What Would You Do If It Was Your Dog: Cody’s Lameness Misdiagnosis

Cody was an 11 months old female Labrador Retriever when she became lame after hitting a shed. A veterinary visit produced a scary misdiagnosis.

Lameness in Dogs: What Would You Do If It Was Your Dog: Cody's Lameness Misdiagnosis

You would figure that diagnosing lameness is a straightforward process. From my own experience, I can tell you that it can be far from it. I have been through most of them–a foot injury, foreign body in a foot pad, cruciate ligament injury, hip injury, infection, and spinal issues. Jumping to conclusions isn’t rare even by veterinarians.

When JD got hurt running down the stairs, x-rays showed arthritis from mild hip dysplasia. What the x-rays show often doesn’t match the degree of pain your dog is in. Some dogs can have terrible-looking hips and act like they are not in pain. On the other hand, a dog can be quite lame with x-rays not matching what is in front of your eyes.

Yes, misdiagnoses happen even with something as deceptively simple as lameness.

Cody was an energetic, somewhat uncoordinated pup–she had trouble with depth perception. One day she was playing fetch and in the pursuit of the ball, she slammed into a shed. Cody did bring back the ball but she was also limping.

Not only Cody hit the shed hard but her front leg found a hole in which it jammed on impact.

Her mom was concerned that Cody might have sustained a serious injury and took her to a vet right away.

After examination and x-rays, the verdict was devastating. Cody’s mom was told that Cody injured her cervical spine and if she ever injured it again Cody could become paralyzed.

That is not what any pet parent wants to hear.

This would mean either risking paralysis or Cody never having any real fun again.

Cody’s mom wasn’t ready to accept such grim diagnosis without getting a second opinion.

Would you seek a second opinion in a situation like this? Do you think the second opinion confirmed the original diagnosis? Limping in dogs can have many causes. What would you do if it was your dog?

Read Cody’s story here.

Related articles:
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: What is that limp?

Further reading:
Limping Dog. How to do your own at home examination.

Categories: ConditionsDog health advocacyLamenessLimpingMisdiagnosesSecond opinionsSymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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