Frankie’s Journey


I want to share this story of Frankie with everyone, as it will be an ongoing story for the next year or so as we continue to help him though this hard time. Frankie was seen by me about two months ago when he was six months old. He is a Golden Retriever that presented for lameness in all legs. He had been enrolled in a service dog program when his owners started to realize that he was having trouble walking. He was referred to me after being evaluated by a local neurologist, who couldn’t diagnose a neurologic issue.

On presentation, Frankie had lameness (limping) in all four limbs. He had pain on manipulation of both elbows, especially when pressure was placed on the inside of the elbows. He had a shortened stride to both hind limbs and was painful on hyperflexion and hyperextension of both hips. Another interesting finding, was that both hips could be felt subluxating on exam (positive ortolani test). This means that you could feel the femoral head rub and partially come out of joint.

Radiographs (x-rays) were taken of all joints and a diagnosis of bilateral elbow dysplasia (osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) and fragmented coronoid process) and bilateral hip dysplasia was made. Unfortunately, Frankie’s career as a service dogs had to abruptly end. Because of the extensive orthopedic work that would be needed (both elbows and both hips) he was in need of a new home to care for his special needs. My wife and I may be a glutton for punishment, but we thought long and hard about this decision and decided to open our home and give this Golden puppy a second chance.

So my intention for this “Featured Article” segment is to follow the course of Frankie’s treatment including surgery, recovery, physical therapy, and final outcome. I feel that other owners may be in similar circumstances and this may help encourage some and educate others. This will also give a forum to discuss congenital issues such as elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia. Going through these issues on our own pet, has been an eye-opening experience for us and me professionally. I can now relate to my patients and clients on a much more personal level.

In future segments (soon to follow) we will go through diagnosis, diagnostic test (radiographs and CT scan) and surgeries. So far, Frankie has had surgery on one elbow and is recovering well from that, we will go into more specifics as we go. The plan will be for the other elbow in the near future and then total hip replacements.

Also, please do not ask to donate financially to Frankie, I am not trying to raise money. I am just trying to educate others. There are so many generous people out there and there are many charitable animal organizations that can benefit from your generosity, as it is always appreciated!

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