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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20279
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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English cocker spaniel right front leg limps after running a

Customer Question

English cocker spaniel right front leg limps after running a lot she is 12 years old and in good shape. When in the country can't keep her from hunting then she can barely put weight on right front leg
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long has she had this issue?

Is she on any treatments?

Does she show stiffness in a particular joint?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She has been doing this off and on for about a year. No treatments have been tried. No it is not stiff she just can't step on it for a couple hours after exercise. If we keep her from running a day or 2 she is better but she loves to run
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

Now as long as her foot looks normal externally during these episodes, to hear that she has intermittent lameness with intense exercise at her age is highly suspicious of underlying arthritis. I would be especially concerned about her elbow if she cannot put the foot down, but we can see this affect all the joints in the foreleg. Notoriously dogs with arthritis will cope without issue until the overdo exercise. And just as with arthritis in people, rest tends to get them back of the affected leg without issue until the next time.

Now I appreciate that we would struggle to get her to slow things down and not overdo her activity. Therefore, if you haven't tried her with anything, I'd strongly suggest some joint supports at this age. For example, we often find glucosamine/chondroitin helpful for dogs with arthritis. This is a nutrient supplement that is available at your vets, pets hops, and health food stores (as capsules, liquids, and even treats). It works by aiding joint suppleness by helping cartilage replenish itself and blocking enzyme destruction of cartilage in the joint. Normally we give dogs 300mg glucosamine + 50mg chondroitin a day per 10 pounds of body weight.

Further to this, the natural anti-inflammatory properties of Omega 3 + 6 (EPA + DHA) fish oils can be helpful in soothing sore joints. Again this can be purchased over the counter at vets, pet stores, and health food stores. If you did want to try this for her, we tend to give a dose equal to 20mg per pound of their body weight. So, this would be another supportive measure you could consider.

Finally, since she only has intermittent issues, I do not think she is a dog that needs to be on a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). That said, I do think that it may be worth having a word with her vet about them dispensing some to have on hand when/if these situations arise. That way if she overdoes things and is that lame and sore, then we can address that safely for her.

Overall, her signs are highly suspicious of an elderly dog over exercising arthritic joints. It is difficult to say why her right front legs gives her the most trouble (sometimes it can be related to them having injured the leg earlier in life) but we'd want to consider joint supports at this stage to offset these episodes and potentially speak to her vet about having a dog safe NSAID on hand should this situation occur.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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