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"Lame" pup

3525 Views 15 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  LisaT
Hello all:

Our 16 week old pup Axel started limping on his left rear leg yesterday afternoon (Saturday). Neither my son nor I saw him injure his leg - our activity yesterday consisted of a 15 minute ride to the tennis court to watch my son have a lesson, a walk around the park during the lesson, and the ride back. This pup gets car sick, and I had been working with him in short trips (3 minutes or less) with other dogs in the car to try to alleviate his nervous/stress induced motion sickness. During the trip to the lesson, he vomited his breakfast (which had been given 3 hours earlier - I know now, too soon after eating for a ride in the car). Anyhow, after these motion sickness episodes, he is wiped out for the rest of the day. He lies down, doesn't eat, hardly moves for about 12 hours.

So, when he did wake up from his listless stupor to go out for a potty break, I noticed he was limping. He squealed a little when I palpated his leg and looked for a sore, a bite or a bone-break (not that I know what that feels like!). I thought I would wait a day to see if he'd recover. Upon going out this am, his limp was much more pronounced - no weight on the ouchy leg at all. Then a couple hours later, I took him out again and he followed me around the pasture (I was counting fence posts) - and he was putting some weight on the foot.

I would not hesitate taking him to the vet - or even the emergency vet today (it is Sunday), but his carsickness and his body condition are so severe I really hesitate. We went to the vet last week and he told me that he agreed he was too thin, and that I need to start feeding him canned food to help the weight problem. Wormed him again and started him on revolution.

(Note: his ribs, backbone and haunches show. If he was a horse I would rate him as a 2 on the body condition scale - I know he is not a horse, but any of you who have learned how to rate horses can visualize what I am talking about. So, I really hesitate to take him in the car and lose any progress I am making in increasing his weight. Even if he doesn't vomit his food, he won't eat for 12 hours after a ride to the vet. The feeding issue is fodder for another post - is that a pun?;)

His back legs seem so unstable, I wouldn't be surprised if he twisted the leg. I had him in a dog/car harness yesterday, and although he did not react as if I twisted his leg getting him in or out, I guess it is a possibility that I injured him. (Although being a puppy, he is very vocal whenever he encounters the slightest pain, so I doubt it.) But then, after the car ride, he laid around all day, so no opportunity to twist it playing with our other dog or running around. So I am puzzled.

Would you medicate for discomfort? I believe in the self-limiting benefits of pain (ie, if the leg hurts, you probably shouldn't be running around, and a little pain prevents that) - but I can confine him so that masked pain won't allow him to make the injury worse. If you think I should medicate, what med should I use? (He is 16 weeks and about 33 pounds.)

He is a sweet little guy and I spend a lot of time worrying about his health issues. Labs and mutts that I have had have never been so uninterested in food or prone to carsickness, so Axel is a bit of a challenge for me. Thanks for any and all advice.
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Since you said the limp is worse today, I would definitely take your puppy to the animal hospital. Put some towels down in case he gets sick in the car.

I don't recommend self medicating a puppy.

When he gets better, I would continue what you are doing by doing the short car rides with him.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Last week I took my 7 month old pup in to the vet with a bad limp on his right front leg that had been gimpy on and off for a month or so. The week prior had deteriorated to the point that he would put no weight at all on even when he was excited and forgot about it. Like me, the vet was unable to manipulate any joint on the leg to be able to say, "It's his elbow/ankle/shoulder. It hurts when he does this." He gave me a weeks worth of Vetprofen 75mg, an NSAID kin to ibuprofen, (likely identical). He said we'd try alleviating any soft tissue damage possible before going in for xrays etc. To make a long story short, the Vetprofen appears to have worked. Mack is getting around fine now, though the recovery wasn't exactly dramatic. It was nearly five days until a pronounced effect was seen. Now the question is whether it was just a soft tissue issue or something more serious like arthritis or perhaps even just a recurring bout of pano that ran it's course. We'll know, I suppose, if it flares up again.
We can certainly commiserate with our dogs. I've never had one with any health problems. Just lucky I guess. Mack's biggest issue is now skin problems. But that's another thread.
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Thanks for your replies. I was thinking we'd end up with an ibuprofenish situation. Although his limp was worse this morning, it has improved substantially since then - since walking in the pasture, it has improved a bit more.

I'll see how it looks tomorrow morning and make a decision. Maybe I can get an appt. before Saturday (our scheduled appt) get his rabies shot, and have the leg looked at Monday.

I bought disposable plastic drop cloths for the car. Not worried about cleaning the vomit! Although, he did exude that horrible smelling substance from his anal glands on the ride home (can't mistake that smell!). I hate that smell and the fact that he is that stressed out in the car!

Glad to hear your little guy is doing better. You may want to crate him so he rests his leg.

It sounds like he is terrified in the car. Hopefully, that will get better as he gets used to car rides. There may be folks here who have more experience with that who can offer some advice.
Last night, my husband came home from work. (He is an airline pilot and was gone for a few days.) Axel became "Crazy dog" (in a good way) running around the yard at a hundred miles an hour. No limp. Tried to jump on our bed (he's never tried that before!). I was worried that this morning he may be sore from the running. Not so - his gait is normal, no limp, no hesitation. He sure is a puzzlement!

