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Intermittent Limping


Guest NYChound
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Guest NYChound

My 3 yr old has been limping off and on for two weeks now. Unclear what triggered it -- we took him to the park after work and he was sprinting around as usual, came home without incident, ate dinner, lay down...and two hours later when he got up he had a major limp on front left leg. Since then, it's been off and on.

 

No hard running since then, just leash walks. The limp is much less noticeable, but it hasn't gone away. Is this normal? I've pushed and prodded up and down his legs, checked, re-checked, re-re-checked pads, nails, etc. The only spot I get the slightest reaction from is at the very top of his "shoulder blades," near his spine.

 

He's otherwise happy, bouncy and playful. I just am unsure whether it's a pulled muscle that's taking a while to heal, or if it's time to set the doggie doc. Thanks for your advice.

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If he were mine, and it was still going on after two weeks, I'd take him to the vet if for not other reason than to assure myself it's probably just some kind of strain. You can also get a course of NSAIDs from the vet, which might help (a lot).


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I agree about seeing the vet. If only for your own peace of mind. If you are in NYC and don't have a good vet, I can certainly give you the name of mine and he does homecare so there is no "ooh, I hate going to the vet" for your pup. In fact he was here this morning to draw blood for the tests for my girl's upcoming dental. She didn't even twitch.

 

I hope your pup feels better soon!

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Maybe a corn????

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Guest KennelMom

I'd check for a corn, though not my first guess since you can pretty much attribute it to a specific activity - the trip to the park when he started limping 2 hours after (their adrenalin often hides injuries while they're running/playing). My first guess would be a toe dislocated...they don't always swell up, esp if they pop back in to place. After two weeks, I'd be going in just to have the vet have a look-see and maybe an xray. I wouldn't be too worried at 3 that it's something more than a muscle strain, pull or bum toe. Anything's possible, but I would bet it's something minor.

Edited by KennelMom
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Guest NYChound

KennelMom, thank you so much for the reassurance. You know how it is, of course I start thinking the worst -- I figured a muscle strain would have healed by now. Hadn't thought about toe dislocation. Any way for me to tell? Or is it a vet question? Thanks again for the advice, he is a fit, active hound and it's hard to see him hurting...

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I'd check for a corn, though not my first guess since you can pretty much attribute it to a specific activity - the trip to the park when he started limping 2 hours after (their adrenal often hides injuries while they're running/playing). My first guess would be a toe dislocated...they don't always swell up, esp if they pop back in to place. After two weeks, I'd be going in just to have the vet have a look-see and maybe an xray. I wouldn't be too worried at 3 that it's something more than a muscle strain, pull or bum toe. Anything's possible, but I would bet it's something minor.

Agree with all of this, and to the poster who mentioned that at the very least you can get some NSAIDs from your vet to provide some relief. You should also probably rest him UFN even though the limp is intermittent. It may be that it's a slight muscle sprain/pull that he's aggravating with activity. :goodluck I really think at that age and given the dog park trip it's not what you're most worried about. :nod

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He could also have thrown out something around his neck/spine, especially since that's where you notice pain. Definitely vet visit needed. If it's up in that area, acupuncture has helped lots of hounds on this board in addition to NSAIDS.

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Could be many things, of course, as others have mentioned, but I'm wondering too if the problem could be in his neck/spine since that's where you noticed a slight pain reaction. I had a similar problem with one of mine who as it happens was also 3 at the time. He would limp intermittently on a front leg after hard running or heavy playing. After a period of rest, lead-walking, painkillers, muscle-relaxants etc he would appear to be better, but the problem would again recur after running or heavy playing.

 

Our regular vet had no idea what the problem was so we took Sunny to see a very experienced greyhound vet, who found that the problem was a slighly misaligned vertebra at the base of his neck, just about where the shoulder blades meet. Apparently the misaligned vertebra causes pressure on the ulna nerve and thus causes pain and lameness in a front leg. This vet has a lot of experience with racing greyhounds and told me that it's a fairly common injury but often overlooked by regular vets.

 

We treated Sunny with chiropractic and it took a few sessions but he gradually recovered and now generally only needs a couple of sessions a year just to check him over.

 

If the problem keeps recurring despite rest and anti-inflammatories, and your vet can't find the problem, I'd consider getting an opinion from a vet experienced in treating greyhounds if you can.

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Guest NYChound

The spine/vertebra idea makes a lot of sense, since this is the only spot after endless prodding and manipulating I am able to get even a slight reaction from. Frustrating how stoic this guy is, like he thinks I'm going to trade him in for a new one if he shows he's in pain!

I am taking him to the vet tomorrow - I plan to bring everyone's smart ideas to share.

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Guest GreysAndMoreGreys

Do you know if your dog had any racing injury? My dog had a stopper bone injury while he was racing and if he runs too hard or too long he will start limping and it can last for weeks. It's just his old injury flaring up.

 

Kathy

This was my first thought as well.

Ankle and stopper injuries often don't really show up until the dog gets out and runs hard. Then the old injury will flare up and the hound will limp for a week or more.

 

With the ankle and stopper injuries what normally happens is there is a small chip of bone that is floating around. When they run hard it causes irritation and that is why the limping starts all over again.

 

Have you tried taking his front feet and flexing them back toward the stopper pad. With a bit of pressure, if it's an ankle or stopper they will let you know it hurts.

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Guest 4dogscrazy

Good advice already given, I just wanted to remind you to muzzle him when you are poking and prodding :) I'm a worrier!

 

ETA: good luck and keep us up to date when you can!

Edited by 4dogscrazy
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Don't know what part of the country you are from but in the vet's office I used to work at we would see this in lyme cases. A yearly combination heartworm/lyme test would be a pretty low cost start.

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Our hound had similar issues. He came home to us at 3 yo and had had a fracture in his foot that no one knew about, so it went untreated for a long time. He limped a bit, and we didn't really run him much, and it healed itself, but would flare up if he hit it wrong or ran around too much. Sometimes he'd pull up short while running and cry and then limp home. Other times he'd seem fine til a few hours after the running and then start limping for a few days. This went on for years. We kept getting Valley Fever/Lyme tests to make sure, but it was basically an old injury that had to fix itself. We laid off running for awhile (as much as you can actually keep a hound from running) and then gradually started letting him run in the yard again. He's now 8, and hasn't shown any signs of the problem for a year or two. But yeah, that means it took 3-4 YEARS for it to resolve itself!

 

Maybe if we'd gone all out and gotten ultrasounds and chiropractors involved we'd have found something, but we didn't have the money for it and the vet wasn't interested in doing all that anyway. He just said, "If it hurts him to run, he shouldn't run."

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