I have a 3 year old male German Shepherd who is very active. We take him swimming 4 times a week and a walk for an hour per day. He has been perfectly healthy. Suddenly he is limping off his right hind leg. There are no cuts,swelling,etc...Just a pretty bad limp for the past 2 days. This morning, it looks as though it has worsened. Can anyone out there give me some type of prognosis as to what this may be ? I plan on seeing a vet but would like a better understanding from someone who may know what this may be ? Thank You.
After thoroughly checking his toes and pads for cuts or or injuries, the next step is to move up the entire leg. It's possible he's injured his ACL - anterior cruciate ligament - which is a fairly common injury for active dogs. Since he seems to be getting worse, try to keep his activity to a bare minimum until you can have a vet examine him. Adding anti-inflammatories can have a double-edged effect: they decrease the pain, but the dog feels better and does even more damage to the original site of the injury.
If your vet is open today, I would go ahead and take him in, or find an ER vet. If it IS his ACL, the sooner it's treated and stabilized the more likely you are to avoid a costly surgery. Obviously, I can't say with any amount of certainty that his ACL is the problem - just a possibility to consider. I really hope it turns out to be something minor. :-)
Yes, an ACL tear/injury can be very painful. Also a urinary or bladder infection can present with rear back and leg pain.
One of mine had a UTI that was first diagnosed as a sprain or some muscle inflammation, as he was limping on a back leg. And the meds given to him actually made it worse. It was then that I remembered another of our dogs who would get frequent UTI's with pain in rear area. I checked his urine (followed him around the yard to catch in a cup) as he seemed to be trying to go more, and I could tell by the color, odor, thickness of the urine that it was a UTI.
Had us in the Emergency vet on Thanksgiving morning. I took him right away as soon as I saw the urine and I brought it with me so they didn't have to cause any more distress to him trying to get pee out. As long as the peeps is pretty fresh they can test it.
If he is peeing more often, maybe drinking more, if the urine is darker yellow or brownish/reddish yellow, sometimes looks as though it has crystals in it and has a thicker consistency with a very strong odor, it is most probably a UTI type infection.
Also, one of mine was just diagnosed w/ a spinal disc disease. His is in his cervical area, but it also presents in the back. His neck swelled and at first I thought a bite of some sort, here in Florida we're all always getting bit by something, and the scorpion bites are horrid painful and cause swelling, anyway, I noticed it wasn't going down after an hour and getting worse, so in to the ER vet again. He had also been holding his front paw up a bit before this happened. It was the disc between the vertebrae bulging into his spine/nerve area that caused the paw lifting.
it was our walks when using a chain collar, mine are both hounds, a beagle & a basset, and pull something awful when they get a scent, so I would switch over from the harness to the chain type when they started to pull as they could land me on my butt in a minute, anyway, that is what caused the swelling/flare up as his disc disease is genetic. Some dogs get it from trauma, a fall, jumping, large dogs just from the weight put on their backs/spine with the way they are built, etc..
Anyway, hopefully it is just a UTI or sprain. But if it is an ACL, which are very common, or back issue, as Jaybay said the sooner the better with treatment and healing.
Hope he is feeling better soon & sending him hugs & smooches ; )
Hello and thanks for the wealth of information - interesting on the UTI. I will follow up on that today and tomorrow. I just went outside to do some things in the backyard and he was running and jumping , chasing dragon flys, barking at garden tools - being his usual self. When he settled down a little, he seemed to be walking stronger as well. Just like him to throw me a curve ball - he likes to challenge everything as GS do. I decided to give him through Monday to take him. I realize may not be the best choice but Im just going to keep a close eye on him,keep him very hydrated and resting in the shade. He loves chicken soup poured over his food - so Ill give him the V.I.P. and decide Tuesday morning.
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