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The Incredible Mr. Limpers July 28, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Big Lug, Home.
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Remember that Don Knotts movie?  Is he even still alive?  (Answer:  No.)

Anyway, this has nothing to do with Don Knotts.

It’s our poor Mr. Limpers.

Long-time readers of this blog are aware of the Big Lug‘s struggles with hip dysplasia.  And you’ll of course remember the great strides he’s taken over the past year – he’s literally gone from walking barely a block to regularly walking a couple of miles in the mornings, then coming home and chasing a tennis ball around for a while.

By spring, we were down to every-other-week swimming – and he’s been great with it.  Nary a trace of a limp – just a happy, frolicking puppy.  So, as things got busier this summer, and since Jarly was going so well, we took a bit of a hiatus from swim class.

Nothing permanent, mind you, and he’s not going swim-less.  It was just one more thing that needed to be attended to, in a season of too much work and not enough, well, not work.

Then it got hot.  I mean really hot – our morning walks were even disgusting.  It’s just not right when it’s 70 degrees – and humid! – at 4 in the morning.  We’d come back with both of our tongues hanging down to our knees!  (I exaggerate, but only barely.)

And afternoon walks – in the blazing sun – were all but out of the question.  Not for a big black dog.

Even the beach – what little corner of the beach we could squeeze him into between the mobs of people and kids and dogs and drunk unemployed people – was HOT.

PhotobucketBy last week, our happy, hearty puppy has started limping occasionally.

Then he was limping more.

I’ve done some research, and, essentially, nothing’s changed since last year.

Basically, from what I can find, hip dysplasia seems to be very similar to (deteriorates into?) osteoarthritis.  The deterioration of the soft tissue, which causes the further deterioration and malformation of the bone – yeah.

And a recent Johns Hopkins study may (or may not) show a connection between high humidity and osteoarthritis pain (the results were kind of conflicting), while another University of Michigan study suggests a link between arthritis pain and low barometric pressure and high humidity – like right before one of our northeast summer thunderstorms.

Ultimately, outside of major surgery, there’s not a lot we can do for him other than what we’ve been doing all along- keep him comfortable, keep his weight down, and keep him exercised.  And that makes a world of difference.  Heck, it’s already made a difference – we’ve seen that!

I’m not going to dope him up unless I absolutely have to – the prescription pain killers are narcotics and, well, the last thing we need is Jarly with a monkey on his back!  However (and we’ve cleared this with the vet), we’re not above a couple of aspirin  tablets covered in peanut butter when the situation warrants it.


His weight is fine, though with the abbreviated walks, we’ve had to be a little more careful about that.

With the more comfortable temperatures the past few days, we’ve been gradually walking him a little farther, being careful, of course, not to overdo it.

And he’s going back to swim class this week.

He’s going to be so happy to hear that!