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Torn Leg Ligament or Muscle?

January 11th, 2011, 12:19 PM
I took Sadie out for some rigorous exercise over a week ago. I call the exercise "Going Fishin'". I've constructed the fishing rod from an old golf club missing its head, a rubber cord as a shock absorber and a thick piece of cord. Sadie goes crazy for it and gets a good work out chasing and catching the cotton cord as I swing it around.

As we were walking to the alley way to play our game she slipped on very slippery ice. She's a corgi pem so has very short legs and being close to the ground didn't have far to slip down. She's also very active and limber. She didn't yelp or show any sign of being hurt such as limping. We spent about fifteen minutes playing this game. She chases, catches, tugs and lets go the rope and then we begin again. Sadie's will be ten in nine days. She's a little heavy (33 pounds and should be about 25 pounds). I keep the exercise short now as I know she's no longer a pup.

When we returned to the house she didn't limp or showed any sign of pain over the next few hours. She is a hurry dog and runs when going up or down the stairs. We rent out rooms and Sadie like to visit. Hours later she began to favour her right front leg—held leg up with paw dangling. She couldn't hold her chicken back down with her right paw to eat it and when standing would hold leg up.

I know she had gone down stairs to visit (and probably beg for food) as one renter was home at the time. It was after this visit that I first noticed her predicament but I didn't notice it upon her immediate return.

I can't say that the house mate pushed the dog off the chesterfield or hit or kicked her. I hadn't heard a yelp from the basement. I suspect he is not crazy about Sadie though he has never shown any meanness towards her.

Sorry for the long windedness but I want to cover all details.

I thought nothing of it as she wasn't crying though she was limping terribly. I figured it was a simple sprain or so. Two days later she was still limping but it seemed to be better. She had just had her annual check up and shots and had a perfect bill of health and the bill, as usual, was substantial. She could put pressure on her leg though she limped. She wan't hopping on her left leg anymore.

It has now been a week and she still walks well upon waking but then a slight limp becomes evident. At this time and for personal reasons we could not afford the thousand dollars or more that surgery would cost and since she can walk on it and stretch her leg and paw out I am assuming the worst case scenarios are that the ligament is torn but not severed but more likely, a muscle is pulled or stretched. Time would be the best medicine. At its worst, I have given her half a regular aspirin for inflammation and applied cold compresses. The soreness is in the upper leg, not the paw or any joint when I gently massage her.

I do goof around and make jokes at times but I do take my Sadie's health seriously. This has really got us down. Do the good members have any experience and suggestions for this problem. I know she is aging as she doesn't heal as quickly as she used to. I will never put an elderly pet through the horror I did to my last beloved pet on the operating table. That was a show I still have nightmares about ten years later. I've started giving her glucosamine and chondroitin and stopped the aspirin.


January 11th, 2011, 12:28 PM
Perhaps a trip to the vets for some anti-inflammatory drugs might help. Not sure how useful 1/2 an aspirin is for dogs :shrug:. In the meantime, rest and no vigorous play until she's not favoring the leg anymore. Can you keep her on a leash indoors to prevent her from running (I know our little girl is forever tripping going up the stairs as she's always in a rush :rolleyes:)?

January 11th, 2011, 12:28 PM
My very agile manchester had an issue last summer. Started to limp after an aggressive run. Limp went away after 48 hrs. But I did massage and comfort him. Left him inside so he would not re-injure it. Happened again couple months later, but nothing came of it. Of course the vet should rule out the issues, look over the paws too to see if anything was scraped or cut.

January 11th, 2011, 12:34 PM
Can you keep her on a leash indoors to prevent her from running?

Brilliant idea, luckypenny. It is hard to think clearly in times of worry.

I need to find a better more caring vet. I hadn't thought of anti-inflamitories. I could only think of operations. Another good idea.


January 11th, 2011, 12:44 PM
look over the paws too to see if anything was scraped or cut.

Another good idea, Marty11. I had felt her paw but not really looked at her pads or between her toes. I did a quick check but am going to get the scissors and clip her hair for a clearer view.

And I'v just followed luckypennies' advice to leash her so she can't run off suddenly. Animals don't always favour a hurt the way we do. Must be more aware of this from now on.


January 11th, 2011, 12:47 PM
I had a similar situation a few weeks back when my Raggs went outside and when he came in he was holding his front forepaw loose and unable to put weight on it. I assumed he had slipped on the ice outside. This continued for a few days and due to circumstances beyond my control I couldn't get him to the vet. After a week I was able to take him there but he was now able to limp along on the paw at times. The vet couldn't find anything wrong with his paw or leg.

