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Intermittent Hind Leg Lameness

geoffh4
November 12th, 2007, 12:29 PM
So I posted a topic called "why is my puppy limping" a few weeks ago, and I now have a followup couple of questions.

The dog is a female "mix" puppy, approximately 7-8 months old, about 35-40 pounds.

I excercised her a LOT, including multiple walks and frequent offleash runs in a large field. The field was highly "unlevel"

She developed "sudden" lameness in her rear left paw. It was the day after an excessive bout of excercising, but not in response to any real trauma that I can tell.

This continued for a while, so we limited her excercise. All was well until a few days ago when it started again.

The symptom is sudden picking up of her rear left leg. She carries it while she walks on 3 legs.

Within the next 1 to 2 minutes, she returns her leg to the ground and walks/plays/normally.

She also chews a lot on her feet, specifically the nails and toes. More often on the affected paw than on others

She runs up and down stairs, jumps on and off of the bed, and plays in the backyard normally. She runs full speed with no problems.

She has never "yelped" or given any signs of pain other than the lameness.

Some people suggested hip dysplasia, but its only on one side and seems very "intermittent"

Some people suggested luxating patella, but I've felt for the knee cap and haven't found it out of place. I've also never heard her "yelp" and she's not the type of dog that seems to be affected by that problem.

Some people suggested foreign body in the foot, but I checked and didn't see anything.

I heard panosthetisis (sp?) but its only on one side

I read about ACL but it seems like thats constant lameness

Ive read about interdigit infections, but I don't know how to check for that. Also, the lameness is very sporadic

could it be a sprain?

Any ideas? I am hesitant to take her to the vet because its so sporadic, and only occurs at most for 1 or 2 minutes per day. I will dfinately go if it continues though or if there is risk of things getting worse.

Thanks!

Writing4Fun
November 12th, 2007, 02:23 PM
My girl was kicking out one back leg once in a while a year or so ago. I took her to the vet and was told that her patella was slightly lux. It hasn't happened since (knock on wood). I know there are varying degrees of luxating patella. Have your vet take a look and make a diagnosis. If it's minor, you might have to limit exercise for a while. If it's major, then your dog could be in pain (even though she might not show it by yelping) and needs the vet's help.

I doubt it's a sprain, because that would be more of a consistent thing, with possible swelling and then you'd definitely need to take her to the vet. I think hip dysplasia would also cause more consistent limping.

Chewing on the foot might be unrelated. My dog chews on her feet all the time. She doesn't like her nails to be too long or mud-encrusted (she's such a diva! :laughing:). My sister's dog does it constantly. He has a skin condition, where the fur between his toes gets wet and he gets some sort of fungal thing going on in there. :yuck: My sister has to clean his feet with Selsun Blue, especially when the snow or wet weather hits.

geoffh4
November 12th, 2007, 03:15 PM
The patella explanation would make the most sense, but Ive read that its uncommon in medium/large breed dogs and is very uncommon in young/developing dogs.

The foot infection also makes sense because I read somewhere that it can cause pain and intching, but I would think it would be a more common issue.

I guess Ill just take her for an appt and see what they say. Hopefully its not going to be something really serious :( :fingerscr

Luba
November 12th, 2007, 03:26 PM
Do you by chance use a gentle leader or halti? This can cause nerve pressure and strain to the neck, and back end weakness.

Some dogs even have this problem walking on collar, try switching to a harness that fits around the chest and shoulders with soft padding (avoid the tough leather).

satchelp
November 12th, 2007, 09:28 PM
I still think it is typical of a luxating patella. I know people whose dogs have had this issue and when it pops out, they often don't yelp. They just pick the leg up and carry it for a bit and it pops back in on its own. The vet can easily check this by manipulating it (no anaesthesia or expensive exam required to determine this).

Writing4Fun
November 13th, 2007, 07:35 AM
The patella explanation would make the most sense, but Ive read that its uncommon in medium/large breed dogs and is very uncommon in young/developing dogs. I don't think it's uncommon in larger dogs ... it's just more common in smaller dogs. My girl is 40lbs. Not huge, but not a small dog either.

Keep us posted, and pics of your pup are always welcome. ;) :D

geoffh4
November 13th, 2007, 09:20 AM
Alright, its definately a luxating patella. Last night she picked up the leg and I could physically feel the patellar tendon and patellar had shifted medially out of its groove. I was able to slightly move it and it snapped back to where it was supposed to be. *sigh*

So now the question, how frequently does this need to happen to warrant
a) a trip to the vet
b) surgery

Is there any downside to waiting? Can it get worse? Is it causing her pain?

Do they ever do surgery on dogs this young?
Is there a chance she won't have this problem when she develops more?
Is there any chance the excercise we gave before the injury caused this problem?

