What is your diagnosis?
Abigail is an approximately 50 pound, female, spayed, adult, mixed breed dog who presented to Animal Kind for acute signs of pain. She had begun crying out and trembling that morning. Her person reported no history of injury. She was being given a low dose of the corticosteroid, prednisone every other day to control the symptoms of her chronic allergic skin disease.
On physical exam, Abigail seemed painful when moving from a sitting or prone position to standing and resented handling of her right hind leg. However, she was extremely tense and nervous during the examination and the veterinarian was unable to confidently localize the source of her discomfort.
Despite our good intentions, situations like this one with Abigail arise frequently. Veterinarians understand that animals in distress are often very nervous especially in unfamiliar surroundings with unfamiliar people. We do our best under these circumstances to use patience, experience, and the sometimes tests to further investigate. What would you do in this situation?
Based on her signs and examination findings, the veterinarian recommended radiographs (x-rays) of Abigail’s back and hips. The images are included below. (Click on each x-ray to see the full image.)