The following day I noticed a clear discharge under his 'elbow' that appeared to be coming from the joint. I cleaned him up and he has been able to bear weight on it ever since with only the occasional limp when he has been using the stairs more than usual.

I have no idea what the problem was but I assumed he had twisted or pulled a ligament or muscle over the elbow and there was fluid buildup that couldn't be felt on the outside. When that fluid drained after about 10 days, it was fine. I normally would take him to the vet immediately but this time I wasn't able to and time seemed to heal the problem. Maybe as you say, time will heal all for Sadie :fingerscr I hope so :)

I'd have a look at the joint in her front paw and see if you can feel anything different when comparing it to her other front paw. :thumbs up

I had a very large lab/shepherd who tore the ligament in her left knee and then a year later in her right knee. She was unable to put any weight on the paw afterwards but there also was no improvement in the next few days and she required surgery to fix them. :( but was fine after each surgery.:)

January 11th, 2011, 01:01 PM
The following day I noticed a clear discharge under his 'elbow' that appeared to be coming from the joint.

I just checked and can't see anything like this, dpg10, and there doesn't seem to be anymore swelling, but will continue to check this area.

I'm not one to take any drugs and use homeopathic and natural food elements most of the time. I'm off the health food store to get natural anti-inflammator medicine.

I can't go into detail at the moment, but from my last experience with my other pet and cancer and a horrible operation and pain, the good vet told me that human medicines didn't work for animals and there wasn't a lot of research in this area for animals.

Your experience has been reassuring an comforting.


Sandra RVT
January 11th, 2011, 08:34 PM
Since your dog is getting older this may just be arthritis. If it doesn't improve soon though I would recommend a vet visit. You should also call your vet before giving the homeopathic anti-inflammatory as many contain willow bark or other ingredients which can interact with aspirin based meds and cause complications if not enough time is given in between the medications. Your vet can give you a better idea of which medications would interact and how much time you should wait in between.

Sandra RVT
January 11th, 2011, 08:35 PM
...Also remember that even if your vet diagnoses something you are still the one who knows her best and who can make the best decisions for her. Knowing a diagnosis won't change it but will allow you to make an informed decision.

January 12th, 2011, 02:52 PM
call your vet before giving the homeopathic anti-inflammatory

Excellent points, Sandra RVT,
I am always extremely careful in these matters, but in desperate situations, such cautions have been thrown to the wind to the possible detriment of the animal. So good to be reminded.

At the health food store a very knowledgeable worker suggested flax seed oil which is high in omega 3 and thus a natural anti-inflammatory. I could have gone with fish oil but she was very keen on it. Back at the ranch I did my internet research, just in case. One site claimed that flax seed oil didn't work well for dogs but I didn't see any negative reactions noted. Other sites highly recommended it over herbs and such. This and fish oils will be added to both our larders.

I also gave her some cod liver oil which is purported to be high in omega 3.

Her limping has greatly subsided this morning after a day having these oils. Her leg tires by afternoon, so will see how she reacts then.

An observation. I don't think anyone pushed her off a chesterfield as I had worried about. I took Sadie out on lead and when we came to the slippery spot, she went out of her way to walk on the snow around it. In the alley way she was slipping on the harder snow so I brought her back to the house and this time she waited till i had waked over the ice so she could go behind me and walk on the snow. Curious how bright dogs can be.

I checked her feet and the fur between her toes was long so I have clipped the fur and will try a short walk later in the day. She hates being cooped up.


PS An off topic point. A while after Sadie's encounter with the ice, I stubbed my left ring finger. I'm sure a whiner grander than she but after a short while it seemed ok. About two hours later I noticed the finger had swollen and was becoming quite painful. This might be about the same amount of time it took before I noticed the dog in pain. My oil has come in handy for two ailing beings.

I figure I should do some ring finger exercises so from now on when I give the finger, I'll use a ring one instead of the usual.:)

Sandra RVT
January 12th, 2011, 08:08 PM
So glad she's feeling better. She's a pretty smart dog to know to avoid the spot that caused her trouble the last time!

January 13th, 2011, 02:15 PM
I checked her feet and the fur between her toes was long so I have clipped the fur and will try a short walk later in the day. She hates being cooped up.

