Dog food causing leg cramps?
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Thread: Dog food causing leg cramps?

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    Member Zoe'sMom's Avatar
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    Dog food causing leg cramps?

    Hi all, I've posted about this over on the Health forum but I thought I'd come over here to get more opinions on a theory I have.

    So Zoe is a 14 month old mutt. A couple months ago she started getting leg cramps about once a week in her back left leg. These cramps didn't appear to cause any pain and would go away in less than a minute. The vet examined her in October and didn't find anything wrong but mentioned that if I continued to be concerned I could bring her back for X-rays.

    Recently, the leg cramps have started happening at least once a day, still don't seem to cause her any pain, but stick around for much longer (up to 10 minutes). She doesn't seem to mind if we try to massage the leg and if we're at the dog park or out on a run the leg cramps don't even slow her down.

    We noticed over the 4 days we were OOT with her that she only got 1 leg cramp and were wondering if this has anything to do with her being able to pilfer some of the other dog's food (Purina) in addition to her normal food (Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul).

    Is it possible there's something missing in the CS and she was getting when she stole the other food? She's only been on CS since mid-summer, and the leg cramps started at the end of the summer/early fall. She currently gets CS twice a day except twice a week when she gets canned Nature's Recipe for dinner.

    Thanks!

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    Re: Dog food causing leg cramps?

    Has she been checked for Pano? It's a bit late for the onset, but if she's still growing, it's a possibility. I doubt it's something in either food causing the cramping, but experience has taught me that the fastest way for a growing pup to get pano or other growth related joint problems is to allow them access to two seperate feeds. The calcium to phosphorous ratio is going to be different in both brands, and each is going to offset the other's balance if fed at the same time. It would have no effect on an adult dog, but with growing joints, yeah. I had one get pano from sneaking pieces of my GSD's high protein feed along with his regular Canidae at the time. Have also had it when switching a pup from a very low quality, low calcium feed to a very nutrient dense one - that will bring it on like clockwork ...

    Now it may not be Pano or anything growth related, but if it were me I'd ask the vet to check and perhaps even give her Metacam or just OTC baby aspirin to help with the discomfort.

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    Member Zoe'sMom's Avatar
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    Re: Dog food causing leg cramps?

    Thanks for the reply, I had no idea adding in the occasional wet food could cause harm! Our vet encouraged it, saying it would be good to add the variety in type of meat and to get her used to wet food, in case we need to ever give her medicine via powder again (she had a bout of worms when we first got her). I was reading up on Pano and it implies that it's very painful for dogs, but Zoe hasn't exhibited any signs of pain. Is she just hiding it or is it possible it's really not bothering her?

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    Re: Dog food causing leg cramps?

    I'm really glad that I found this thread. My dog's hind leg has been cramping us as well. Yesterday morning I took her to the vet because I was convinced that she had an injury. He insisted that she was fine and later that night she prooved it by running around the house like a happy crazy woman. I figured she was cured but then this morning she was hoping around on three legs again. This is also the first morning that she didn't eat her breakfast. I adopted her 7 days ago so now, based on your thread, I'm wondering if the change in dog food is causing the problem. I feed her Science Diet Nature's Best. Her foster mom was feeding her costco brand kibble.

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    Re: Dog food causing leg cramps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe'sMom View Post
    A couple months ago she started getting leg cramps about once a week in her back left leg. These cramps didn't appear to cause any pain and would go away in less than a minute. The vet examined her in October and didn't find anything wrong but mentioned that if I continued to be concerned I could bring her back for X-rays.

    Recently, the leg cramps have started happening at least once a day, still don't seem to cause her any pain, but stick around for much longer (up to 10 minutes).
    Feed her a higher potassium diet or maybe some potassium pills. As intermittent as this is, I don't think it is anything that will show up on x-rays.

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    Member Zoe'sMom's Avatar
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    Re: Dog food causing leg cramps?

    Quote Originally Posted by RawFedDogs View Post
    Feed her a higher potassium diet or maybe some potassium pills. As intermittent as this is, I don't think it is anything that will show up on x-rays.
    Any recommendations on a type of higher potassium food?

