As many of you know, Bollo was born with elbow dysplasia; a degenerative disease of the elbow joint presenting joint and cartilage problems. He had his first operation on both front legs before he was a year old.
If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you’ll also know that Bollo is a very effervescent Labrador. Not the calm, wander down the street, walk to heel sort. More the ‘Marley’ knock you to your feet fizz ball. Needless to say, there’s an awful lot of energy to be expended in that 35 kilo ball of fur.
His condition means that he’s probably not going to reach the usual lifespan of ten years old, he’s on permanent medication and further treatment will be on the cards, at some stage. After the first operation (and the subsequent six weeks of nil exercise which drove him – and us – crazy) he’s done really well, and as the days, weeks, months go by, you lull yourself into a false sense of security thinking that the worst is past, that all will be OK, that some miracle has mended those bad joints.
His consultant specifically told us that he must never be lame. Even a slight limp is an indication that the condition is deteriorating and another operation is due.
A few weeks back we noticed a slight limp when he got up from a long sleep. I admit, we ignored it the first couple of times, shrugged it off, put it down to weary limbs. We always knew those elbows were going to cause us more problems, but thought it would be in a few years, when he settled into middle age. Unfortunately, the limping became more pronounced and we had to take action.
We decided to calm him down, restrict his exercise for a while, in an effort to stave off that inevitable visit to the vet that always lingers somewhere in the background. So, for almost a week, we walked Mr Bollo on a lead. Now this hound is used to pounding the fields, chasing bunnies (he really just wants to play with them, but don’t tell his friends that), jumping around with his mates and playing ball. He isn’t interested in strutting around on a lead. Every morning, I watched his pinched face as we hit the field and I didn’t remove the lead. Every day, his spring coiled just a little further.
Finally, after several days, he stopped limping. Yay! I tentatively let him off the lead – and he ran like the wind. (Not at the front of the queue when the brains were handed out.) We all watched him intently for the rest of the day and… No limping. More days have passed and I’m happy to report he is still walking (or should I say running, he rarely ‘walks’ anywhere) normally. Phew!
It appears that, for the moment at least, we are through this current scare and the boy is back. He can now run, jump, play just like any other doggy down the field. Watch out bunnies, foxes, badgers, birds, leaves (yes, he will chase anything that moves even if it doesn’t have a heart beat) – he’s back in business.
This post is dedicated to all those who sent their best wishes for Bollo through Facebook, Twitter, email etc. It was very heartening to know that you were thinking of us and rooting for our little chap.