Second Opinion for Dog Arthritis Diagnosis

I have a nine year old very active German Shepard. 1 week ago he developed a large soft mass on his left ankle. We immediately took him to the vets and were told it may be a cyst, a joint injury or possibly a broken blood vessel.

We were told that we should leave it alone a week and see what happens. If it's a cyst it may grow and then burst. If it's a blood broken blood vessel it will go away.

One week later my dog can barely walk and is favoring the left leg. So off to the vets we go. Her diagnosis is Arthritis and the treatment will be steroids for the rest of his life.

i am not questioning the fact that my dog is prone and will end up with arthritis. I am just having a problem with the fact that this looks like a cyst, it's soft and came up in a matter of a couple of days. His other wrist is completely normal in size.

So does this condition appear within days and take a dog from very active to barely walking or should I be seeking a different opinion?

Any advise would be appreciated.


Vet Suggestion Regarding a Second Opinion for Dog Arthritis Diagnosis

Hi Richard,

Your description of the events surrounding your dog’s diagnosis is a little bit confusing to me as well. The most common form of arthritis we see in German Shepherds is called osteoarthritis, and it is not usually associated with the sudden appearance of soft masses like the one you describe.

I also don’t fully understand why your dog is on steroids. Could the medication possibly be a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory instead?

It is possible that your dog is suffering from two completely unrelated problems (e.g., arthritis and a cyst), but this seems unlikely. Getting a second opinion sure wouldn’t hurt under circumstances like these.

If you are not comfortable with your dog’s diagnosis, it never hurts to make an appointment at a different veterinary clinic. You will either have confirmation of your dog’s condition or get some new information that might help with his treatment.

Take your veterinary records and medications with you to prevent confusion and avoid duplication of any tests that might have already been run.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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