I have found this to be a problem with my last 2 senior dogs. If I don't keep the hair cut they slip and slide all over the tile floor in my kitchen. Sadie is a smart dog to avoid the ice patch, but I've found all my dogs to instinctively do things like this. I think dogs learn a lot faster than people in some things ;) :)

Glad to hear she's improving. I've used flax seed oil for myself for years to keep my cholesterol down to a reasonable level and I can tell you it works as well as to keep my joints mobile! :thumbs up

January 13th, 2011, 05:12 PM
It's the simple things I forget the most. The Sade gets enough exercise in the summer to keep her toe nails and hair 'groomed' but the length of her hair and nails startled me so will have to be more vigilant from now on, dbg10.

Good to know your cholesterol came down. I think the triglycerides are the really bad ones. My dad went vegetarian to bring his down and they shot up to death level. Then he went on the Atkins hard and heavy and they dropped from 2.7 to 1.17. I keep my carbs down and eat a lot of fish (non of that batter junk) but am going to continue to use the Flax oil and substitute flax seed for psyilium on both our BARF diets. My teeth sure look good with all the bones I've been chewing.:laughing:

I don't eat any processed foods which is why I am so surprised I didn't put the Sade on this BARF diet a long time ago.


April 17th, 2011, 03:22 PM
Sadie is doing better. I thought this was an important enough problem that I would add my follow up to the original post. A hurt leg or muscle seems to be quite common from what I have read on this forum and from strangers I have talked to during out strolls about the neighbourhood.

Recap of Sadie’s injury.
It has been about 3 months (13-14 weeks) since Sadie slipped on some ice on our winter walk. I didn’t hear her yelp and saw no indication that she was hurt. Indeed, I have no idea if this slip was the cause of her difficulties. After our walk I exercised her with our fishin’ game where she chases a cord and rubber bungee attached to the shaft of an old broken golf club. It is quite a vigorous work out. She showed no problem during or right after the exercise. It was later (1-2 hours?) that I noticed she was holding her right paw and at supper couldn’t hold her food down with her right paw.

Outline of my steps taken to help Sadie
1. shoulder massage, vibrated, heat packs-cold packs (later vet said cold would not get through her fur so heat pack not a good idea)
2. Carried Sadie up and down steps for six weeks or more- she would wait for me to carry her which indicates her pain
3. health items to stop inflammation: - lecithin, flax oil, flax seed, product Nutri-Flex
4. Short walks on level ground that wasn’t slippery, snow shoes to wear
5. BARF diet (carbs in humans causes water retention so I postulate the same may be true regarding canines and cats)
Unfortunately these five steps did little to help improve her lot.

What I found out from others with the same problem.
Met a neighbour and a lady on a park walk who had pets that suffered the same problem. One said it took three months for the dog to heal and the other said “many months”. Both took the pet to the vet. One within a week, the other after about two weeks of the injury. Their vets had put their dogs on anti-inflammatory medicines and a liquid pain medicine.
I go to the vet two months after the injury happened.

I prefer naturopathy and did my research but the inflammation treatment did not work. The vet sold a painkiller liquid, Metacam ($75 -32 ml bottle) and Sadie was given 10 cc every morning using a syringe. It was sweetened with honey so acceptable to the dog. The anti-inflammatory I got from the pharmacy. He suggested Robzxin ($30) (just this, not a combo mix or other name), half a tablet once a day. I broke all the tablets in half. Was told to keep him informed by email. Was told the cost covered any further visits.

I followed the regime for three weeks, 10 cc and 1/2 tablet in the morning. Sadie would go up and down stairs without waiting for me to carry her. I tried 1 day without the painkiller near the beginning of week three but I had to give her the painkiller by noon.

I went down to 8 cc during the 4th week (5 days) and she did well so I went down to 5 cc for a week and then stopped altogether. I still have about a fifth of the bottle left.

I also stopped the anti-inflammatory tablets at the same time (forgot to give actually). I noticed some limping in the early morning over this weekend so I started the anti-inflammatory half-tablet and will keep her on it for a few weeks. Have emailed the vet to see if this is a good idea.
Total cost: $168 vet visit; $75 Metacam; $30+ anti-inflammatory = $280ish

What I am going to continue to do:
I am going to continue the anti-inflammatory half pill (maybe even go down to 1/4) and am going to do more study on this to see what else I can incorporate into Sadie’s diet to keep swelling down. Flax oil didn’t seem to work. I have a lot of glucosamine, condroitan and MSM. I could easily add Tumeric to her diet and continue the fish and flax oil but I do feed her Pink or Sockeye salmon two or three times a week.

