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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello, I was just wondering if anyone has any insight or experience with my problem. My 10 month old lab mix puppy started holding up his rear leg and slightly limping about 6 weeks ago. I brought him to the vet right away and they suggested 7 days of restricted activity with rimadyl and then reintroduce activity slowly. We did this and it was fine, but about a week later he started holding up his foot again. Back to the vet we went and they recommended to try the same thing again. I wanted X-rays done but she said that it could not be a fracture or tear because he would be exhibiting much more lameness and it was either a soft tissue injury or something that would require lifetime management such as hip dysplasia. We rested him for 7 more days, now last night the lifted foot is back again. By this evening it has disappeared again. When he is in his resting phase it completely goes away, but when we reintroduce the normal range of activities it comes back. I am taking him to an orthopedic specialist next week. I am just so worried and losing sleep over this I was hoping someone has had a similar experience. It is also soooo hard to have him on these resting weeks. He is a puppy with lots of energy. Any suggestions are most welcome. Thanks for reading
 

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I went through this with a lab we raised. Originally I thought it was a soft tissue injury and some thought it was Pano, the vet wasn't sure, but was leaning towards soft tissue. We too rested a week, then resumed activities and it came back immediately. Ultimately we ended up rested for 2 weeks solid and slowly worked our way back to normal activities. The limp never came back. Without seeing the dog, your vet's advice seems to be in line, to me, although I'm not sure why he's not ok with getting some xrays done. I recall mine was ok with getting them, but didn't feel they were necessary at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks so much for your reply! I'm glad to hear your dogs limp did not return. My vet was ok with doing X-rays but said she didn't think they were necessary at this time so we decided to wait a bit longer and see what happened. I guess the specialist will do X-rays.
 

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Well, it did return after the initial 7 day rest period, so we extended the rest period for a couple of weeks. When we give pain relievers, our dogs may begin to feel better and resume activities they shouldn't before the injury is heeled and consequently re-injure. I think we stopped giving Rimadyl when it recurred so we would have a better handle on whether he was truly heeling or not.

I hope he gets better soon.
 

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We went through a similar situation. I got home from work one day to find my dog limping; she had been crated all day and my husband said nothing unusual happened in the morning. The vet found a sensitive spot on one toe, told us to rest her for 2 weeks, and prescribed Rimadyl as needed. Our vet also said that xrays weren't needed right away as she believed it was a soft tissue injury. We were told that if the limp didn't go away with rest and Rimadyl xrays would be the next step.

We gave her a dose of Rimadyl after leaving the vet's office and she was fine the next morning. My husband rushed the rest period (gave her maybe a week of restricted activity) and the limp came back a month later. We did the same thing (including my husband shortening the resting period) and the limp returned. Finally, after my husband allowed her to really rest (no running, just leash walks) for two weeks she was fine and the limp hasn't returned.

Another cause could be a tick-borne disease (e.g., Lyme, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis). If you're in an area with ticks and haven't tested for these disease, it could be worthwhile.
 

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I'm going through something similar now. My dog has tested positive and been treated for Lyme twice, but we're not sure if it's causing his limp. The limp did switch legs between the first instance in July and the current one which was weird.

Now he will occasionally favor the one foot/leg. Other times he will move wide in front, but otherwise won't be limping (it's subtle).

So I'm not much help other than to say I know what you're going through. If you haven't tested for tick bourne diseases and you're in an area where they are common, definitely look into that. The main issue with treating for Lyme is that the antibiotic is also an anti-inflammatory, so it can seem to fix the limp even if it's not Lyme related, only to have it return later.
 

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Kidogo had slight lameness in his left leg at 5 months. The vet suspected soft tissue injury, because his symptoms were so mild, but upon further examination she found that the pain was in his knee. It was a little hard to tell, because he didn't whine or cry, just kind of winced a little when she was moving the knee. She went ahead and did the xrays, she said it maaaaybe looked like a partial ACL tear, but it was hard to tell, and sent us home with metacam (anti-infammatory) and a referral to a specialist. Specialist called and said ACL tear is rare for such young puppies, it might be something else (OCD I think--not sure what that is). After he examined the xrays he said it was a partial ACL tear, but it was strange that he wasn't limping more than he was. We rested him for a long time. He has some left leg is a little bit weaker now, because he was holding it up a little bit for such a long time, but his knee doesn't bother him anymore.

