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Gus is a Border Collie belonging to one of our policy holder’s and a client of the Torbridge Veterinary Group in Devon – Mrs H. If you are not familiar with Border Collies think ‘One man and his dog’. They are a breed that are highly intelligent, full of beans and, more often than not, don’t want to waste time laying around when there are adventures to be had.
Gus is no exception , but when he was just seven and half months old Mrs H noticed that he was limping and seemed to be experiencing some pain and discomfort in one or maybe even both of his front legs. Mrs H took Gus to see Vet Cathryn at Torbridge who examined him and took some x-rays which, on inspection, indicated that Gus may be suffering from Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) in his shoulder joints.
OCD occurs commonly in immature and growing dogs and typically becomes apparent between dogs of 4 and 8 months of age. It is more often see in large and giant breeds dogs, but can occur in other breeds too – including Border Collies like Gus. OCD lesions occur on the ‘head’ (top) of the humerus bone which is the front leg bone in animals that forms a joint with the shoulder. The condition results in a ‘flap’ of cartilage forming on the head of the humerus which, in some cases, can become completely detached and become lodged in the surrounding area. Over time, this will cause inflammation – and discomfort.
Cathryn decided to refer Gus to a specialist referral centre – Ridge Referrals – who could confirm her suspicions using their specialist diagnostic treatment and also provide a suitable course of treatment for Gus. Gus was booked in at Ridge Referrals just 3 days later and had further x-rays and a musculo-skeletal ultrasound scan to get a very detailed look at both his shoulders. The bad news was that this confirmed Vet Cathryn’s suspicions that OCD was indeed present and in both of Gus’s shoulder joints, but the positive news was that Ridge could perform an operation to treat the condition and repair the joints.
Gus’s surgery was booked in for later the same month. Once under general anaesthetic a joint arthroscopy (a procedure used to diagnose and repair joint problems) was performed and the troublesome flaps of cartilage were removed. Gus returned home after a 24 hour hospital stay with 6 week’s worth of pain relief medication and, no doubt, lots and lots of TLC! To aid his recovery, Gus was rested completely 2 weeks before beginning to go on very light and short walks on the lead – gradually building up in duration as he made his way on the road to recovery.
As you might imagine, the procedures and treatments Gus received from Torbridge and Ridge Referrals were complex and intensive and such treatments are not cheap. The bill for Gus’s treatment came to over £2,000. Fortunately, Gus had a Vetsure ‘Premier’ policy which provides up to £2,000 per condition per year for illness and accident – so the vast majority of the bill was covered. All Vetsure policies are lifelong meaning that Mrs H will have £2,000 available per condition per year as long as the policy remains in force. Vetsure ‘Premier Plus’ and ‘Cover & Care’ policies are also available which provide up to £5,000 per condition per year.
We were thrilled to hear from Mrs H just before Christmas that Gus was feeling much better: “Gus is so much better, you would not think that he had shoulder problems as he plays and runs after balls, which he thoroughly enjoys. He is now able to come with me when I walk the South West Coast path at the end of the month. We shall be covering quite a few miles. He also loves jumping in the rivers and sea”.
All of us here at Vetsure would like to wish Mrs H and Gus all the best the future.