One Lameness For Another

One Lameness For Another

As most of you know, I spent a large part of July trying to figure out why Simon was NQR.  It has half gone away, and half improved by a mix of strategies we’re currently working through.  Of course we can’t be drama free in the Mauldin household, and another creature is showing lameness signs… but it’s not a horse.


Pascale has been NQR for the past few weeks, and I’m concerned she has signs of hip dysplasia.

At the house and on walks, she’s been entirely normal but about two weeks ago I took her to the barn on the weekend.  There she usually plays hard with a few young dogs her age.

Her best friends
Her best friends

On Saturday, I noticed at the barn she was holding one of her hind legs up funny for a minute but I figured it was because the ground was very hot where she was standing and she was getting her pads off the heat.  She’s done that before walking on hot pavement… I swear this dog has 0 heat tolerance for a Texas dog, but I digress.

Then on Saturday night she seemed extra stiff.  I was worried, and wanted to keep her calm for a few days in case she tweaked something.  However she woke up Sunday morning fine, was fine for her morning walk/jog and so we headed to the barn.


Out there, she played but at one point when her and her dog friend were wresting she just cried out and then limped a lot.  Of course then I really worried.  We gave her baby aspirin, and decided if she wasn’t feeling better in a few days then she would go to the vet.  In about 24 hours she was totally normal.

Being the crazy googler I am (did you know PetWebMD exists now? ) I tried to learn everything I could about hip dysplasia.  I realized that she has some of the symptoms, including a very ‘hip swinging walk’ and reluctance sometimes to push up on the couch with her hips.  When she’s first out of her crate, she tends to “bunny hop” or run with both of her hind legs pushing off at the same time. I also see her act limpy usually when she jumps up or down on or off of something, but it’s not consistent.   She also likes to sleep with her legs STRAIGHT out, but I don’t know if that’s her quirk or related.

Dead dogs are dead
Dead dogs are dead

Now I’m sure you’re all yelling “TAKE HER TO THE VET” on my screen, but we have a very chill vet.  Everytime I come in there with an “OMG MY DOG IS DYING FROM BLAH PLEASE FIX” he kind of thinks I’m a crazy person and responds with, “She probably ate a bug.  We’ll watch her.”

Smush face
Smush face

This past weekend she went to the barn and played like normal.  I noticed her limping very slightly once or twice after she got up, but there was no crying or anything like the week prior.  She also laid down a bit, but only while I was riding and it’s hard to tell if she was laying down from pain or because it was hot.

Anyway, my plan is to keep an eye on her and obviously take her to the vet if she gets worse.  From my reading, it seems like most hip dysplasia dogs are treated medically instead of surgically, so I’m going to start with giving her Glucosamine and fish oil.  I figure it can only help!  It’s also very important to keep her active and on the thin side, which shouldn’t be a problem.

It's not a Pascale post without a teef shot
It’s not a Pascale post without a teef shot

Now about a week and a half after the “hurty” weekend, she’s acting 100% normal.  Perhaps I am just paranoid!  Actually, I’m most likely just paranoid.  She went from teeny tiny starved puppy to GIANT lanky teenager in a matter of weeks, so not sure if the sudden onset of nutrition led to some drastic growth spurt that caused some issues.  Either way, I’m not going to worry about it too much now.

Do any of you have experience with a young dog with bad hips?

28 thoughts on “One Lameness For Another

  1. Sounds more like growing pains to me! Check out panosteitis (which is not as scary as it sounds!), and see if those symptoms line up. If it’s growing pains, it should solve itself.

    1. That would be way better! I will look into it. Do you know if they have growing pains when they’re fully grown? She’s a year, so I know technically still a puppy but she seems to be done growing.

  2. I could be totally off, but Pascale looks like a partial pittie. That being said pitties are not known for hip dysplasia. On the other hand they are prone to ACL injuries. It could have been a slight strain that is healing but bothering her still a little with work.

    And as far as the bunny hopping. Pitties tend to tuck their butts and run off both back legs in excitement. It could be that. Just a thought.

    1. Didn’t know pitties run like that! I think she definitely has some. She’s a weird mix for sure. I thought she’d grow up to be way more pittie than she actually is.