It could be something different even though your pup is not experiencing the "right" symptoms. As for restless puppy energy, we did more trick training with him. He isn't very good at it (easily distracted), but the training sessions in themselves tired him out enough. Also, provide him with lots of chews, antlers, bully sticks, stuffed kongs.
 

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FACT IS: A lot of puppies suffer this whilst they are growing. Swimming is a great way of getting the right exercise safely. The muscles will build up around the effected areas and you'll be amazed how quickly your dogs will start getting better. Try and find a canine hydrotherapy place near you and speak to them about it.
 

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My understanding is that swimming is unsafe for dogs with acl and other injuries. Where injuries are present you should always seek your vet's opinion first. Otherwise, i would agree with most of your statement.

Post surgical and muscle building rehabilitation hydro therapies are very different from attempting rehabilitation on undiagnosed or pre-treated injuries.
 

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With all respect, what was said about swimming a dog with a cruciate ligament injury is untrue. I've swum more than 2000 dogs over the past 11 years. I am trained and very experienced when it comes to treating dogs. I've dealt with dogs that have had the operation as well as dogs that haven’t and every time the results are the same - dogs got better.

From the original post it doesn't seem like a cruciate and maybe hip dysplasia as your vet suggested. I would suggest that you start swimming twice a week for a period of 5 weeks and then see if the dogs limping. In fact, I can tell you - it will either be gone or you'll hardly notice it. The just keep the swimming going once a week as maintenance.

I had a newfie who was diagnosed with HD at the age of 6 months. He started swimming soon after. At age one and a half, he had a cruciate injury. After the operation it was found that he had contracted MRSA and was hospitalised for months. Because of this and once it started spreading to the bone, his back leg was then amputated at the age of 2. This is when I built a hydrotherapy pool for him.

He lived until the ripe age of 13, and was never once on any medication – even giving the rabbits a run for their money. He started slowing down a bit at around age 10 and thats when I made a special harness for him which helped me to walk him (www.quincysdogs.com).

I didn’t want to go into a big lengthy thread but (and since I've already started) this is what swimming does:
1. Helps build up muscles safely – this will cause the limping to disappear as the muscles build around the affected areas and protect the area
2. Help with the aerobic aspect
3. Help with the blood circulation – both points 2 and 3 is what makes the dogs live longer.
4. The dog will naturally have weight lose which will help overall.

Look, Im going to leave it at that and if you want to see exactly what happened to my dog, please feel free to visit my website www.hydrofordogs.co.uk.

Ive dealt with 100’s of puppies with the same problems you’re talking about here. No matter what it is, swimming is just another way of exercising your dog but in a safer way with the added advantage of no impact. So anyone who says swimming is not good, would also be saying, don’t bother walking your dog. Walking and running is an impact exercise whereas swimming is a non impact exercise.

Like everything, you get good canine hydrotherapists and you get bad ones. I tend to allocate an hour per session. This is because with me, generally a dog will swim for around half an hour with plenty of rest breaks. Gradually over the weeks and depending on the dog and the age and fitness levels, I will tend to try and build them up to swimming 3 sets of 10 minutes with 5 minutes breaks in between.

My suggestion is find a professional and if you cant afford the hydrotherapists costs, then buy a DOG LIFE JACKET, a pair of fisherman’s waders and find a stream (not a lake as this has no running water through it and you get a build up of green or/and blue algae which can at worst kill and at best give them a runny tummy). Attach a long lead to the jacket and this way you have control at all times.

I hope this helps. It really is this simple. Swimming is not a magic voodoo thing nor should it be classed as alternative therapy, its just a different form of exercise.
 

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In the summer with the vet's approval we did take Kidogo swimming in a friend's outdoor pool. The water wasn't moving but we did have a life jacket on him anyway. It helped him get the exercise he needed without the strain being on his knee. The days we went swimming were the days me and my husband got a break from trying to entertain a restless puppy. The swimming definitely helped us in our particular situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I really appreciate everyone sharing their stories. The past couple days he has not been limping, but I'm still going to the specialist on Tuesday. I will certainly look into swimming if the doctor recommends it.
I am just so paranoid now, like every time I see him standing I think 'is he holding his legs at an angle?' Or 'was that a click I hear from his knee/hip when he layed down' 'he's sleeping a lot today is he in pain?!' My husband thinks I'm a hypochondriac for our dog. When you examine it for so long every little thing seems like it may be a sign :(
I just want to go back to the crazy happy dog I played fetch with and took to the dog park!
 
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