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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15372
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I have a 6 week old lab puppy. He was a little dehydrated at

Customer Question

I have a 6 week old lab puppy. He was a little dehydrated at 4 weeks when the mother started weaning them and he didnt transition to puppy food as well as the other puppies. I had him to the vet and was able to get him thriving. Now just 2 weeks later he seems to have HOD. Had him back to the vet and they think so as well. I had already changed him from puppy food to adult food when I noticed it and started my research. He is completely off the mother at this point. Has bouts of this at random times during eating, or just after eating or if he gets real excited. No pain or swelling just hs front legs locking up having a hard time using his back legs all together and trouble with balance. Looks like his back is hunched up and trying to walk on his front tippy toes straight legged. Again he is in no pain at this point. He was the runt & I guess after he recovered from being dehydrated, his bones are trying to grow to fast. What can I do for him? He also seems to have indigestion and gas.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that this little one is having so much trouble.

HOD is possible, but he is pretty young for this to be the cause of his symptoms and that really wouldn't explain his gas and indigestion. If that is the cause slowing growth by feeding limited amounts of a high quality puppy food may help. He is very young to try to feed an adult diet and I would worry about brain, organ and gastrointestinal development with being fed an adult food. Pain is controlled with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories.

I also find it strange he doesn't seem painful. HOD is very painful for these pups, and most of their loss of appetite or difficulty eating is due to pain.

I would be concerned that he has an X-linked form of muscular dystrophy because he is a male and with his range of symptoms. This is an X-linked inherited disease, thus we see signs in males. Males show muscle stiffness, difficulty eating, and weakness at an early age, which can progress to a flat footed stance and muscle atrophy as the animal gets older. Diagnosis is highly suspect when we see initial high serum levels of CK and confirmed by demonstration of hyalinized and mineralized muscle fibers on biopsy. Prognosis is guarded to poor because they continue to worsen as time goes on and we don't have any effective treatments.

Another possibility would be Labrador Retriever myopathy. This is an autosomal recessive defect (so both sexes can be affected) and causes a stiff gait and marked muscle atrophy in puppies of both sexes. Signs worsen with cold, stress, or exercise, and affected dogs may not be able to keep their heads elevated in a normal position. This may become apparent as early as 3 monyhs of age. Tendon reflexes are usually absent. There is no treatment for this disease but the pup's prognosis is favorable, so affected dogs can make good pets, because they often stabilize by 6 months or so of age. Diagnosis is via a muscle biopsy.

I think your pup needs further testing.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Could it be some kind of reaction to puppy shots? I saw online about post vaccine syndrome. Could these symptoms be from that? He had his puppy shots at 6 weeks then 3 days later I see the first bout of the legs locking up.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Usually reactions from vaccines are not after the first vaccine is given, we usually see reactions after the second or third vaccine.

There is a syndrome called Post-Vaccinal Canine Distemper. This is where dogs develop symptoms of distemper between 1-3 weeks after being vaccinated with a modified live vaccine. Dogs that develop this syndrome aren't normal, they have poor immune system function and thus respond abnormally to a vaccine. Symptoms would be drooling, fever, changes in neuromuscular function, possible aggression, and seizures.

And that would not explain his difficulty transitioning to puppy food from nursing, which occurred before vaccines.