October 8, 2008

Infraspinatus Contracture

Infraspinatus contracture is a uni- or bilateral fibrotic myopathy of the infraspinatus muscle that is usually secondary to trauma in hunting or working dogs. Clinical signs include an acute lameness, pain, and swelling in the shoulder region. The lameness subsides, but a gait abnormality develops 2-4 wk after injury as muscle fibrosis and contracture progress. Clinical signs include a characteristic adduction of the elbow, abduction of the foreleg, and external rotation of the carpus and paw. The limb is circumducted with each stride of the leg. Palpation of the shoulders reveals outward rotation of the humerus as the elbow is flexed. Treatment consists of resection of the fibrous musculotendinous portion of the muscle, including tenotomy of the tendon of insertion. Limb and joint functions are immediately improved, and prognosis for full recovery is excellent.

In plain english: This is what has happened to my golden retriever after the labor day hike up shelving rock mountain. He was unusually sore the day following the hike but was fine the next week. Then, just like it says above, he developed a weird limp where his front leg kicks out to the side when he walks. Simply put, the vet told me today that he will probably have to have surgery and we have a consult appointment scheduled for next tuesday.

We brought Shadow home in June of 2000 at the age of 8 weeks old. Before that day and even now I describe myself as "not a dog person". It took several years of my husband's pleading before I gave in. My one condition on the adoption of a puppy was that it HAD to be a golden retriever. I had known a golden retriever once and thought he was the greatest dog I had ever met and so if this non-dog person was to ever own a dog, it would have to be a golden. The agreement was made and we found our own golden at a small, private breeder in Hartford NY. We saw the parents who were both on site and we wanted the puppy to choose us. Shadow followed our 5 year old son around the yard and we knew he was the one we would come back for in a few weeks.
Our daughter was only a year old when we brought shadow home and for the next few years I recall feeling that the dog was unfortunately an additional responsibility and stressor in my already busy, caring for children, day. Slowly, I realized however, that Shadow has more than lived up to my expectations as the best dog I could ever ask for.
My daughter hasn't even known life without him and the two are inseparable. She lays down on the floor, snuggles up to him and he automatically puts his arm over her. He loves to go to the firehouse for a bath and since I began hiking, he goes wild when he sees me put on my boots and makes it clear that he does not want to be left behind. I can't believe he is already 8 years old and I often find myself getting caught up wondering how much time we all have left with this guy. When he went to the vet with my husband yesterday and we were waiting to find out what was actually wrong with him, I could barely concentrate at work. I projected my hypochondria onto him and of course assumed the worst (cancer). When we got the diagnosis of this muscle problem and the recommendation for a surgical consultation, I was surprised at my relief and immediate thought that obviously we would do whatever was necessary to restore him to normal. The doctor left having the surgery optional because of his "middle age" but she said it would be necessary if we wanted him to be able to continue hiking with us. At that moment, I couldn't imagine not giving him the chance of recovering. Not because of the hiking part, but because more importantly, he is family.


Cedar ... said...

A hug to Shadow from me and Midnight...(my cat, who would probably object!) I thoroughly understand how you feel about this,.. pets are family as you say, Middy is my girl and my pal. Best wishes to Shadow and her family,.. keep us posted!

Najee said...

Pretty photos…. showing your love for your pets.

renee said...

oh my goodness...
that made me tear up.
i am glad that shadow's prognosis is good. and that he should be able to keep hiking!