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4leggedclover

Back leg shaking - corn or arthritis or something else?

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Hello all, was wondering if anyone has any similar experiences and insight on what my 8 year old girl Clover's problem could be.

About 3 years ago she developed a corn on her back left leg.  She has the classic limping on hard surfaces that improves on soft surfaces.  We had it hulled a few times but it always came back faster and more painful so we ended up getting her a Therapaw which worked great.  She now only uses the Therapaw on and off whenever we plan on a longer walk (40+ minutes) or when she seems to be limping more than usual.  In the last year or so, in addition to the mild limping, the same back left hip/thigh muscles and knee that her corn is on has been shaking and almost appears unstable when she walks. She adjusts her standing position to put less weight on the corn/shaking leg and recently we noticed that the toes on that paw appear angled strangely in different directions, not symmetric compared to the back right leg. Once about 6 months ago, that leg actually collapsed under her while she walked - she was able to get back up and it never collapsed again, but the shaky thigh continues, mostly on the second half of her daily walks.  The vet has examined on all of her joints, none of which appear abnormal or painful except for on the toes on the paw with the corn, which she withdraws from touch.  The vet believes she may have arthritis of the opposite back right leg, but that seems odd to me as the back right leg seems fine.  Clover of course doesn't limp or shake at the vet for them to examine since she doesn't limp when she is stressed out or excited.  It doesn't seem like Caprofen or a 2 month regimen of glucosamine and chondroitin have helped the limping or shaking.  That leg has never appeared red or swollen and has never had any major injury that we're aware of. She still likes to zoomie around the house a few times a week and always starts her 3x daily walks with a fast trot until about halfway through when she seems to get tired and starts lagging behind me, shaking/limping more.  I'm wondering if she has some  muscle strain or atrophy from not putting as much weight on that leg, or a possible tendon or ligamentous injury?  Possibly a spine/nerve thing?  What do xrays cost on average?  I have been quoted about 300 for the xray it self and the interpretation for a hip xray alone.  Also, does anyone have a recommended veterinary orthopedist in the Atlanta area?

 

Thanks in advance  

Edited by 4leggedclover

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How old is your dog?

Cost of xrays is extremely location-dependent, so $300 doesn't seem out of line for a major metropolitan area.  Do NOT let them talk you into her needing anesthesia for simple leg xrays.  If they are doing a whole set, including manipulating her for a hip and spine series (which she probably needs more than just a leg), she *may* need a light dose of a reversable sedative, or anit-anxiety med to help her relax and stay still in position, but not otherwise.  Most greyhounds will just lay right where they are put for the couple seconds it takes to snap an xray.

Current thinking is that greyhound corns are a visible eruption of a deep tendon/ligament injury in the foot.  If you're on Facebook there's a great group called "Greyhounds With Corns" that offers a lot of information and support.  That being the case, the corn probably didn't "cause" her leg issues per se, but is the result of an injury and altered gait .  Then, the corn itself causes her to alter her gait further, causing the body/hips to get increasingly out of line, loss of muscle mass in less used areas, increased use in other areas.  In short, the deep injury in her foot causes the altered gait, which causes the corn, which caises the further alteration to her body mechanics, which causes the leg shaking and hind end weakness.  Addressing this issue with nsaids or supplements is not likely to help at all.  A regular schedule of hulling and daily soaking/moisturizing will help keep the corn as small and as painless as possible. 

If you visit the FB group above you will also see references to a new surgery developed by a vet in the UK called a "Flexor Tenotomy."   This addresses the underlying cause of the corn - the ligament/tendon deep in the foot - by simply cutting it and releasing the tension on the tendon.  This creates what is essentially a "sprung toe" on the toe with the corn, and sometimes results in the corn completely vanishing.  This surgery is very new - about a year or so in general use - and there are a lot of questions about long-term results, but it can also be a miracle for our dogs that suffer so from these abominable corns!

All that being said, hind end weakness, leg shaking, ocassional collapsing, and other symptoms can all be due to other causes as well - lumbo sacral stenosis, arthritis, narrowing of the spinal canal, spinal injury, cancer, and other age-related issues.  Nsaids, supplements, gabapentin (a drug to decrease nerve pain), and actual pain medication can help with quality of life going forward, but are unlikely to "cure" any of them.  But a comprehemsive set of xrays of hips/spine/shoulders is really necessary to diagnose and pinpoint where the actual cause is.  Getting them read by a competent xray specialist is a must, so don't skip that step even though it will add to the cost.


Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Chris always has great advice, so I don't have much to add other than that sometimes racing injuries are undocumented and symptoms may only resurface as the dog ages and the site becomes arthritic. We went through that with Sweep and spent a ton on diagnostics and therapies for a limp that appeared when she was almost 6. She's now 10 and we have been able to manage it with Previcox. With any NSAID, Clover will need to have bloodwork done every 6 months to make sure everything remains normal with her kidney and liver values. We only give it as often as needed to keep the limp at bay; depending on the time of year, that can be daily or not at all. Believe me, we tried every kind of natural alternative, but only the NSAID has worked to eliminate the limp. Keep up the joint supplements and definitely get the xray if you have the means to do so. I'm in Nashville, and $300 seems high to me. We pay $75 for an x-ray (one view) at the regular vet, and $55-80 at the specialty clinic plus $79 for a board certified radiologist to review. I'd expect ATL to be a little higher than here, but not that much.


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Rachel with Sweep and kitties Olive and Momo.
Always missing my boys Mud and
Henry

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Symptoms sounds somewhat similar to my 10 yo girl’s symptoms. She has no history of corns. Neurologist said based on his exam her symptoms were/are due to nerve pain in her back. Said this was common in greys. She shakes/trembles after standing for a period of time because her back is in pain. Toes are also a bit splayed on front foot to compensate as the pain radiates down a rear leg. Presentation was shaking in her right rear leg and some lameness, not using the leg much, holding it up at times, etc. I certainly thought it was a leg issue - but it is a back issue. Gabapentin has helped a lot, as has limiting the length of her walks/time spent standing. Best of luck. 

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On 1/18/2020 at 8:25 PM, GreytMom said:

Symptoms sounds somewhat similar to my 10 yo girl’s symptoms. She has no history of corns. Neurologist said based on his exam her symptoms were/are due to nerve pain in her back. Said this was common in greys. She shakes/trembles after standing for a period of time because her back is in pain. Toes are also a bit splayed on front foot to compensate as the pain radiates down a rear leg. Presentation was shaking in her right rear leg and some lameness, not using the leg much, holding it up at times, etc. I certainly thought it was a leg issue - but it is a back issue. Gabapentin has helped a lot, as has limiting the length of her walks/time spent standing. Best of luck. 

This is also exactly us, with our 10y9m senior.  We're going to do x-rays when he's due for his next bloodwork in March, just to take a look, but the vet was able to palpate him and find exactly where in his lower spine is bothering him.  We started him on Adequan injections in October, as well as joint chewables, but we think it was really the Adequan injections that gave him a very rapid and mostly sustained improvement in his rear stability and mobility.  He has fallen off a bit now that he's down to just the monthly maintenance injections.  We have Galliprant to give as needed, but he's not needed it more than a few days a month, so far.  We see a lot of ups and downs though.  Yesterday, he fell straight back onto his rump mid-poo (and of course, right onto the fresh pile :ohno), but he insists on trying to squat on icy patches instead of exposed grass, so it was eventually going to happen (my pride was hurt more than his).  Then today, he dragged me to the big dog park right outside and did several minutes of awkward, adorable, old-man zoomies.  It's hard to do, but we've also seen some improvement when we can keep his leg muscles stronger, from doing stairs a few times a day, etc.  Good luck - we'll be following along.

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Hi Clover!  I had this similar issue of a hard surface limp on a front paw with Jack (approx 8 or 9 at the time).  I successfully removed it with pressed and sliced garlic. Patience is required by both of you as it is not an over night cure ..however  i'm sure you are patient by now,especially  at the young age of 8 !  :)  

But before we begin, do you see any differences when you look at each pad? You should see something circular, which could be a corn.

Basically we press garlic and got the mush AND juices onto the pad.  In the beginning i used those corn foam pads (for humans) and stuck them to the pad and pressed the garlic into the opening, then attached a band-aid over top to keep the garlic mush and juice in.  I also used plastic wrap buy pressing the garlic onto it, then 'adhering' this onto his pad. Adhering is the fun and interesting part...think Macgyver!  Try band-aiding/self adherent wrap/taping it on.  It's not the easiest thing to do, but be creative and enjoy this bonding experience between you two !!!  :)

Try to keep the juicy garlic to the pad, as apparently to much garlic can actually sting...so it may sting the regular skin/fur area.  You can test this on yourself if you want to confirm ..just kidding.

One other side effect i noticed was Jack's pad turned PINK, like a new puppy!  I was tempted to clean/disinfect all his toes!!! LOL

Best of Luck

 

 

 

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