I just got a 10 month old female boxer from a woman who claims to be an AKC registered breeder. Her back legs are VERY bowed inwards like a frog. Her hocks touch each other. She has a hard time walking and going up and down stairs. Her feet are also very spread out and flattened. I'm wondering if she might be from a puppy mill. Could anyone give me an idea of what could cause this and how it could be fixed? Thanks.
First of all, to clear up any confusion, there is no such thing as an AKC registered BREEDER. All it takes for a dog to be registered by the AKC is for both parents to be of the same breed and for those parents to be registered with the AKC. There are absolutely NO minimum requirements as to the quality, conformation or health of the dog that have to be met in order for a dog to be registered AKC, in fact, many of the dogs that are bred half to death in puppy mills are AKC registered. So the fact that the litter was AKC registered does not mean anything other than the puppy came with a set of papers that the litter was registered with the AKC.
Now, this does not mean that your puppy is not capable of being a wonderful pet. Far from it. Even mixed breeds that have no papers whatsoever are wonderful pets, I just hate to see people being misled by unscrupulous breeders into thinking that registry with the American Kennel Club is somehow some kind of a status symbol.
The first thing I would do is to make an appointment with your vet to have your puppy's hips examined. Sometimes being either extremely bowlegged (toes point inward) or extremely cowhocked (toes turn way out) in the back can mean that there are problems with the hips. The degree of subluxation usually needs an X-ray to be seen really well, but a skilled vet can tell by manipulating the back legs while feeling the hip joints if there is a problem in the first place.
If there is a problem, the "fix" would depend on the degree of subluxation. If it is mild, the dog can live a fairly normal life with no medical intervention. You would have to watch that you don't let her do a lot of jumping in the air (like playing frisbee), especially as she gets older. However if the degree of subluxation is high, then surgical intervention will be necessary to give her a life without pain.
You can find out what kind of breeder this woman is by getting in touch with the parent club for the Boxer breed, The American Boxer Club. Any breeders who are responsible and trustworthy will be known by SOMEONE in the club. They can refer you to their representative in your state and you can contact that person and find out what kind of a breeder the one who sold you your puppy is.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic problem. The only way to prevent it is to not breed individuals that have it. If your puppy does have it, have her spayed before she comes into heat and don't ever plan to breed her because she will only pass it along to HER puppies, sentencing them to lives of discomfort and probably large medical bills for anyone who owns them. Please let us know what your vet says.
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