    Quote Originally Posted by leigh29 View Post
    I'm really glad that I found this thread. My dog's hind leg has been cramping us as well. Yesterday morning I took her to the vet because I was convinced that she had an injury. He insisted that she was fine and later that night she prooved it by running around the house like a happy crazy woman. I figured she was cured but then this morning she was hoping around on three legs again. This is also the first morning that she didn't eat her breakfast. I adopted her 7 days ago so now, based on your thread, I'm wondering if the change in dog food is causing the problem. I feed her Science Diet Nature's Best. Her foster mom was feeding her costco brand kibble.
    How quickly did you switch over her food? Does she have any diarrhea or vomiting? If you switched too quickly it could be messing with her system and causing an imbalance. Also, if it's only happening in the morning, it could just be due to general stiffness or possibly even arthritis (the first thing my vet suspected). How old is she?
    Last edited by Zoe'sMom; 12-11-2008 at 03:43 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Re: Dog food causing leg cramps?

    [QUOTE=Zoe'sMom;429502] Any recommendations on a type of higher potassium food?

    Sorry, I'm not a kibble feeder. I can't help you with that. I just know low potassium is a major cause of cramps in humans and dogs.
    Last edited by RawFedDogs; 12-14-2008 at 03:53 PM.

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    Re: Dog food causing leg cramps?

    I have been following Zoe leg story for awhile, and I hope all turns out well for her. I know she is a medium size dog, but did the vet say anything about a luxating patella. I know I mentioned this before but this may not show up on x ray either. have you thought about a glucosamine suppliment with her incase it is joint related? may be worth a look into.

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    Re: Dog food causing leg cramps?

    Quote Originally Posted by All about Eva View Post
    I have been following Zoe leg story for awhile, and I hope all turns out well for her. I know she is a medium size dog, but did the vet say anything about a luxating patella. I know I mentioned this before but this may not show up on x ray either. have you thought about a glucosamine suppliment with her incase it is joint related? may be worth a look into.
    Thanks for following and commenting on my posts, they've been very helpful!
    When the vet examined her leg he said he was specifically checking her knee cap but would you be able to tell luxating patella from that? The research I've done on it also says that it commonly slips out when the dog is being active, but Zoe almost always gets her leg cramp when she gets up from sitting or laying down. The vet also appeared to be checking for Pano by seeing if her leg would do that drawing/see-sawing thing I saw on the video someone posted over on the dog health side. We're headed to the pet store today to ask about either a dog food with higher pottasium amount or some kind of supplement we can try for awhile.

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    Re: Dog food causing leg cramps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe'sMom View Post
    When the vet examined her leg he said he was specifically checking her knee cap but would you be able to tell luxating patella from that? The research I've done on it also says that it commonly slips out when the dog is being active, but Zoe almost always gets her leg cramp when she gets up from sitting or laying down. The vet also appeared to be checking for Pano by seeing if her leg would do that drawing/see-sawing thing I saw on the video someone posted over on the dog health side.

    Yes, a Vet can manually palpate the kneecap to diagnose luxated patellas; x-rays are completely unnecessary unless it is determined that the luxation is so bad the dog may require surgery. Flexing the leg will pop out the knee if it's a lower grade of luxation ... you cannot check for Pano by flexing the leg because Pano is simply an inflammation of the longbones of the leg. Can only be diagnosed by x-ray. If it is something as simple as Pano, low dose baby aspirin (or dog aspirin, which is low dose aspirin with a pic of a dog on the label, lol) should help alleviate the pain and inflammation.

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    Re: Dog food causing leg cramps?

    Quote Originally Posted by UrbanBeagles View Post
    Yes, a Vet can manually palpate the kneecap to diagnose luxated patellas; x-rays are completely unnecessary unless it is determined that the luxation is so bad the dog may require surgery. Flexing the leg will pop out the knee if it's a lower grade of luxation ... you cannot check for Pano by flexing the leg because Pano is simply an inflammation of the longbones of the leg. Can only be diagnosed by x-ray. If it is something as simple as Pano, low dose baby aspirin (or dog aspirin, which is low dose aspirin with a pic of a dog on the label, lol) should help alleviate the pain and inflammation.

    You're right, sorry, I was thinking of the Cruciate Ligament Rupture lulu had suggested that shows Drawer Sign that I thought he was looking for. If it is Pano do you know how long this will go on? She does not appear to be in any pain, she pretty much ignores the leg cramp when it's happening, it doesn't feel like there's any noticeable inflammation and she doesn't care if we touch/massage/whatever to the leg when it is cramped. Do you think we should just keep her on the Chicken Soup and see if it goes away?

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    Re: Dog food causing leg cramps?

    I don't think it's pano. Pano usually moves from leg to leg, is very painful, and has nothing to do with cramps.

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