My dog Charlie is about four or five years old and we're unsure of his breeding because he's a rescue dog. He is a medium size dog, about the size of a collie but shorter in the leg. Over a period of several weeks I've noticed a change in his mobility, particularly when ascending the stairs, getting up from a resting position, and sitting down. His right back leg appears quite stiff after resting and when he gets up he has to stretch it out behind him before setting off. He used to be able to run up the stairs but now he takes each step cautiously one at a time. Getting down them isn't a problem though. When he sits he either rests on his left leg and keeps the right outstretched, or he carefully tucks his right leg underneath him. From the back the muscles on his left leg look much more developed and toned, whereas his right leg looks rather 'flat'. It isn't as defined as it used to be. When he gets into his stride his walking appears fine and he manages to run well too, but when walking up an incline his back end veers off to the left as though he's shifting his weight while he's walking. Today he's got a noticeable limp and his footing is quite hesitant. I will be making an appointment to see the vet either tomorrow or next Monday but in the meantime I'm concerned about the possibility of him having hip dysplasia. I've done a bit of research online about the condition and it commonly affects both hips but in some cases dysplasia can develop in one hip after a trauma or dislocation. As far as I'm aware he hasn't sustained any sort of injury to his hip, so I'm wondering if perhaps it could be a muscular problem. He used to sit up and beg, which is something we always discouraged, and over time he stopped begging but now I'm not sure whether it's because he learned not to or because his hip prevented him from doing so. I'm becoming very worried and desperately hope it's not dysplasia, so I'd be grateful to hear from anyone else whose dog has developed a mobility problem in one hind leg.
The size of the dog has nothing to do with the possibility that he has hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia can affect even toy dogs.
There is also a possibility that it might be his knee. From the way you described his leg as being stiff when he gets up it sounds as though he might be reluctant to bend the knee.
If he IS dysplastic, depending on the degree of subluxation, surgery isn't always the answer. In a large dog it is often necessary due to the amount of weight that the hips have to support. But in smaller, lighter dogs, again, depending on the degree of subluxation, a glucosamine and chondroitin preparation can help tremendously. You will, of course, have to modify his activities and not allow him to jump a lot or run crazy so he doesn't hurt himself while playing, but surgery CAN be avoided in some instances. Please keep us up to date on his condition.
From what you describe, I'm leaning towards a knee problem.....The sticking straight out (When laying or sitting down) is classic of an ACL tear or rupture....However, the stretching out after getting up reminds me of a Luxating Patella....They can actually click the joint back in to place when it's out....With LP, they will start turning the leg in to compensate for the looseness....Thus, it looks like a hip problem, but it's not.....
Going up stairs is hard on a dog with knee problems because the weight is on the rear...Going down is easier as the weight in on the front......
Either way, your Vet will be able to determine.....There are treatments for both, so don't let it ruin your day....Let us know what you find out......Happy Thanksgiving, I must go work some more on the feast.....Karla
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