"Leonard" - Chronic Arthritis/Vestibular disease- Case of the Month
We first met Leonard back in 2001 when he came to ELAH for limping. Leonard was a Labrador retriever mix with a zest for life. His main problem was osteoarthritis (first of the elbows and later of the hips and hock). The changes in his joints on his x-rays were so severe that we were initially concerned it could be neoplasia (cancer) and not "just" osteoarthritis. We sent Leonard to the Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Charlotte for a second opinion and they confirmed that it was severe osteoarthritis and not cancer.
Over the years, Leonard required a variety of medications to help control the pain from the osteoarthritis and to let him lead an active life. He was treated with a combination of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), adequan injections (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan), tramadol, amantadine, acupuncture, and swim therapy. Leonard's owners even built a small swimming pool in the backyard so he would have a place to swim.
Everyone at ELAH knew and loved Leonard. Every time he came to visit us his tail would be wagging and he made everyone smile. He would be pacified with vanilla wafer cookies while he had his acupuncture treatments (he liked to walk and visit too much during his treatment!). Leonard would often be found up front hanging out with the receptionists on a bed or in the pharmacy while he was waiting for his owners to pick him up. He just loved being around people and thought it was his job to be the greeting committee at the hospital.
The picture shows Leonard "hanging out" in the pharmacy at ELAH
Leonard turned 15 (or 105 in dog years) in 2007 and had a birthday party in his honor and many of his friends in the neighborhood and from ELAH visited. He even had his own birthday cake!
Leonard at his birthday party - enjoying every minute of it!
As Leonard aged, he developed other problems. He had a few episodes of Peripheral Vestibular disease (PVD) which affected his balance and made it even more difficult for him to walk. It took some time but in true Leonard fashion he pulled through with his tail wagging the whole time. As his osteoarthritis worsened, we searched for other treatments to try and help him. We considered Adult Stem Cell Therapy/Regenerative Medicine but were unable to pursue that treatment because changes in his kidney function limited his ability to have general anesthesia (which was needed for this treatment).
One day, Leonard could no longer get up. On 2/22/2008, with his family and some friends present, Leonard was humanely euthanized in his home. More than a few tears were shed that day as his owners had lost their beloved friend and pet and we had lost a long time friend.
Leonard is the case of the month for a few reasons:
1. The unbelievable bond between Leonard and his owners. There is a bond between every pet and every owner but this was the one of the strongest I have ever seen. They refused to give up on him and did whatever was necessary to help Leonard.
2. Leonard's attitude - you never met such a sweet boy whose goal in life was to make you happy!
3. Leonard's fan club - he sure had a lot of friends!
We will miss you Leonard!