When we noticed him limping a few weeks back, we took him in for extensive x-rays (another week-long cruise I can kiss goodbye) and discovered he has severe congenital left hip dysplasia. Yep, only two years old, with a geriatric hip. He'll eventually need surgery, which runs in the general area of four to seven thousand bucks (arrrgh!!!) but for now we've started him on Rimadyl, a heavy duty anti-inflammatory agent previously used for humans, but the FDA kicked it off the market b/c of lethal side effects. As far as Eli's concerned, this is a miracle drug. He's doing so much better now and almost never limps (occasionally he might be a bit stiff in the morning). He has Ultram for pain, but rarely needs this, either. He goes in regularly for bloodwork to check his liver function and white blood cells (he had an appointment today) and so far, so good. We may even be able to cut the dose back a bit.
Nothing--I mean nothing--slows this dude down. Yet the other thing we've discovered is a heart murmur. Aside from a very irregular heart rate (which worries me) he shows no other symptoms, so I'm hoping we won't have to treat this any time soon. I am wondering how this heart murmur will affect any future hip surgery.
This poor guy had such a rough start in life. I do want to keep him around for a long, looooong time. :)