Can’t they just tell you where it hurts?
Lameness in dogs and cats can sometimes be very difficult to localise. This stems from the inability to ask them ‘where does it hurt?’. So instead we rely on a range of tools in our ‘tool box’ to narrow down the problem.
Radiographs (the act of obtaining a radiograph involves ‘shooting’ xray beams) are often the first line in trying to identify the problem. Radiographs are useful in identifying bone abnormalities but are limited in diagnosing soft tissue or cartilage issues. Radiographs usually require sedation or general anaesthesia in order to reduce patient stress and maximise information quality.
We will sometimes employ the use of advanced imaging tools such as:
Computed tomography (CT) - great for 3D assessment of joints (eg. shoulder and elbow) and limb deformities
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - superior for spinal conditions, nerve and muscle based disease
Contrast imaging (CT/MRI/XR)
What can I do to help?
We will ask you to fill out a lameness questionnaire at the initial consultation. This will help in understanding your and your pets concerns. It can also be very useful to obtain a VIDEO of the problem as it occurs in the home environment. Video’s are best obtained from both BEHIND and the SIDE in order to best assess for any gait concerns.
Is my dog in pain?
Owners will very often ask if their pet is in pain when they are limping. If your pet is not using their leg 100% normally this often means that there is an element of pain reducing their comfort and confidence. Just because they cannot readily communicate their discomfort verbally, physical cues such as holding the leg off the ground during walking is a frequent sign of dogs in pain.