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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 5.5 year old, male GSD. He is relatively small (65 lbs), and does not have a sloped back.

More than a month ago, he was playing, tripped, yelped, and came up limping. We rested him, then went away on vacation for a week. His dog sitter, who is a trainer for The Seeing Eye, didn't mention anything unusual, although they probably weren't playing as hard as we do.

When we got home from vacation, he seemed fine until one night when he seemed less interested in playing, and then I noticed him holding his right-rear leg in the air. We stopped playing immediately and rested for a few days. That week, I took him to the vet (who we like a lot and trust) for a checkup related to something else, and asked the vet about his leg. Vet checked it out and said he didn't feel anything abnormal, and that it was probably just a sprain. So we rested some more.

That weekend, we took him with us to my in-laws. Normally, we lift him into the back of my wife's SUV, but he decided to jump for some reason. He made it into the car, but immediately lifted his right-rear leg and started screaming in pain. After a few minutes, he calmed down, and then seemed pretty much back to normal.

After that, he started subtly favoring his right-rear leg. We rested him for a few more days, thinking it was a sprain that he made worse when he jumped into the car. When the favoring didn't go away in a few days, and he didn't want to come up the small deck stairs, we took him to the vet again. This time, the vet was able to rotate his right knee a little bit (left was rock-solid). Vet recommended sedated physical exam and X-rays.

He had the exam and X-rays on Wednesday. The physical exam confirmed some rotation in his right knee, but no CCL drawer movement or anything else weird. The X-rays showed two things, both minor according to the vet:

1. Two very small "mineralizations" (that's what the vet called them) in one of his knee X-rays. They only appeared in one X-ray view, and the vet said it was weird that he couldn't find them in the other views. Basically two little dots at the top of his tibia.
2. Some minor arthritis between his T11 and T12 vertebrae.

They did not show any evidence of a CCL problem, his hips are apparently in excellent shape, and they didn't show anything else scary like osteosarcoma, etc. His blood work was normal, and the vet said he appeared otherwise very healthy. Vet provided some rimadyl, and said that if the rimadyl doesn't help, we can try prednisone. Vet suggested that perhaps the spinal arthritis is causing the pain that's making him raise his rear leg.

His attitude is good, although he is a sensitive dog, and our coddling and worrying have rubbed off on him, I think. We tried playing some very short/easy ball these past two days. He seemed fine yesterday, but picked his leg up for a bit tonight, and is still skittish on the stairs. His leg seems to bother him anytime he "springs off it," such as when jumping. He doesn't seem to have any DM symptoms (he seems to have pain, for one, and his walking/trotting/light running appear pretty normal/he's not tripping or falling over).

Any ideas? Trying to figure out our next move. Thanks!
 

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These articles can give you further information. I think it could be the knee as discussed in the first 2 articles or a back muscle sprain as discussed in the last article. If there is an orthopedic vet in your area, you may want to consider either asking your vet for a referral or making your own appointment.

https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/musculoskeletal/c_multi_patellar_luxation#

https://dogshealthproblems.com/dog-wont-put-weight-on-his-back-leg/

Pain in leg when jumping UP. Not down. Any ideas? - Page 1
 

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Your vet doesn't seem too concerned. If he were my dog, I'd give him lots of crate rest, limited freedom and leash walk him only for a month then gradually build up to normal activity over the next couple weeks. Works wonders for sprains/strains in a healthy dog. Since your dog has arthritis in his spine I wouldn't let him jump up.
 

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As Mary Beth said...I'd seek out the closest orthopedic specialist for a second opinion...the fact that he tripped.....yelped and came up limping would make me want another pair of eyes on the dog......5.5 years seems young IMO for arthritis too suddenly be causing these issues.....sounds similar to our senior Cody when he tore his CCL....i understand he's been checked for that.......but a second opinion never hurts
 
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CCL/meniscus or psoas muscle sprain. I’d have a board certified orthopedist check for both.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, everyone!

You're helping to put my mind at ease a bit, and give me more things to discuss with the vet. Reading about the back muscle strain and doing some additional googling on that, it seems to be the closest match of symptoms.

Next steps will be an in-depth discussion with the vet and likely visit to an ortho. Additionally, there is also a dog aqua-therapy place near us that we may try, with the ultimate goals being physical therapy AND getting him used to water so we can swim with him in our pool (he won't go near it right now).

Thanks again!
 

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CCL/meniscus or psoas muscle sprain. I’d have a board certified orthopedist check for both.
+1.

My female had a partial tear a few years ago and we were given 2 options: (1) aggressive - surgical repair, many months of restricted activity, up to 1 year before back to normal or (2) conservative approach - restricted activity, slowly build back up. She was 7 at the time and taking up to a year out of her very active, enjoyable life is something I didn't want to go. We gave her 2 weeks off (no walks, just laying around the house), then 2 flat-ground slow walks per week (~1h), a walk every other day (same), walk every day (same). It was about 3 months before we started her hiking again, but she managed to avoid further injury. We lost her to hemangiosarcoma at only 9.5 last year, so I'm glad we opted for the approach we did. YMMV, just food for thought.
 
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