Sam is a vivacious 6 month old Kelpie that has been coming to our clinic since he had his initial vaccinations. He presented to the clinic in early May for a lameness that we all suspected was from an annoying foreign body in the carpal (wrist) foot pad of his left forelimb, although none could be discerned on initial examination. Antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and strict rest were prescribed.
After probing the site one week later we were still unconvinced that there was an actual foreign body present. Two weeks of strict rest seemed to resolve the issue, or so we thought! The moment Sam started walking again he was acutely and significantly lame. Radiographs were called for since pain then appeared to be consistently present on flexion of the left elbow.
The x-rays revealed a cartilage flap that was very obvious in the left shoulder and there were also radiographic abnormalities on the right shoulder too! We diagnosed that Sam had a congenital disease known as Osteochondrosis Dessicans (OCD). Sam was referred to the Melbourne Veterinary Specialist Centre where he had keyhole surgery on both his shoulders to remove the cartilage defects.
Two weeks later a discharging sinus was present at the original site of concern. An exploration of the site revealed a 5mm splinter! Sam recovered very quickly once this was removed and continues to recover fantastically. We expect him to return to full exercise soon.
In total the investigations and surgeries cost Sam's owners over $4,500. Luckily Sam had full cover pet insurance. His owners paid the initial fee for each condition $250 and they claimed the rest back. They had been thinking about cancelling the insurance, fortunately they didn't! Costs for emergency care and investigations can mount up. They vow to continue with Sam's insurance for peace of mind.
And the cartilage flaps? Sam's owner now keeps them in a little jar in her purse!