Pingo went to the vet this morning as she was yelping after the storm last night. She has had some trouble with her back end over the past 8 months or so. Nothing major and it comes and goes, but I decided to get her checked out again anyway.
Her x-rays are perfectly normal. Her hips look great, her spine is perfect. No sign of athritis, degeneration or other major problems. Not even the athritis that would possibly be expected in an 8 year old dog. She has the hips of a 4 year old according to Dr. Rick! Her ACL is intact and she has full range of motion in all her legs. She of course did not yelp at the vet. She didn't make a sound and when he took her for a walk, she practically pranced!!! I can see the difference in her gait, but someone who doesn't watch her butt wiggle all the time would think she was moving normally. She does love to make a fool of me!
Dr. Rick says she is simply prone to soft tissue injuries, just like some people are. Pingo holds her back feet turned out a little bit. That may put some extra pressure on muscles deep in her legs.
Treatment is for symptoms only, rest and Metacam. He gave me a huge bottle of Metacam so she won't have to come back in again, unless something is worse obviously. She hates truck rides and really hates the clinic so the less she has to go the better.
He said she can continue to pull if she wants to. Rick suggested giving her a dose of Metacam for a week before she returns to the harness and see if it makes any difference. Pingo has a funny gait. I think it's called crabbing--she runs on an angle with her butt end kicked out to the left all the time. 99% of the time it doesn't seem to cause her any problems though. She even runs on an angle when she's off lead sometimes. She is very left-pawed. When I got her I quickly learned that Pingo must be on the left side of the gangline. If she's not, all H**L will break loose at some point and she will find a way back to that side! I might get her a different harness--like the ones Jeff King uses and see if that helps her at all.
Or I suppose if she chooses to she can be a house pet full time. I'd sure like her to help me train another leader before that happens though!