Case Report: Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis

Diesel, a one and a half year old male neutered German Shepherd was referred to the Surgical Division of the Veterinary Referral Center of Northern Virginia for shifting hind limb lameness. Diesel is a PTSD canine for a veteran who is a long-haul trucker. He was unable to perform his duties due to chronic pain and shifting hind limb lameness.

Despite being seen by several veterinarians during a two-month period, Diesel was no closer to a diagnosis or a course of treatment when he was referred to our Surgical Division. Upon examination no obvious injuries or issues were identified but it was obvious Diesel was in extreme pain. Dr.

Bradley decided the best course of action was to admit Diesel and perform several joint taps to see if a disease was present. Diesel’s owner was desperate for an answer so Diesel could get back on the road with him and agreed to the joint taps.


Diesel’s joint fluid was sent to a laboratory for analysis. In the meantime, Diesel was started on Prednisone, a powerful anti-inflammatory. Within 48 hours, Diesel was back to his active, pain-free self. He could even jump into his Dad’s big rig.

Diesel’s report from the laboratory indicated the source of his pain was an auto-immune disorder called immune-mediated polyarthritis. These disorders are usually idiopathic which means that no cause can be identified.

Diesel is continuing on a lower dose of Prednisone and is able to maintain a good quality of life. The hope is that he will be able to continue on Prednisone just once every three days and remain able to perform his duties.

For now both Diesel and his Dad are thrilled to be back on the road together again!