I also suspect she has heart problems as she did coughing during our first two fishin’ exercises and I had noticed some occasional coughing in March (three or four occasions). I have cut back on the length of time we spend fishin’ and we do once every second day only if the weather is good (it hasn’t been good all winter), and only after a walk so her muscles have loosened up. Her cough has cleared up but I am on the watch for this one.

Should your dog have a sudden persistent limp do go to your vet who will check to see if medication will help. I wish I had gone earlier. Mine is now quite good. He asked me to email him with the results and I sent my final report in this morning.

Cat caregivers take special notice.
Here is an interesting and important link for both cat and dog owners regarding NSAIDs Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Agents - The Vet also has other articles to search out on this site:

It’s been a long journey and I have made many missteps. When I was free from monetary worries and had a good country vet who priced his services very reasonable, I would take my pet in for annual checks and at the sign of anything out of the ordinary. (My Moh whimpered in bed one night (she was a quiet type dog) and the next day I took her to the vet. She had advanced liver cancer. That whimper was the first indication that anything was afoot.) Now I must watch my pennies so no visits unless it is an emergency.

I should have taken Luckypenny's advice but when ever I had what I thought was a little problem before, I had the good fortune to have a very inexpensive and caring vet to visit. I have a rant on vets I might post at some point.

April 17th, 2011, 07:19 PM
Glad to hear she is doing okay. If I was a member at the time I would have told you that my dog had a VERY similar injury, that was extremely serious, and at the time he also did not cry out in pain. You are going to have to be careful with that leg now probably for the rest of her life, because if the ligament was torn, it will always be weak. Whistler injured one of his cruciate ligaments, and while you can have surgery for it, I chose not to for various reasons. With rest, metacam, glucosamine/chondroitin, and cartrophen, along with severely restricted exercise for a priod, he recovered but it does still flare up. Also, I would recommend getting that extra weight off of her.

As far as the NSAID goes, going down to 1/4 pill will likely be a total waste of giving her the pill at all. What is the medication and what strength? Likely dropping down to 1/4 pill will be below therapeutic level and will NOT control her pain/inflammation. Unless this is something your vet recommended, I would not do it.

April 17th, 2011, 11:38 PM
Great information, Reanne. It is the Robaxin, not a NSAID. The vet recommended 1/2 pill so I will stick with it. The url I posted last seems to think it is ok for dogs. I just forgot to give it to her once I went down to a lower dose of the Metacam (NASID).

Tonight she was on the hardwood floor on her haunches and her right foot (the injured leg) kept slipping out from under her. I know she must have done some damage in the shoulder and I think keeping inflammation down is a good thing. I give her a scattering of psyllium in her daily broths. I'll switch to ground flax seed, maybe a 5 gr twice a day. The oil didn't seem to do anything but maybe the MS etc will. Maybe the salmon will help with inflammation. Cartrophen is said to have the same affect as glucosamine so I shall go with the glucosamine.

The weight is difficult to get off her. When she was a pup I let her self feed as recommended and she ballooned up to 33 lb. I exercises and watched her diet and got her down to 24 and kept her there for most of her life and then a few years ago others where we rented fed her treats and up she went. I walk and will do the fission' with her but only for short runs though she loves it. As I noted she is down to 2 oz or 60 gr of meat or fish a day (split in two) five days a week. Two days a week she just gets one meal. I can't do less than that I think. I'm skipping the broth made from soup stock, no carbs or fat and just going to add the salty fish sauce, three splashes, for the flavour.

Two meals of the week are a small beef soup bone (not pork - the beef bone has meat, fat and bone to it). So really, she is getting only 10 small meat meal a day, two half day fasts and two small bone meals. She does get 14 flavoured fish sauce bowls a week (negligible calories).

In the while wolves I believe kill and gorge. Then when hungry start another hunt. I wish I knew if this was the way to go. A large meal every 2nd or 3rd day? But there would have to be scientific studies over long periods to even attempt this.

Must run. Appreciate your ideas.


April 18th, 2011, 02:53 AM
Sorry I didn't see what you were giving her for the pain. Regardless of what it is, dropping it to low will probably bring it below a therapeutic level. I don't know anything about Robaxin for dogs, but you said you did your research. I generally do not change doses of anythign without consulting a vet or pharmacist beforehand (or at the very least the companion animal formulary).

As for the hardwood floor, have you thought about booties for her? Or socks with non skid stuff on them? This would keep her from sliding out and injuring her further. Or, what my parents have done is put mats and rugs all over their place for the dogs. One of those solutions might help your girl!