I checked around a little, and it looks like surgery can cost over $1500 and is usually not covered by pet insurance....

Thanks for all the help/support so far. I feel like sometimes in life, the phrase "when it rains, it pours" really makes sense. I will do whatever it takes to keep my dog from being in pain/having a worse condition. But its frustrating when you take the necessary precautions to avoid getting a dog with a lot of hidden expenses (pet insurance, getting a mixed breed) and find out it has a congential issue that isn't covered and has a HUGE price tag...

SnowDancer
November 13th, 2007, 09:35 AM
I have VetInsurance - and it covers patellar luxation and cruciate ligament surgeries - PROVIDED - that the dog was enrolled before the first leg had a problem (often when one leg is affected, the other will follow). The condition becomes pre-existing if one leg has been diagnosed and then surgery will not be covered. VetInsurance does not cover hip dysplasia though. I would definitely take your dog to the vet.

geoffh4
November 13th, 2007, 10:17 AM
I have VetInsurance - and it covers patellar luxation and cruciate ligament surgeries - PROVIDED - that the dog was enrolled before the first leg had a problem (often when one leg is affected, the other will follow). The condition becomes pre-existing if one leg has been diagnosed and then surgery will not be covered. VetInsurance does not cover hip dysplasia though. I would definitely take your dog to the vet.

I guess thats good for you... unfortunately that comopany does not provide policies in my state. And the company I used does not cover patella luxation

Writing4Fun
November 13th, 2007, 01:26 PM
So now the question, how frequently does this need to happen to warrant
a) a trip to the vet
b) surgery

Is there any downside to waiting? Can it get worse? Is it causing her pain?

Do they ever do surgery on dogs this young?
Is there a chance she won't have this problem when she develops more?
Is there any chance the excercise we gave before the injury caused this problem?
Well, I don't have any answers other than my own experience, so take this with a huge grain of salt. :) A trip to the vet should happen the first time the dog starts limping. In your case, take her as soon as you can. An early diagnosis, with suggestions for prevention, are probably the best thing right now. As for surgery, only your vet can tell if it's warranted or not, depending on the degree of severity. I have no idea if they perform the surgery on such a young pup, but I'd be surprised if they did. At this age, it can probably be managed without surgery. There is a chance it will correct itself. Like I said, my Phoebe hasn't limped/kicked out her leg in quite some time now. I don't know if exercise caused the condition, but it might have exacerbated it.

...But its frustrating when you take the necessary precautions to avoid getting a dog with a lot of hidden expenses (pet insurance, getting a mixed breed) and find out it has a congential issue that isn't covered and has a HUGE price tag... This is a very common misconception. Getting a mixed-breed dog does not mean you'll have fewer genetic issues than you would have had with a pure-bred dog. As a matter of fact, a well-bred pure-bred dog is less likely to develop genetic issues since the breeder would have done their homework to make sure they aren't breeding a dog who might be carrying the "bad" genes. But that's a whole other rant about puppy mills/back yard breeders that I really don't want to start up here. ;) A dog is a dog, after all, and mixed or pure-bred, we love them all to bits. :lovestruck:

satchelp
November 13th, 2007, 09:40 PM
I think it would probably best to find out the grade of the luxation, but I'm guessing it is at least a grade 3 if it is popping out that often. Your dog is young, and sometimes they can grow out of it somewhat. Some vets are anxious to do the surgery, but others are more conservative and wait to see if this resolves as the dog matures a little. It sounds like your dog may have a pretty severe case though. The biggest danger in leaving it is that one of the major ligaments may go. My friends' dog had this bilaterally, and ended up shredding the ligaments in both knees a few months apart, as a direct result of the luxation. If that happens, the surgery and rehab are more involved and difficult (and therefore can be more expensive), with a longer term prognosis for arthritis in the joints.

I think you had best consult the vet to find out what exactly you are dealing with. It would probably make sense to have a couple of opinions. Good luck with this.

Luba
November 14th, 2007, 12:18 AM
If there is dislocating occuring it's best to find out and determine the cause.
It may just be easily treatable if it's caused from shortened muscles. :thumbs up

Noinin
February 23rd, 2008, 01:56 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowDancer View Post
I have VetInsurance - and it covers patellar luxation and cruciate ligament surgeries - PROVIDED - that the dog was enrolled before the first leg had a problem (often when one leg is affected, the other will follow). The condition becomes pre-existing if one leg has been diagnosed and then surgery will not be covered. VetInsurance does not cover hip dysplasia though. I would definitely take your dog to the vet.

I guess thats good for you... unfortunately that comopany does not provide policies in my state. And the company I used does not cover patella luxation

Geoff, Vetinsurance has a branch now in the US called Trupanion. A google search will give the website addy.