Okay. The Soda-Limping Saga goes on!
We went back to the vet and we think we found the problem this time. There was a muscle injury but also a knee issue. Soda's patella luxates ever so slightly in the extended position, and only in the extended position. It's also smaller than the L patella. The slight luxation has probably been irritating the tendon and has caused tendinosis -- patellar tendinopothy.
We redid xrays and they still look good and the vet was awesome enough to include her hips in the view and they look pretty good. Her L hip looks "slightly subluxated" but there is no degeneration of the joint, so that's really good. She had a surgeon review her xrays and the surgeon said it's not a surgical issue (Yay! Cause I can't afford it anyway! LOL) and my vet said when she asked "what the heck is wrong with this dog?" he replied "only time will tell" but I feel pretty comfortable with this current diagnosis. I have been very pleased with the level of communication the vet has had (we've exchanged probably a dozen emails) and the dedication she has shown to figuring out what is wrong with my dog.
I did four days of Previcox and her limping has gone waaaaaaaay down. It's barely perceptible right now and she may not even be limping sometimes. We've got some exercises that we're doing. I use a therapy band on her leg for some static exercises, and square sits, and "sitting pretty" and walking backwards and stretching her leg backwards. I go back on Wednesday for a follow-up appointment and I think the vet is looking into more exercises to build up the muscle. She said there is a research paper on a human soccer player with a similar issue and they discussed "eccentric loading exercises" and I think she's going to find out if they've adapted any for dogs. She said she really suggests getting some laser light therapy done so I'm looking for a place. It's pretty pricey and as the bf so kindly pointed out, in total so far this has cost more than $500. So I'm bargain shopping.
I still don't have a timeline of when she'll be able to be her normal running nutty self so I'm anxious to get that. I'm also going to have to get tips for how to support that tendon so we don't have another bout of lameness. it seems like the kind of thing that if it happens once, it'll happen again, which I totally don't want!
On the behavior side of things, she totally hates the band exercises and I have no idea why, but whatever, I make her cope. Everything else is super fun because it's a game so that's good. She has become way more reactive to moving things because she's had no outlet. She's going level 10 at skateboarders, birds, goats, whatever. I feel sorry for her. I try to play quiet games in the house and teach her new things but she gets so excited and amped up it gets hard sometimes.
I'll update again after our follow-up on Wednesday.