Box Rest, is my mantra, and it is what I will always say to you when you tell me your puppy or adult hound is limping.
If you are a horsey person you will know what is meant by this term. The minute a horse is lame, they are stabled on "Box Rest" until sound (not limping), with controlled movement, and gentle short walks if possible. Box rest can be anything from a few days, to weeks and sometimes months, depending on the cause and condition.
This same approach must be adopted immediately your Wolfhound starts to limp. Box rest, becomes crate rest, or in a space where movement is limited. No jumping on and off sofas, or into cars (apart from a trip to the vets), no jumping up, no running around the garden or going on walks.
Box rest, meaning that you never exercise a limping dog. Lame dogs must be allowed to rest completely for a few days to several weeks. When the lameness subsides, continue rest and restrict for another 24-48 hours. Reintroduce moderate exercise such as controlled walks.
If lameness occurs you will need to assess it. Firstly check paws and nails, and if the limp is weight bearing with no obvious injury, exposed bone or bleeding, apply heat or cold accordingly and "Box Rest." If no improvement after 12 to 24hrs, or sooner if your hound is in obvious pain or discomfort, seek veterinary help. If you are in any doubt then I suggest a visit to the vets.
If your dog is unable to get up or walk, and or appears in great discomfort or cannot bear any weight at all on the limb, then your hound requires emergency attention.
If your vet prescribes an anti-inflamatory, firstly use the exact dose you have been instructed to and secondly your hound remains on Box Rest! Exercising when taking an anti-inflamatory or pain killer, can worsen the condition when the medication wears off.
If your hound for whatever reason is prescribed an anti-flamatory (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) ie Rimadyl, Metacam, Deramaxx or Previcox), on a long term basis, speak with your vet about using it in conjunction with a gastro-protector, such as Omeprazole (Prilosec®, Gastrogard®).
In the last few years we have had several hounds die from peritonitis following the development of a duodenal ulcer and perforation.
Sadly this was confirmed by Notts Uni., and they were sure that NSAID's were the cause. This condition is very difficult to pick up on even for the most experienced.
Use NSAID's, as per instructions, use with care, and give with food, and a gastro-protector if you are looking at long term use.
This is another very good reason to "Box Rest" to avoid over use of the anti-inflamatory medicationand to promote healing by resting.