I will keep an eye on the leg, but he sure doesn't look like he is in any discomfort.

thanks for all of the advice!
When was he last vaccinated, and for what? (any lyme vaccine?)

What are you feeding?

ginger capsules should help with the car sickness.
He was vaccinated 3 weeks ago - distemper, parvo and whatever else is appropriate at 12 weeks. He will get rabies vaccine next week. I don't think lyme vaccine was an option. He was wormed again at 14 weeks.

He is eating canned Natural Life puppy formula (maybe 1 can a day) and Purina One large breed dry (maybe a cup a day). He is underweight. Very distracted when eating.

The breeder recommended the Purina One, the vet recommended canned food to get his weight up. I have read all of the posts about food, and will probably put him on adult/no grain food very soon (not purina). He has just turned 4 months old. He is extemely thin - back bone and haunches showing, ribs visible. He had a good couple of days eating, so he looks less gaunt right now. I am concerned that when my husband leaves he will become depressed and not eat again. (his reaction to seeing my husband after his trip made me think that was why he wasn't eating before).

He has been running around with no problems ever since that episode. My son is convinced the pup was reacting to being stepped on (by same son) last week and feels very guilty. (This pup likes to stay close to our feet!) I don't think it was related.

I have bought some ginger, and my husband is feeding the pup and his two canine cohorts treats in the car (no engine running, parked) in an attempt to gradually get him used to the car.

Thanks for your advice!
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When my dog was a pup, she had a couple of episodes of lameness. I seemed to recall that there was a name for it; so I looked it up. There is a condition called Panosteitis which is common in German shepherds, usually between 5 and 10 months, but can be developed up to 2 years of age. It's basically growing pains. Cause is not known, but prognosis for recovery is excellent. Book says that treatment consists of limiting exercise and giving analgesics to control pain. Good luck!
I always hate it when this stuff starts several weeks after vaccination. Pano is probably the most likely culprit though. Unfortunately, you'll have to do the vet visit.

How are his stools? Is he digesting what he is eating well?
Lisa- I noticed your signature line, so this won't gross you out too much: I have been looking carefully at/through his stools (with whatever stick is handy) and his stools are dark greenish, soft but not gooey (they do have the familiar scat form!). I have been looking for worms because of his eating/weight issues. He had a fecal a couple of weeks ago at the vet's and was wormed again then, but I still keep an eye on it!

We go to the vet Saturday.

hopefully your boy has pano. my boy had pano for 4 months. from the time he was 4 months old untill he was 8 months old. his exercise was limited. no running if i could help it, short walks (not more than 50 yards or so). he was always pretty calm in the house so i didn't him much during the day. when it was bed time he was crate or when we went out. we massaged his legs alot. i didn't stretch, pull or rotate his legs just massage. i don't know enough about the body to move things around. so for 4 months he had pano but you could see it getting better as time passed. then one day he took off after a rabbit, bye-bye pano. we took him to the Vet when he started to limp. the Vet X-rayed him and did blood work. the Vet thought it was pano. your pup is 33lbs. at 4 months old. i don't think that's under weight. my boy was 31/33lbs. at 4 months old. now he's 90lbs. at 1 yr. old. take your pup to the Vet so he can prescribe something for your pup. car sickness: i've only had to deal with that once. we did the short ride like you're doing but we didn't feed him first. we also took him on short rides 2 or 3 times a day. sometimes he would ride in the back and sometimes my wife (at the time) would hold him. he eventually came around. it sounds like your pup is goig through purebreditis. he'll grow out of it.
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Thanks for the advice. I will discuss Pano with the vet on Saturday. Seems so strange that this episode only lasted 10 or so hours!

Below is a picture of Axel taken from above- you can see he is a little underweight (maybe alot). If I had been able to take a picture from the side, you would have seen his back bone. He is eating more now -

I love the term "purebreditis"! Have a good day!

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after seeing the photo i don't think Axel is under weight. at 16 weeks they're bodies are changing so much. becarefull of what you're feeding him. i've never fed puppy food to my dogs. watch the protein level. i forget the percentage but i think the protein level is supposed to be under 26%. ask around about the protein level to be sure. i noticed Axel was playing with the scissors even though both of you are there supervising i think 16 weeks is to young to play with scissors and if he's going to use scissors at such a young age get him the ones for children they have a round tip.
Pano is inflamation of the growth plates of the long bones in the legs - horses get a similar problem. Too much protein, too much exercise can excerbate it. Some dogs who show lameness can also have an OCD lesion, only diagnosable by x-ray.

As far as car sickness, I was going to suggest still time in the car. Also a crate rather than a seat belt so he has some security in "his" space. I have had pups who barf in the car in the crate, and they just eventually grow out of it. This guy sounds as much frightened as nauseated if he is expressing his anal glands. So the crate may offer him some mental security as well.

Besides a fecal looking for rounds, whips and hooks, be sure to be on the alert for tapes (dried segments of broken tapes look like rice grains on the hair in the rear area.) Also coccidia and giarda can cause soft stool, and lack of weight gain.

Good Luck.......!

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There are some that link pano to vaccination:

catherine -- do you by chance have any raccoons in the area, and could your dog by chance have eaten any raccoon cr*p? Any chance of giardia? The green stools might mean a round of panacur, if nothing else is found by the vet?
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