Jeter: As every dog would tell you, I love going for walks and rides. I realize most dogs are like this, but I take it to another level. When my family goes on a ride without me, I become upset. I can anticipate when they are going out, and always assume I am going….
Alanis: I love walks and rides as well, but not to Jeter’s extreme. Walks are fun and all, but they require a lot of work for my diva self. I would rather be home playing with a tennis ball. As for rides, I love to lay down in the back seat more than anything – looking out windows is so cliche….
Jeter: Cliche is something you aren’t, girl. Anyway, during our walk on Tuesday, I came up a bit lame. Daddy was a good 5 minutes or so away from home, and I am a Golden Retriever, so good luck trying to carry me home. He simply walked me very slowly towards home. I was able to put weight on it, but couldn’t support my weight completely, so Daddy’s arm and shoulder had to take on some of the stress..
Alanis: It was scary! We were just walking at our usual pace around the usual neighborhood, and he just started limping, seemingly out of nowhere. I didn’t know if he stepped on an acorn, or legitimately hurt his leg or hip. Poor Jeter.
Jeter: After what seemed to be an eternity, I finally was able to walk into the house. I was hurting pretty badly, though (since I am a dog!), I was trying very hard not to show how badly I was hurting. Eventually, I just laid down on the floor.
Alanis: Jeter is many things, but lazy is not one of them! Jeter is usually very excited after walks – on that day, he just wanted to lay down and not be bothered….
Jeter: Daddy called the vet, and they were able to get me in on Wednesday afternoon. Mommy and Daddy would have to find a way to keep me calm over the next 24 hours.
Alanis: They discussed taking you to an emergency vet!
Jeter: Yes, they did – but I definitely wanted nothing to do with that. Last time I was there, it was because I was having a seizure. I am good at associating places with good vs. bad….I would have been a wreck going to the emergency vet!
Alanis: They decided to put up the dreaded gate by the stairs, which of course also limited MY ability get around. As the resident diva dog, I was not happy with that!
Jeter: When Mommy had to go upstairs to shower, I sat at the bottom of the stairs, looking up the steps. I sat (and stood) there for seemingly hours. I wasn’t going to move from that spot….
Alanis: It was quite funny for the humans to laugh at us because of our behavior. Wasn’t funny for us! We wanted (no, NEEDED!) to get up those stairs.
Jeter: Daddy eventually went out to the supermarket. When Mommy had to go upstairs again, I wanted nothing to do with that gate. After a while, the gate “mysteriously” fell, and I made my way up the stairs! Yay!
Alanis: Yay? You’re INJURED, dog! What the heck were you thinking about?
Jeter: I didn’t care – I was not staying downstairs without the human species!
Alanis: Why are we so attached to that species? Humans tend to be very weird.
Jeter: True, that. But we need them for food and water.
Alanis: Must be nice to have all that power…
Jeter: One day, Alanis. One day…
Jeter: Any way, as “luck” would have it, after those few hours of limping, I was suddenly OK again. I didn’t limp again the entire day or night.
Alanis: Obviously, a ploy so you wouldn’t have to go to the vet.
Jeter: Of course, but it didn’t work. Daddy decided I was going to the vet regardless 🙁
Alanis: I get jumpy when Daddy leaves with Jeter. I think Jeter is going on some sort of fun adventure!
Jeter: Fun adventure it is not. The vet’s office is the only place where I ever cry and whine.
Alanis: I don’t whine at the vet, but I bark a lot!
Jeter: In other words, just another day at the office for you. The vet took me in and gave me a thorough exam, from the basics down to an exam to test my joints. My behavior changed slightly when she did a particular movement with my leg. While you can’t really diagnose anything that way, she thinks I may have a little arthritis in my leg or hip….or perhaps have slightly torn a little cartilage or something to that effect. I had a little injury when I was a puppy, so maybe it is the same injury again? I don’t know.
Alanis: He didn’t even X-Rays or anything – at least not yet. They are taking a more passive approach.
Jeter: Yep, but unfortunately for me, the passive approach means no walks for at least two weeks. And I bet Daddy limits my walks for a while even after that time period is up. Cautious? No. Just mean!
Alanis: He is definitely the mean one, Jeter. He won’t allow my buddy to go for a walk with me because he is mean.
Jeter: You can say that, again. I run to the door when he takes you for a walk, only to realize I can’t go!
Alanis: The ultimate cruelty!
Jeter: It is OK, Alanis – I still am playing with you, as there is no way for them to stop me from EVERYTHING I like to do!
Me: True, that. Try to force a 60-pound bundle of extreme energy to take a chill for two weeks. Not easily done, but thankfully for us, Jeter is not the type of dog who typically plays when he is outside. He likes to take care of business and come into the house, unless I want to play ball with him. He also isn’t keen on sleeping on beds, which is limiting his jumping. When situations like this arise with a big dog, you just have to not force them to do things like run, play, fetch, jump, etc. Anything you can do to curtail the dog’s activity will help them heal, even if they can’t follow the vet’s instructions themselves! Be patient – don’t take the dog for a walk just because it seems they might be OK now. A dog is like any animal: They are not going to show you they are in pain unless there is no other option! Jeter is doing very well, but may actually still have some pain that he is not showing us. A wounded animal in the wild either gets eaten or the pack leaves them behind. Be aware of that, and don’t be fooled into thinking a dog who injured himself yesterday is suddenly fine today because they aren’t limping. It is a good sign, but it doesn’t mean they are back to full strength yet.
Sudden lameness could mean a physical injury to the area, though it is also possible the dog has an illness. Don’t take “illness” to automatically mean “terrible illness”, but they may not be feeling well, and it is affecting their ability to walk. Think about when you get a bad case of the flu: Is your first instinct to go on a 60-minute walk through the neighborhood? Thankfully, Jeter is not presenting with other signs of illness (vomiting, reluctance to eat or drink, lack of energy, etc.), so the injury is likely physical.
Just like with humans, getting a dog to the vet as soon as possible is recommended if something seems to be amiss. The chances for human recovery for any illness get better the quicker you see a physician. The same goes for a dog: If your pup strained a ligament, waiting to take him to the vet could lead to worse damage. As I always say in this blog, YOU KNOW YOUR DOG. You know what is normal for your dog, and if your pet is suddenly doing things that are abnormal, try to get it figured out as soon as possible. Your dog may whine and cry, but you will get some piece of mind.