This is her left hock. OUCH! You can see where it is trying to fuse on one side but not the other. See the jagged bone on the inside? Dr. Hills thinks there may have been a fracture there a long time ago. Here is her right hock for comparison:
You can see how the lines go all the way through, much cleaner looking joints. This is good news as I expected to see some arthritic changes in her right hock by now.Dr. Hills injected Grace's left hock with steroids to reduce the pain and inflammation. He told me to let her rest for the next 3-5 days with limited hand walking. Then start riding her at the walk. He said I will know in 2 weeks if the hock injections are working for her. At this point the focus is on getting the lower joints of the left hock to fuse.
We also discussed the option of injecting the left hock with alcohol. This would help speed up the fusion process, Dr. Hills said the injection is not painful. It may take anywhere from 1-3 injections to get the joint to finish fusing. We both agreed that this is plan B and we will give the steroid injections a chance to work first. I am a little leary of the alcohol injections at this point. I've been doing some research on line and have heard both good and very bad stories.
My #1 goal right now it to keep Grace comfortable. There is no doubt in my mind looking at that x-ray that she has been in pain for some time. I've held off on joint injections in the past due to cost and the chance of side effects. We did discuss IRAP as an option, which has less side effects, but after the last two vet bills, IRAP is not something I see in my immediate financial future. One of the side effects of the steroid injections is that it will increase the speed in which the hock fuses. This is something we want to have happen in this hock.
If anyone reading this has experiance with hock injections and fusing, please let me know in the comments.