For the weight-what exactly are you feeding her (sorry if I missed it in here somewhere, I'm coming off midnights and get a bit brain scrambled)? You're right in that it doesn't sound like an excessive amount. Since you are into holistic medicine I'm guess you probably have reasearched dog foods, but just in case, if she's not on a grain free food I would switch her to one. You can always add canned pumpkin to her meals for bulk but very few calories.

Great avatar btw! :)

June 9th, 2011, 11:55 PM
It has been five months since Sadie hurt her right foreleg and shows evidence of pain on occasion but she is doing much better so I thought I should report back to tell what I have learned in case others have a similar problem.

The metacam lasted about 50 days as I was able to reduce her dosage as time went on from 10ml down to 5ml. Sadie was given Robaxin off and on over the past three months as needed. I had been using the Vet’s recommendation of half a Robaxin each day along with the Metacam and then on its own through May and into June. A friend had been told by his doctor to use it at night rather than during the day. He suggested that I give it to her before she went to bed rather than the morning and that she would rest easier at night and nighttime is when healing takes place and the effects would last the whole day. It seemed to work but lately there have been days when even a morning and evening half pill didn’t work.

After two days of limping in early June I took her off the Robaxin and started her on SierraSil again. I had tried it for a few days in February but I couldn’t get her to drink the recommended water for its assimilation. I should have stuck with it. This time I add a few shakes of Vietnamese Fish Sauce and a few drops of hot sauce to 300 ml of water and she usually drinks it. By the second day she stopped having pain and hasn't limped since and she’s into her eighth day. SierraSill is a mineral mix which is purported to help with joint problems and inflammation. As a natural product it should be safer for long term use. I’m giving her one tablet at night and one in the morning on an empty stomach save for the water and fish sauce. Monday I will go to one tablet a day. On the SierraSil site one tablet is the recommended amount for her weight.

If she shows any sign of pain I might add Robaxin to her programme but I hope it doesn’t come to that. If anyone has any experience with SierraSil, I would appreciated hearing about it.

The thread where I listed the ingredients of SierraSill is at

June 13th, 2011, 05:04 AM
I would try both acupuncture and chiropractic.

June 15th, 2011, 01:27 PM
Well, I had the same problem with just using Sierra Sill as I did just using the muscle relaxant Robaxin. There would be days that would either begin or end with Sadie limping or showing signs of pain or anxiety.

I am now doing both. The Robaxin before bed to relax the muscles and allow for a restful night and hopefully healing and a Sierra Sill capsule in the morning on an empty stomach but with water and some salty fish sauce and a pinch of a fishy spice that gets Sadie to drink her water. I am also adding a piece of a magnesium tablet to help with a balance of her electrolytes. I am going to pick up some potassium salts and add a pinch for the same reason.

I have leaned that there are actually four minerals needed to balance out the electrolytes: salt, potassium (the usual two) but also calcium and magnesium. Magnesium is the master controller and as long as an animal (for us, too) is getting all four components then the balance will work out naturally. I know I feel better when I take magnesium. My nerves along my arms feel better (ie not feeling shaky or anxious muscles and my handwriting is better and better formed). The magnesium also kept my mum out of hospital over severe water retention and heart failure. Her two sisters died from the same problem but they wouldn't take our advice to take magnesium.

I am going to also add the MS, Glucosamine and Condroitin.

MaxaLisa, your suggestions of acupuncture and chiropractic therapy are great ideas but I have had to give up on city vets. The last visit was $280ish (Total cost: $168 vet visit; $75 Metacam; $30+ anti-inflammatory) and the vet visit was a 15 minutes physical examination only. I could see it being thousands of dollars at this rate for my pet. I just don't have that kind of money and even if I did, loving my dog as much as I do, I wouldn't support this kinds of extortion. It just encourages their exorbitant costs and makes it worse for those (like me) who just do not have the funds.

My cousin had her dog to the chiropractor and all the quack did was put electrodes on the dogs hip. The cost was terrible and I suggested she purchase a kit to do it on her own. She got a pretty good kit over the internet and that's what she did. I will do the same. I might make one visit so I can see where the electrodes are placed. I know heat and cold won't go through the fur but I do gentle massages and that seems to help.

We will never go out on ice again.
I also walk her for a ten minute warmup before we do any of out heavier exercising - running and chasing the fishing rod - which is kept to a lower key.

I shall make a further post after I have got my electrode kit and when and if I have seen some real progress. At the least, I will report back in another three or four months.

I hope some of this will be of help to others who may find their pets in similar circumstances.