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Veterinarian Technician May 2011 (Vol 32, No 5)

Final View: This Was a Tough One

by Robin D. Manthei, LVT

    Buckshot pellets

    Chest radiograph.

    Duncan—a 9-year-old, 43-lb, neutered hound mix—had been adopted 2 years earlier with an unknown history. He presented at our hospital with hip pain and limping on both hindlimbs. He tested positive for Lyme disease on a SNAP 4Dx Test (IDEXX Laboratories). A complete blood count and a serum chemistry profile revealed eosinophilia but no other abnormalities. Urinalysis revealed more than five struvite crystals per high-power field (normal: no crystals). Duncan was sent home with doxycycline (10 mg/kg q24h PO for 28 days), tramadol (25 mg q12h or q8h PO) for pain control, and Dasuquin (Nutramax Laboratories; medium-to-large dog size q24h PO).

    Hip radiograph.

    Hip radiograph.

    At a follow-up examination 3 weeks later, Duncan was still lame in the hindlimbs. He could lie down comfortably but was starting to nip at the owners when touched on the hind end. Rimadyl (carprofen, Pfizer Animal Health; 75 mg q12h PO) was prescribed, and radiography under sedation was recommended.

    One week later, Duncan was sedated for radiography, which revealed buckshot pellets scattered from the hindlimbs and pelvis to the cervical spine (FIGURES). In addition to the buckshot, Duncan had osteoarthritis in the lumbar to sacral spinal region. At this point, his pain management was increased (tramadol; 50 mg q8h PO), Rimadyl was continued at the same dose, and the client was offered a referral for surgical consultation and computed tomography to determine whether surgery was an option. The client declined referral and planned to see how Duncan responded to the increased pain medication.

    Pelvic radiograph.

    Pelvic radiograph.

    Unfortunately, Duncan’s pain persisted and he became aggressive when touched. The owners sadly elected to euthanize him 3 weeks after diagnosis of buckshot pellet trauma and osteoarthritis.

    Duncan was a good dog with an unfortunate and possibly cruel injury. The owners were heartbroken, as was the veterinary staff, but the decision to euthanize was made with compassion. I believe that Duncan can now run through fields without pain or danger.

    NEXT: Inside Behavior: Using Capturing to Train Dogs

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