Problems with Mollydog's leg are manifold:
1) old injury with embedded mystery item (too deep to remove).
2) arthritis around old injury, exacerbated by a couple of newer tripping incidents.
3) 1 and 2 have resulted in a joint that mechanically cannot bend more than about 20 degrees.
4) Corn on one toe on that leg, which may be unrelated (greyhounds do get corns) or may be produced by walking oddly as a result of 1-3.
2 vets have now said they think she should go onto long-term painkillers. I am wary of this because:
1) She's tried metacam and Rimadyl for a couple of weeks each. There was no discernable change in her behaviour, limping or energy levels.
I am not sure how you can be sure a dog *needs* painkillers if you can't tell she's had them, particularly if she is generally a dog who is active, enjoys her walks and is happy to run and play. The vets say 'well it must be causing her some discomfort' - yes, but if I can't tell how much discomfort when I'm observing her all the time, then can the vet?
2) All the possible NSAIDs seem to have the potential for causing intestinal problems, and the longer you use them, the more likely this becomes. Mollydog was 8 in Sept, so could be taking them for 5 years or more (with a bit of luck) if she starts them now. I know someone whose dog died of internal bleeding in a reaction to Rimadyl. OK, that's not common or the drugs would not be licenced, but...
3) if you give painkillers longterm, surely the dog gets used to them and the effect becomes less? (Need to ask vet about this). Then what if she needs them more later in her life?
4) If I give her something that will numb her joint pain (if in fact the painkillers do this, because I can't tell if they do or not), is she not more likely to overdo it and damage that already knackered joint even more? (one vet that saw her a couple years back said this, but none of the other vets have said it since).
I'm really hoping the acupuncture will have some visible effect. If it doesn't, my only remaining choice seems to be either using painkillers for the rest of her life, even if I don't know if they are helping her - OR refusing to use them, despite vet advice to do so. I am not very comfortable with either option.
She has glucosamine supplements, which have helped. She has a magnetic collar, which also, bizarrely and unexpectedly, also seems to make some difference, or at least, she seems worse if I switch to another non-magnetic collar for any length of time.
I am vaguely wondering whether a TENS machine might be worth a try, though these are not widely used in dogs, I have found someone who has had their dog use one with considerable success under veterinary supervision. I might run this idea past the acupuncture vet, I think she might be a bit more open to alternative ideas than our regular vet.