  3. Awh 🙁 I collect arthritic animals, too, lol! My labrador (she’s around 4’ish at the oldest, rescued) had broken her leg when she was a very tiny puppy and developed arthritis in there and acted gimpy/stiff on all four legs just to get the pain off the one.

    I agree with Kate, I can definitely see some Pittie in there and we’ve raised them. They do all of those weird things like you said (Bunny hopping, sleeping with their legs straight, etc) so it could just be her breed!

  4. No hips, but the cruciate ligament saga + groin tear is quite familiar and has been chronicled on the blog a bit… PetWebMD those to see how they compare. Definitely agree with the “wait and see/provide glucosamine and oils” approach though!!

    1. I was going to add the same info as Liz. I’d have her cruciate checked. It is the #1 leg injury in medium to large breed dogs, especially younger ones that tend to play harder. The fact that she gets better with rest makes it sound like soft tissue. Partial tears are treated with crate rest and pain meds but you want to get that diagnosed NOW rather than wait for a full tear, which would require surgery by an orthopedist to fix. Cruciate tears can be diagnosed by your regular vet; they check the stifle for too much give (it’s called “checking for drawer”) and that will usually be enough for the diagnosis. They might recommend X-rays just in case but soft tissue doesn’t really show up on radiographs.

      The other common injury in younger dogs are psoas strains. The psoas is a muscle that connects the groin to the buttocks. We see A LOT of these injuries; they are second only to cruciate tears.

      I wouldn’t be thinking hip dysplasia at all. You get muscle wasting and hind end weakness with hip dysplasia, which Pascale is not showing. Hip dysplasia is grossly overdiagnosed by regular vets. I can’t tell you how many dogs we see that supposedly have hip dysplasia which turns out to be something else. The only way to confirm is with hip X-rays, which are not hard to do, but so many vets just diagnose based on symptoms and thus miss a more significant problem.

      So yes: take her to your vet. 🙂 Ask him to check her stifle for a possible cruciate tear, and her groin for pain. And if he thinks hip dysplasia, take those X-rays. It’s the only way to know for sure. In the meantime, I would not let her play with other dogs in case this is a partial cruciate tear: you don’t want that to get worse.

      1. Great info. I was thinking hips, because she was limping on both legs – wasn’t just one or the other. She has to go to the vet very soon for shots and I will ask them specifically about it then. Thanks!

        1. You’re welcome! Sorry; I was adding to the comment below as you were typing your response! Keep us posted on what they say at the vet’s when you go. I do hope it’s nothing serious.

      2. I vote against the wait and see approach in this case, just based on what I see every day at work. The diagnosis for a cruciate tear vs hip dysplasia is not that expensive, especially when compared to the cost of orthopedic surgery. No extra charge to check cruciates via palpation, and hip dysplasia can be diagnosed with a single ventro-dorsal (VD, aka taken with the dog lying on her back on the X-ray table) radiograph.

  5. Drake, being a GSD (and from a turns-out not-so-reputable breeder), doesn’t have hip dysplasia, but we do know he has ‘loose’ hips from being palpated as a younger dog (~18 months-ish). Something for us to keep an eye on, and the vet recommended we work on strengthening the muscles around his hips with stair work and straight sits (vs when they throw their hips out to the side).

    He also suffers a bit when we let him play hard, such as when he spends the weekend at my parents farm and runs around all day- he can get a little limpy and definitely a bit stiff. He’s always back to normal after a couple days.

    Anyways, if it is a hip issue with Pascale, it may not be the end of the world and just like with horses, there are things you can do to strengthen them. Obviously this is just my limited experience, but still! Hoping for the best with Pascale!

  6. The GSD puppy we had went through the exact same thing, only he was a massive wimp and cried out pretty much any time you looked at him. The vet put him on Cosequin and that helped him out a lot.

  7. My black lab/chow mix shelter pup developed hip dysplasia very early on in life (within her first year). I treated her with glucosamine & daily massages + lots of padded bedding, etc. She moved stiffly, would often yelp in pain, and ultimately just wasn’t very comfortable most of her life. I only had her for a few years before unfortunate circumstances forced me to rehome her. She still ran around and had great quality of life, but she never was 100% pain free.

