Bella M's Story

Italian Greyhound, Bella, sitting on a chair, looking at camera

My adopted Italian Greyhound, Bella, was seven when she started acting funny. We got back from a routine walk and she started screaming in pain, seemingly out of the blue. She eventually calmed down and I hoped it was just a fluke spasm or pulled muscle, but a couple days later the whining continued and she refused to go up or down stairs. I had adopted her from a rescue a year before, and didn’t know anything about her medical history. Our regular vet said she had a weak back, and maybe an irregular vertebra that was causing her pain. Her pain got continually worse and I started making small adjustments (harness instead of martingale collar, elevated food bowls, etc.) hoping it would make her more comfortable. Our vet prescribed some pain killers, which helped for a little while, but the problem kept getting worse.

Soon, the pain was so severe that Bella would not leave her bed all day. She would scream when I picked her up to carry her outside and I started to fear the worst. I couldn’t let her live in this kind of misery. Bella and I had been to three other vet clinics before we came to VMC, and all the other vets told us that she had a back problem and would need an expensive diagnostic scan and probably surgery to correct the problem. I was prepared to go ahead with these more extreme steps, so I was very surprised (and somewhat skeptical) when the VMC vets anticipated a joint problem, not a neurological problem.

Dr. McVey ordered a joint tap to test the fluid in Bella’s knees, and sure enough, she has an autoimmune disease that causes painful swelling in her joints. The vets prescribed prednisone to reduce the inflammation.

As soon as I brought Bella home after her joint tap, she was a completely different dog. I wasn’t expecting a change right away, but I guess the tap relieved enough of the pressure in her joints to reduce the pain immediately. It had been months since she has jumped around and wanted to play. Her appetite was back to normal, and she returned to being the sweet, playful dog I hadn’t seen in months. I gradually tapered off her dose of prednisone, and she has remained happy, healthy, and pain-free ever since.

I am so thankful that VMC was able to diagnose the joint disease and save me a large amount of money by eliminating the expensive and unnecessary MRI. We will definitely come back to the U of M Veterinary Medical Center if we have any more medical mysteries!

Thanks again, for everything.

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