We are about to adopt an 8mo. old chihuahua papillon mix that we are told has a bone growth problem where one of the two bones on the lower half of both the front and back legs (worse in the back) is growing faster than the other. It causes her front legs to twist outward making her a bit duck footed and her back legs are very rigid. She walks fine and can jump up on her hind legs, but she struggles to get up because her back legs don't bend right and if she tries to turn too quick, she falls over like those narcoleptic goats. She also cannot traverse stairs. Has anyone heard of this condition? Does it have a name? Are there ways to improve the condition? She is the sweetest dog in the world and we are bringing her home no matter what, but we would like to know more about her condition, esp. If we can fix it.
Don't have time to research now. I assume a Vet has checked her? If so, what do they say? I can only suggest you consult with a Canine Ortho specialist or a university Vet school like UC Davis, Cirnell, etc. not sure where you live.
Thanks for the quick response! We live in Austin, TX. A vet has checked her out and "diagnosed" her, but isn't experienced with the condition. We are trying to find an ortho and the best bet right now won't be able to see her for a couple weeks, so being the impatient person I am, I took to the Internet. I can't find anything that even gives the condition a name. Any help, insight, related experiences would be be a big help.
I don't think this is exactly the same thing, but one of my pits had a problem with a growth plate in her front leg where the ulna growth plate closed early and the radius kept growing, causing it to 'jump' the joint. It created something like walking on a permanently dislocated elbow joint.
She had orthopedic surgery at 9 months where they sheared off part of the head of the bone and rebuilt the joint. She has been fine since then and just turned 12. So I would be cautiously optimistic that a good ortho will have a solution.
And a big hug to you for being committed to giving this dog a home!! Good luck and keep us posted.
ddg, thanks for the reply! If it isn't asking too much, would you mind telling me how much the ortho surgery cost? It sounds similar to what we are looking at (they will likely have to cut and refuse the longer bones in each leg) and we would like to start planning how to pay for it as early as possible.
I was digging around a tiny bit and came up with some bone disorders it is not, not that exclusions are incredibly helpful. Generally, conditions involving bone deformities are called osteodystrophies.
Where are you adopting her from? Can the former guardians give you any information about potential traumas such as past fractures?
Also, did the vet have any idea if the problem was one of the plates growing normally and the other growing too slowly, or is one growing too fast and the other normally? The only conditions I can find are related to one slow-growing (or completely arrested) and one normal plate.
You usually see this sort of occurrence in large or giant breed dogs naturally. In smaller dogs it is typically due to some sort of trauma to the legs (especially in puppies). If trauma is bad enough to cause a fracture it can damage growth plates. It usually happens at the far (distal) end of the bone, near the paw, and usually affects the front limbs. The preferred treatment is to surgically modify the bone in order to preserve the integrity of the limbs. Treatment varies by age, and prognosis/treatment is different between a four month old dog and an eight month old dog.
I found an article about the typical surgical response to the issue, but it is a scientific article and can be a little tricky with jargon: http://nyvsc.com/growth.php
Another article which goes into greater depth of treatment options is this one: http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/saortho/chapter_41/41mast.htm however it is also fairly technical. I stumbled a couple of times and I have a background in biology.
Interesting info! In my dog, it was thought that the mom may have stepped on her leg sometime during the first few weeks, causing the trauma that fused the plate early.
However, there was also a similar problem (although not as severe) with another offspring so the breeder thought there may be something genetic at play as well. (Her bloodline is very line-bred, old time pit) Her mom was spayed after the second occurrence but we still don't really know what the true cause was.
Man I love the Internet. It is chocked full of awesome people like y'all who are so helpful.
dgg, thanks for the cost info. We have been planning for $3-4K, so it sounds like we are in the ballpark.
Cobalt, thanks so much for digging! I got some reading to do :). We are adopting her from an SPCA. We were told that her mom had the same condition so we are pretty sure it is genetic. Nobody has mentioned anything about the growth plates yet, but we are getting all of our info second hand. The folks at the SPCA said they had a preliminary discussion with an ortho and that if she were younger, it could be fixed with splints. But she was adopted out at 4 mo and that family said they would take her to the ortho, then didn't, and then returned her. Makes me angry just thinking about it. So we are pretty sure it will takes surgery where they cut and shorten the long bones.
We are hoping to bring her home on Wed and can't wait! While I am glad the vetting process is thorough, it doesn't help my impatience to start giving her the good life she deserves.
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