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Greta Van Sustren Costant
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, I have long enjoyed reading this forum for advice and thought i would finally post a question of my own. I have a red female dobie who is 2 and a half who has been limping mildly for the past month or so. Her energy and activity is not affected at all, as the limping is only bad at night after she has rested for a while. It seems like her front leg stiffens up and she needs to walk around for a while and it loosens up. She never shows any signs of pain and never wants to stop chasing her little brother Emmitt, a whippet, around the farm. I have taken her to the vet and they have not been able to figure out the source of it and think it is probably arthritis. Has anyone else experienced similar limping in a dobie this young? She doesn't seem overly hurt by it, but I don't want to miss something and hurt her long term.

 

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Greta Van Sustren Costant
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
On a few occassions she had a similar limp that eventually went away. Every time before this, however, I was able to find the source such as a split nail or cut on the pad. I live on a farm and she plays in the woods a lot, and I think she easily could have stepped in a hole or something and twisted it. She is very stoic and won't show any signs of pain on physical exam.
 

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Did the vets pinpoint the joint and/or muscles involved with the lameness? Did they do any xrays? Prescribe any supplements or medication?

A limping animal is in need of veterinary care, even if it is arthritis, they still need to be monitored and put on anti inflammatory drugs, and joint supplements.

Arthritis in a young dog is possible, most common reasons for young animals are:
Rapid growth
Over feeding
Congenital
Trauma to area (free running at young age, excessive exercise)
Excess zinc, low copper
Long term use of dexamethasome

These are symptoms of OCD (osteochondritis Dessicans), but can also be related to Degenerative joint disease (DJD), and Osteochondrosis. All in all, its basically malformation of a joint causing wear and tear, which ultimately results in: Arthritis.

So when your vets say its arthritis, where do they think it is, and what caused it?
 

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Owned by Dobes since 1975
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google.......... Panosteitis

from the sounds of her `lameness`, this homeopathic remedy may help.

google and research....... Rhus toxicodendron

another Vet visit and consultation would be a good idea.

Hugz to limpy!
 

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Heat Seeking Missile
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Stop guessing and take her to the Vet.

Could be something very simple, but you will be kicking yourself if it's something that is serious which could have been caught at first sight.

Shaun
 

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Greta Van Sustren Costant
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The vet was unable to figure out which joint was involved and suggested rest and supplements (desaquin and fish oil) before going forward with an x-ray. He wasn't sure if it was arthritis or some kind of soft tissue/ligament injury. The main problem has been my inability to keep her from playing hard and letting it fully heal. I limited her activity for a week or so and it appeared that she was improving, but she got so eager to play with her friends that I wasn't able to keep it up. She took Rymadyl for a week or so which helped a little bit, but she still limped at night when she got up. She does spend considerable time chasing a whippet around, so do you think it could just be the product of excessive exercise? My vet said that she was slightly overweight (86lbs) and could stand to lose 3-5lbs, which may make it a little bit worse. She does not limp at all while playing or once she has been moving around for a while, and usually puts weight on it with no issues. I am going out of town for a week and her activity will be considerably limited and I hope that it will heal in that time, but I want to be sure that I am not being reckless and ignoring a potentially serious health issue. Thanks so much for your help.
 

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The vet was unable to figure out which joint was involved and suggested rest and supplements (desaquin and fish oil) before going forward with an x-ray. He wasn't sure if it was arthritis or some kind of soft tissue/ligament injury. The main problem has been my inability to keep her from playing hard and letting it fully heal. I limited her activity for a week or so and it appeared that she was improving, but she got so eager to play with her friends that I wasn't able to keep it up. She took Rymadyl for a week or so which helped a little bit, but she still limped at night when she got up. She does spend considerable time chasing a whippet around, so do you think it could just be the product of excessive exercise? My vet said that she was slightly overweight (86lbs) and could stand to lose 3-5lbs, which may make it a little bit worse. She does not limp at all while playing or once she has been moving around for a while, and usually puts weight on it with no issues. I am going out of town for a week and her activity will be considerably limited and I hope that it will heal in that time, but I want to be sure that I am not being reckless and ignoring a potentially serious health issue. Thanks so much for your help.
All of these do point towards a joint problem. If it involved muscle, or tendon (ligaments show no pain symptoms) you would see her consistently limping. Intermittent lameness is associated with joint problems, which is what your girl is doing by the sounds of it. IMO a second opinion would benefit your dog, as your vet is taking this too lightly.

The bottom line is: Joint stiffness, intermittent lameness, recurring lameness, is not normal for a young healthy dog. I would look up another vet and schedule an appointment.
 

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Greta Van Sustren Costant
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Do you think I should go ahead and get a full leg x-ray? My vet was hesitant to order one yet because it would require sedation and most likely would not show anything definitive. In your experience can joint problems heal with proper rest and supplements? There is a highly reputable vet school and small animal hospital where I live that could certainly put me in touch with someone with more expertise in this area than my regular vet, but I don't want to put her through a battery of unneccessary tests and procedures if it is something minor like a sprain that hasn't properly healed because of that pesky whippet.
 

