Phoebe's case of arthritis

Phoebe had been reportedly lame on her right hind leg, for the past couple of weeks. Phoebe's owner Jacky, had taken her to a human physiotherapist, which seemed to help in the short term, but the lameness would not resolve. Her owner booked an appointment to see Dr Xinru for a second opinion.

On examination, Phoebe's right hock was swollen around the joint capsule and was painful on extension. No significant injuries, such as broken bones, were palpable. Phoebe was started on anti-inflammatory pain relief and was sent home with instructions of strict rest, with no off lead activity. She would need to revisit on completion of her medication.

Phoebe presented to our clinic a week later, still quite lame on her right hind leg and now also on her left side as well. On palpation, she was found to have some resistance and pain in both hind limbs, along with pain on flexion of her hips. An x- ray needed to be done to obtain a diagnosis. With Phoebe, being such a well behaved dog, we were able to take conscious views of both hind limbs and her hips. There were no visible lesions on the x-ray films, so a joint tap of the right hock, was performed. Several samples of joint fluid were taken to send to the laboratory, for full analysis.

The results showed the most likely cause of lameness was Immune Mediated Arthritis. Immune Mediated Arthritis is caused by an underlying weakness in the immune system and can be hereditary. Immune mediated means that the immune system is involved in producing the clinical symptoms and it is involved in inappropriately causing a disease process.

A treatment regime was planned, which consisted of immunosuppressive therapy. The regime starts off with daily medicating, then slowly weaning down to medicating weekly. This treatment may be long term treatment, depending on Phoebe's immune system's response. The medication would also make Phoebe drink and urinate more, which was noted at one of her revisit appointments.

After now being on the treatment for the past couple of weeks, Phoebe's lameness has almost resolved and she is almost back to her normal self!

Phoebe was such a brave girl having all of her x-rays performed while she was awake, we were all so very proud of her!