper’s erosive polyarthropathy, and its related lameness, pain and swelling, is now resolving! Cooper will need to continue on one of his medications for a little while longer to ensure all signs and symptoms are gone and the condition fully resolves, but he is certainly now a happy chappy compared to his troubled visit just one month ago!