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Do you think I should go ahead and get a full leg x-ray? My vet was hesitant to order one yet because it would require sedation and most likely would not show anything definitive. In your experience can joint problems heal with proper rest and supplements? There is a highly reputable vet school and small animal hospital where I live that could certainly put me in touch with someone with more expertise in this area than my regular vet, but I don't want to put her through a battery of unneccessary tests and procedures if it is something minor like a sprain that hasn't properly healed because of that pesky whippet.
Sprains typically dont show symptoms like this. And IMO getting tests done is better than just guessing, your vet should have gone ahead with the xrays, this would have ruled out many pathologies...including a sprain.

Like I said, I would go find another vet. Ive xrayed hundreds of dogs, and only two out of all of them needed sedation.
 

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Do you think I should go ahead and get a full leg x-ray? My vet was hesitant to order one yet because it would require sedation and most likely would not show anything definitive. In your experience can joint problems heal with proper rest and supplements? There is a highly reputable vet school and small animal hospital where I live that could certainly put me in touch with someone with more expertise in this area than my regular vet, but I don't want to put her through a battery of unneccessary tests and procedures if it is something minor like a sprain that hasn't properly healed because of that pesky whippet.
I think you should MAKE her rest :) You get to decide how much she exercises. I would give her 2-4 weeks of rest, no chasing, no over doing it. Then I would let her go back to CONTROLLED exericse, walking on leash, extending the period of time, etc.

Why would a leg xray require sedation? Is there any other vet int he area that could do it without? I've only sedated one dog ever for an xray and he had a temperament issue. All other dogs have been held be me and vet techs.
 

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Greta Van Sustren Costant
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
According to my vet it is difficult to get an accurate x-ray of a dog that is not sedated because the body needs to be twisted in a position in order to isolate each shoulder in order to get a clear picture without overlap. I don't really know myself, but it made sense the way that he explained it. I am going to do my best to control her exercise. I need to quit being such a softie and give her some tough love, even if it means she has to watch her brothers play outside. The problem is that when they don't play outside they then try and play more inside and jumping up and down on furniture seems to be even worse on her joints. I may have to let her stay at my mother's house for a while where things are a little calmer. Thanks for all the help. I love knowing that there is a community of compassionate and knowledgable dobie-people that I can go to for advice.
 

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Mac had to be sedated for her hip rads, but not the first round of just the knee. It depends on a lot of factors, including the position needed, and the pain level. I have no problems with sedating a dog for x rays. Better to get the best possible pic with the least discomfort. It's not a general, so the risks are almost nil as far as I know.

That being said, I think you need a second opinion. We very recently went through a similar situation, where a GP vet said it was likely a soft tissue issue. Rest and rimadyl. It wasn't, and the delay in a proper diagnosis cost us dearly, in every concievable aspect. Money, time and Macs quality of life. Had it goneon much longer she WOULD have lost her leg. As it is we had to have a "salvage" surgery and removed part of her femur.

Trust your gut. If there is something wrong with your dog demand answers and dontstop till you find a vet who can make a definitive diagnosis
 

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According to my vet it is difficult to get an accurate x-ray of a dog that is not sedated because the body needs to be twisted in a position in order to isolate each shoulder in order to get a clear picture without overlap..
Ah, good point! I've only done back, hip, knee xrays. Then again we did part of the annual exam with one of my dogs on his back in the back thingy after his hips...they don't mind for the most part.

I have an 8.5 yr old Vizsla who limped on the 24th. I kept her quiet for 7 days. Started slow leash walks, ignored her screaming to play with the other dogs :), kept her leashed to me the first week. I did let her run with the other dogs at the river yesterday and tada...the limp came back. You DO NOT want to go that route :( So now we are going to give it 30 days of no off leash river running. Go back with slow controlled walks and supervised play. If she comes up lame again, we will go straight to the vet. With my dog the limp was gone both times within 24 hours also.
 

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If X-rays are clean, then your looking at soft tissue damage. If there are lesions, blemishes, fractures, or other abnormalities in the X-ray, that would rule out sprain :)
If x-rays are clean, that only means that what you went looking for was not found. Neurological issues, for example, would neither be found on an x-ray or be classified as soft tissue damage.

If there are abnormalities on an x-ray, that does not mean that there is not also soft tissue damage. To say that is to say that concurrent conditions cannot exist.
 

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If x-rays are clean, that only means that what you went looking for was not found. Neurological issues, for example, would neither be found on an x-ray or be classified as soft tissue damage.

If there are abnormalities on an x-ray, that does not mean that there is not also soft tissue damage. To say that is to say that concurrent conditions cannot exist.
I'm going off of what the vet said, he thinks it's either soft tissue or arthritis. An X-ray would point you in the right direction. If it were OCD, DJD, or any congenital problem, there is minimal soft tissue damage. Neurological problems usually have multiple symptoms, ataxia is one of the last symptoms to show. Any nerve damage would show knuckling over, maybe some muscle atrophy, and limb dragging.
 

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Greta Van Sustren Costant
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks to everyone for the great advice. I am going to completely rest her for the foreseeable future and will schedule an appointment with another vet to get an X-ray ASAP. I have one more observation, which may be nothing, but I thought I would list it. Whenever she gets up and the limping is really bad(normally at night after she has been napping for a while) she intensely stretches by sticking out her front paws and lowering her front end with her rear in the air. It looks to me like that would stretch out her shoulders. Does that point to a shoulder injury or is that just normal dog stretching? All my dogs stretch like that, but she does it immediately upon standing whenever the limp is bad, which makes me think it is related. I know that it doesn't change my course of action, but I am curious if it is a sign that may help me point the vet in the right direction.
 
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