i spoke with dr. paton today...the long and short of it is...
the bad news..no easy fix is available.
too much pain and risk with surgery with questionable results esp. considering his age...and the recovery period is quite long.
physio/accupuncture..probably won't do much because it has become mechanical with the joint calcifying and slipping to the side to compensate.
botox just doesn't do the job that the drug company says it does.
the good news is...
as of now..they think pops is ok. they do not believe he is suffering unduly or unhappy with his current life. they think we are on the ball enough to provide him with good appropriate care and they think we are able to recognize and address end of life issues when things start to change and life becomes a burden for him.
they have a suggestion on a new NSAID med that is safer than long term bute that we could try for his comfort. they said we could try steve the ferriers suggestion for a special orthopedic shoe to make it easier for pops to move. and they said they think we could let pops out in the field for longer periods of time if he wants and just put him back in when he says he is ready to go...they don't think he is going to fall or break anything right now so it is pretty safe (as long as the idiot humping cows aren't around!)
dr, paton did say that things are going to change over time and it will become more difficult for pops with more pain as the joint continues to deteriorate and change...it may be a year or two at the most or as little as a few months but as long as we keep a close eye and pay attention to how he is doing, we should do ok.
sooooo...bottom line...no miracle is happening for our pops...but...nothing terrible is happening to him right now either.
the new plan is...try the new NSAID pain meds and see how pops does with them. i called steve the ferrier and left a message to see if he can cook up a magic shoe to help pops get around a bit better and to stop the tendon from contracting any more. we can let pops decide when he wants out and in and not try to decide for him and other than that...we just carry on keeping a close eye on how he is doing and making sure he enjoys every day.
so there you go...not great news, not terrible news...they recommend that we just keep doing the best that we can for him for now.