Madison was in pain with some issue in her front legs. At the dog park on Monday, she was suddenly in a heap on the ground, shreaking like she had been hit with a 2x4. Everyone ran to her, terror-stricken. In a couple minutes, she got up tentatively, walked slowly on her leash and then seemed fine.
A pulled muscle? A sprain? A twist? She has been playing at the dogpark, with an okay from her vet, and the opinion that is fine to "go with nature," believing that a puppy won't overdo it, and will rest when it gets tired. Long forced runs with a jogger or bike are not recommended until at least one-year-old, and agility work should be reserved for the developed dog, according to her breeder, and supported by most Web sites on large breeds.
Madison can be a "nut" at the dog park, running and playing with a particular puppy-like abandon, but H-Mom thinks that she is moving at a puppy-appropriate pace, and she keeps track of rest-breaks to make certain that Madison is not becoming overheated or unduly winded. H-Mom agrees that well-developed muscle is very important to support a large skeletal frame, and that athletic puppies will be more physically sound than coddled ones.
Well, the pain in Madison's left leg subsided after a day, with careful attention to no jumping and no running, and the limp was completely gone. Then it came back. Then it was gone again. A call to the vet supported the "take it easy, it's a sprain" theory, and suggested a few days of close observation. H-Mom had an appointment for Friday night, and then canceled it because Madison seemed better.
But last night, 4 days after the dog park meltdown, she went into a fit of yelping after she backed out from under the gallery desk. She had just walked normally for the 5 long blocks with Man-Dad to go visit. And now it seemed to be the right front leg.
So H-Mom started googling and reading about all kinds of diseases that affect large breed dogs in particular, diseases that affect bones and development: HOD, OCD and Panosteitis. There are other problems to worry about too, like Septicemia and vaccine response. And just plain old "growing pains." And pages and pages of Web sites and documents that will put fear in your heart and panic in your wallet. Orthopedic experts? Second opinions?
Googling can make you crazy worried.
The vet took Madison for an appointment this morning. He manipulated, he pinched, he turned, he watched. He analyzed, he observed. He listened.
Madison melted everyone's hearts. She is a kissy-kissy licky-licky giant schnauzer, after all. All the vet techs were sitting on the floor, playing with her. And there was not a whimper.
A sprain, or a twist, he said. Not even worried about a fracture or ligament tear or separated shoulder or any of those other terrible bone disorders. "I would have gone straight for the x-rays," he assured H-Mom and Man-dad.
Doctor's orders: a few days of an anti-inflammatory and the puppy equivalent of "bed rest."
"Don't read all that stuff on the 'net," he said. "You'll make yourself crazy."
Anyone want to come watch puppy movies and chew marrow bones, quietly?
The bed rest will be a real challenge.