Cooter: Our Loveable Rescue

Cooter was well known for his love of carrying large sticks

Cooter was adopted from a rescue in Washington in 2009 after my husband lost his Labrador, Roscoe. We picked him up after a night at Brewfest in Placerville where my husband enjoyed the night, and I was the DD driving to Washington after.

He had a wonderful life and enjoyed many adventures but then in 2018 I noticed him get up and there was a very subtle awkwardness to it. It was gone as quick as I saw it but, being a vet, I thought the worst and took him in for radiographs. I found severe elbow arthritis that I couldn’t imagine him not having a more severe limp. Maybe it was the Omega 3 he had been on since he was 7 years of age or the Wapiti Labs Mobility he had been on since 5 years of age but he had shown no signs before this.

For those that aren’t aware, elbow dysplasia/arthritis is a very hard condition to treat in dogs as they carry more of their weight in their front legs. We immediately started him on Galliprant, an anti-inflammatory so that the inflammation would be controlled which would slow the boney deposits and give him some relief. We also started him on a treatment plan of Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy and soft tissue work. We tried superpulsed cold laser, but it didn’t give him as much relief as acupuncture. We also purchased him a PEMF bed from Respond and that made a huge difference, he loved his nightly treatments.

He did well until 2019 when I noticed that he was getting a little stiffer. I tried radial shockwave therapy, and it helped but I wasn’t getting the control I wanted. So, we made an appointment at VCA, and he had his first PRP injections for his elbows. It was the game changer. Based on his response I purchased my own PRP equipment and continued his treatments. He was able to go 6 months between treatments and if you didn’t know he had dysplasia you couldn’t tell as he had no limping/discomfort until 2021.

2021 we noticed he wasn’t responding as well but after a great trip to Shelter Cove where he seemed to improve amazingly our hope was renewed. Not 1 week later our chow hound came in for dinner and slowly ate, very out of character. Again, as a vet I thought the worst and took him in immediately for an ultrasound. Cancer. He had a tumor on his spleen that had ruptured, his gums weren’t pale, and he seemed better in all ways but for these tumors if they rupture there is a >90% chance they have already metastasized. We made the heartbreaking decision to let him go before he had to experience all the possible outcomes of these tumors.

I thank him for being such an incredible inspiration in the treatment of my future patients with elbow dysplasia. Without him, I wouldn’t have gotten as comfortable with the use of PRP, radial shockwave or PEMF beds.