  8. My Australian Callte Dog was dysplastic in both hips to some degree. I used equine glucosamine/chondroitin liquid supplements (cut in half) as a it was cheaper per dose than dog. Also added MSM daily. The MSM has antiinflammatory properties so I’d double it the day before, day of, and day after heavy play.

    She stayed mostly sound, thin-ish and happy for a good long life. She was stiffer in the AM and when it was cold. Most days though if you didn’t know you’d have no clue anything was wrong unless you noticed her 3 legged canter/gallop.

    Good luck with your pup.

  9. My cattle dog has similar “symptoms” when she plays hard. I have seen her slip on some mud while playing chase and then she favored one of her hind legs for a day. Sometimes, even a couple days later when she first gets up she picks up that hind leg for a couple steps. I have worried a bit about hip issuses, but I know ACD don’t really have hip problems, generally. I think her issue, and maybe Pascal’s is they they play hard and sometimes you tweak something and so you are sore for a day or two. Thule is never sore much past 24 hours. I stretch and move her leg and hip all around and she looks at me like I am a fool.

  10. I have a dog that has severe hip dysplasia and it doesnt ever “go away” so I would say that you are (hopefully!!!) dealing with something else. Although the funny walking is how we noticed his. Hip Dysplasia is also only ‘fixed’ surgically. We did a full hip replacement on one hip as soon as we could (9 months old). Vet said 90% of dogs would be okay with just one hip, we couldnt do both due to $ (almost 10K for both, ouch!). Many years later he tore his ACL and that sounds more like your dog, although still he never looked 100% one day and really ouchy the next.
    Sending good thoughts to your puppy!!

  11. I had a GSD that had growing pains well into his first year. We would put him on rimyadyl for a week or two and then wean him off. It seemed to happen after each significant growth spurt.

    Have a family member whose pitty just had ACL surgery, but that dog limped all of the time not on and off. Good luck.

  12. My family dog had hip displaysha for years. Worse in the winter (she lived outside until the last few years) but there were days that you never knew it existed. It’s only in the last year or two that it got so bad she had to stop going on walks with my mom. She’s 14 now and I think they’re going to put her down soon, but she also had a stroke last spring. If she wasn’t so happy they would have put her down then but they didn’t think she was done wanting to live.

    Anyway, all that was to say I hope things turn out for the better with Pascale.

  13. We just went through something similar (still in it, actually). our 2 ½ year old lab started limping on the front left. We watched it for the better part of 10 days and decided to take him in. Vet couldn’t find anything specific with just a hands on exam (no ultra sound or x-ray) but was confident Tobias had just strained something in his shoulder during vigorous play. Vet did all kind of flexion tests (as did I) and everything was negative so we passed on the x-ray etc.

    Vet prescribed an anti-inflammatory and said it might take up to 4 weeks for things to right themselves. We did the anti-inflammatories twice a day for 1 week, and now we’re down to once a day for this second week. Tobias looks great and has stopped limping. Easy and cheap fix.

    A vet exam doesn’t have to have expensive diagnostic stuff if you’re willing to do the “let’s keep him sort of quiet for a few weeks and see where we go.” Best of luck!!!! :0)

  14. No hip experience but I know our mastiffs were super prone to soft tissue issues, both had an ACL surgery and one was on “stall rest” (literally in a stall in our barn haha) to heal one of hers in an attempt avoid surgery bc we saw how hard it was on the first dog.

    I’m no vet but I’m betting it’s something like that. If it is soft tissue I would be hesitant to let her play hard on it without getting it checked? Or maybe give her some time “off” from the barn or play dates?

    Hope she’s back to normal in no time.

  15. Doggy Cosequin worked like a charm for my dogs. One had a problem jumping up on the bed – less than 2 weeks on Consequin and it went away.

  16. Me and you sound like we’ve had the same experiences when it comes to doggy lameness.

    Oscar, my little pound pup, is by far the biggest baby I’ve EVER met. He is afraid of his own shadow, constantly thinks imaginary bugs are biting him, chews himself until hes red and inflamed, and will be a grade 5 lameness one second, and completely normal when I bring him to the vet. All in the same day.

    I learned within the first year with him that unless he does it a week straight, hes probably fine. Although he occasionally does need Benadryl…

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