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New Adoptee With Wonky Hips


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About three weeks ago I adopted a sweet four year old named Trent. He seems to be happy and healthy except his hind legs are all wonky when he walks (it almost looks like the joints are too loose). It's been that way the whole time I've had him. The adoption group has no record of leg problems with him.

 

Took him to the vet today, and the vet thought it was his hips. He seemed to have limited range of motion in the physical exam (when lifting his leg to the side - like he's going to pee - the vet said he should be able to get it close to 90 degrees, and Trent wasn't anywhere near that). So we decided to do hip x-rays. The vet noted that he yelped when he was positioning him for the x-ray (they lay the dog on his back and then pull his rear legs straight - that's when he yelped) and the vet said that he fully expected to see some degeneration or arthritis or something. But on the film his hips were, in the vet's words, "beautiful." A radiologist will be coming to the clinic next week and the vet is going to ask him to look at the film in case he missed anything, but the vet thought the hips looked perfect on the film.

 

So, good news is no bad news on the X-rays, but the bad news is both the vet and I are scratching our heads. The vet said maybe it's something subtle that would only show up on an MRI or something, or maybe he suffered some nerve damage in an injury or something - he's got a pretty significant scar on his back (about 2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide) 3-4 inches in front of his right hip point, so he had a pretty nasty boo-boo at some point in his racing career. We're giving him an anti-inflammatory just in case it is something soft tissue and will see if that helps.

 

They don't seem to bother him too much - he zooms around and pounces on his toys all the time. But I don't want to ignore something that could be a major problem. It may eventually lead to an MRI or seeing a specialist.

 

Has anyone else run into a similar situation or experiences they could share? I don't know if it is a grey thing or if Trent is just a weirdo.

 

On the plus side, he was an absolute champ at the vet. Seemed comfortable (and flirted with two people in the waiting room so well that they asked for information on the adoption group) and the vet said he was an excellent patient. I decided when I got him that if he tolerated the vet well, I would see if he could be a blood donor. As long as the hips don't turn into a major issue, I think I will start the blood donor process for him.

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Did they include his spine in the x-ray? Aston had limited range-of-motion in both hips -- he couldn't/wouldn't lift his hind legs above ~45degrees on each side, and would most often just squat to pee. Hip x-rays showed immaculate hips -- vet said that due to the muscle mass in greyhound hips/butts, you very very rarely see hip issues.
I never did get to figure out all of the factors into his discomfort, unfortunately, but he had a collapsing disc in his lumbosacral area that caused him a lot of pain. X-ray and a physical exam confirmed it -- the vet stood behind Aston, lifted his hindquarters and pulled back ever so slightly in traction on the spine, and Aston screamed. :(
If Trent has a past injury, he could be compensating for current/past pain, or there could be scar tissue sticking things together and making movement awkward. Massage could help loosen things up, or maybe your vet would be willing to try Robaxin/methocarbamol (muscle relaxer) to see if that makes a difference? My understanding is that this is a very benign drug, and it can be really helpful. Aston did very well on it.

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I thought the vet said something about his spine looking okay (especially since he mentioned the spine being a possibility) but he mostly talked about his hips. I'll double check with them when I talk to the radiologist. If the radiologist says the spine looks okay, I may start to explore the possibility of an old injury/scar tissue. If in fact he didn't really look at the spine, I will request that x-ray.

 

Thanks for the info!

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How knowledgeable is your vet about greyhounds? I'd trust the opinion of a greyhound-savvy vet much more, but at four, I think I'd be inclined to go for a specialist referral to see what's going on.

 

Jeffie's hind legs are 'all over the place' when he walks, but he's twelve. I was thinking spine - and he does have one or two bone spurs in the thoracic region, as we know from an x-ray series we took of his stomach a couple of years ago - but our vets think it's neurological. They see a lot of greyhounds, but even so I'm considering a second opinion. Greyhound spines can cause trouble, especially over the lumbar region, as they age.

You may be right that he's had an injury over his loin/pelvis area which is still troubling him and it will be interesting to see if painkillers help him. Can you find out who his trainer was and ask? I wouldn't expect spine trouble in a four year old.

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This vet has been pretty good with greyhounds (and the adoption group recommends them), but I was thinking I could try another vet the group recommends who takes care of a lot of their fosters.

 

I'm not sure how I can track down the trainer, but I'll ask the adoption group.

 

It's not a highly pressing issue - other than when the vet was positioning him for the x-ray he's never acted like he is in pain. This morning he was running around after his toys with vigor. I know these guys are pretty stoic, and that would explain why he doesn't complain about walks, but I don't know why he'd bounce after his toys if he were in pain. All the same, if this is something that can be nipped in the bud before it gets worse, I want to take care of it.

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Dogs are pretty good at hiding pain, especially chronic pain. Jeffie bounces into our car like Zebedee, but he can't walk straight, often knuckles one of his hind legs and trips over thresholds.

 

Sounds like a different issue to Jeffie's, I just wanted to round out the picture a bit.

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Proper hip x-rays require anesthesia. But if the vet saw nothing, the dog is not in pain, I wouldn't be anxious to spend more money chasing after a non-problem.

 

Did the dog race at all? If not, he's probably always had a funny gait, and there's likely not much to be done about it.


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Is Trey your first greyhound? Some greys have quite a wiggle when seen from behind. :flip It's good the xrays & his behavior are fine. Can you get a little video of him?

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Thanks for the altnernative vet, recommendation. I may contact her a little down the line.

 

Trent is my second Grey, and his gait is pretty wonky compared to my last boy and other Greys I've seen, but part of it might just be how he walks. He did race in Arizona - and I may try to see if I can find video of his races somewhere to see if I can see anything wonky about his gait.

 

The last couple days he'd been favoring his left leg a bit more, and this morning he was holding his foot up so I decided to go ahead and try the other vet the group recommends. She is very greyhound savvy and sees a ton of them from the local adoption group. She checked him out from head to toe very thoroughly, noted some tenderness in his back (lumbar region), near his hip flexors and in the toes on the right foot when curled under forward. She looked at the x-rays from the last trip to the vet (the hip films I previously mentioned and they did take one of his spine as well - and kindly didn't charge me for it!) and said that the hips looked great to her too, and the spine mostly looked great too. She noted on two vertebrae she saw what may be the start of some spondylosis, but she said that was very much a "maybe" and even if it is what she suspects, it is at the very beginning. She then took x-rays of his hocks and feet.

 

So good news is that his bones look okay, but she noticed that the tendon on his right hock looked swollen on the film, but weirdly, it is the tendon on the back of the leg, which is the opposite of what his toe-bending tenderness would indicate. And while he seems to be favoring his left leg, it's his right leg that appears to have potential problems. :dunno

 

So...yeah. He's apparently kind of a weirdo. His behavior doesn't match what the tests say, but at least the tests aren't indicating anything major. The vet also mentioned that he may have a particular injury in the tendons near his hip flexors (and for the life of me, I can't remember the name of the tendon). She said that particular injury can take several months to heal, and if that is what is going on, it would explain why he's had the same weird gait for almost a month now.

 

So for now we're doing some pain meds and will get him started on glucosamine and fish oil supplements. She said that if he doesn't improve over the next couple months, then the next step would be seeing a physical therapist (or perhaps some alternative care, like the vet mentioned above). So I think I'm done throwing my money at vets for a while (knock on wood). I'm relieved that the x-rays don't indicate anything too serious. Hopefully with some pain meds, rest and some good supplements, he's show some improvement.

 

 

Thanks for all the insights, everyone!

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