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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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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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A couple of days ago, I noticed my 4 year old pug Riley

Customer Question

A couple of days ago, I noticed my 4 year old pug Riley suddenly limp slightly during a nightly walk. I thought he might have stepped on something and rubbed his paws and he started walking normally again. Then yesterday, when he was going down the stairs, he limped slightly again at the bottom of the stairs for a minute and then was back to normal. Since then he seems to be walking normally, goes up and down the stairs, and continues to play. However, when I walk him and he goes to lift his leg to urinate, he seems to have some trouble. His hind leg or legs weaken and he puts his leg down and limps a few steps before walking normally again. If it wasn't for that, he seems fine. What could be wrong? I'm very nervous when it comes to my dog and am already panicking. My vet is not in the office until Friday. Please help me.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 months ago.

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

Based on Riley's signs, we would be most suspicious of a muscle or tendon strain/sprain. Often these improve shortly after occurring but can flare up and cause bother if the affected dog isn't rested sufficiently post injury. Therefore, as long as he isn't overtly painful, we'd want to restrict activity and rest this leg. Specifically, we'd only want to have lead walks into the garden to do his business and then back inside (no stairs, jumping, or climbing on furniture). As well you can use a bit of supportive care to help this settle for him. If he is amenable, you can consider massaging or warm compressing the affected leg. If you don't have a warm compress on hand, you can make a microwaveable one by filling a sock 2/3rd full with rice and popping it in the microwave for a few minutes (of course, do give it a shake afterwards to distribute the heat and make sure its not too warm before use).

As well, if he is showing signs often, has no other health issues, and is on no other medication; you could also start him on a low dose of buffered Aspirin. ( More info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/acetylsalicylic-acid-aspirin). This is a mild anti-inflammatory for dogs and can reduce inflammation associated with strains. Of course, do give this with or after food and discontinue if you see any stomach upset.

Finally, if you rest him and try the above but he still shows lameness when Friday arrives, then we'd want to use that as our cue to have a check up with his vet. They can check the leg for any signs of injury or soft tissue inflammation. Depending on their findings, they can dispense dog safe pain relief/anti-inflammatory medication (ie Metacam, Rimadyl, Previcox, etc) to settle any residual strain and discomfort and get his using the leg properly again sooner.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank u so much for your response. You don't think it could be anything serious? A serious problem requiring surgery or cancer or anything?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 months ago.

You are very welcome,

With its intermittent appearance and his lack of obvious severe pain, I'd not be thinking more sinister issues like nerve/spinal issues, fractures, or tumors (and especially not at his age). Instead, the most common reason for this type of presentation in a 4 year old dog would be stains/sprains and often will settle with the above. Though since a holiday weekend isn't far off, if he isn't settling by Friday then we are best to have him seen to just make sure he isn't going through the weekend in any discomfort.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Is it normal for a dog to only show signs of lameness and limping when lifting his leg to urinate and not during other times of just walking or playing etc?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 months ago.

Hi again,

It isn't abnormal to see at all. In fact, its common in dogs with mild injuries (where more severe show signs all the time). Its just that when he is having to put more weight on the sore leg that it causes bother (just like us with a sprained ankle).

Take care,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Good morning. I just wanted to let u know that Riley seemed a little better last night during his walk. Didn't notice a limp following urination but did again this morning. Is this normal? He doesn't seem to be in any discomfort whatsoever. He's walking and acting normal. Only thing is the limp for a couple of steps after peeing. He takes a couple of steps and then is back to normal. Doesnt cry or whimper or anything. I'm confused and not sure if I should bring him to the vet to have it looked at since he only does it at that one time and seems fine otherwise. U think it's just a sprain?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 months ago.

Good morning,

That is positive and likely the mild sprain is starting to settle. So, I'd monitor and again rest him at this point.

Otherwise, in regards ***** ***** further question, often they won't be sore on palpation since its flexion/extension at those points (when using one leg more, when going up stairs, etc) that is uncomfortable for them. So, its not unexpected to see a bit of a limp afterwards that settles once he starts using it normally.

Take care,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I know with humans, a sprain can last a little while and doesn't go away in just one or two days. Should I wait a bit before getting it looked at since he does seem to be improving and is not in any discomfort other than when lifting his leg to pee?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 months ago.

Absolutely and its just the same as our dogs (especially if they won't properly rest it). Therefore, if he is progressively improving we can rest and monitor (they often take at least 7-10 days to settle) at this stage.

Take care,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Good evening. Was wondering if he could have a groin pull that could possibly be the reason for the slight limp only after lifting his leg to urinate. What part of his body could be strained that would only bother him when lifting his leg? How long would a pull or strain take to heal in a dog? I know it could take weeks for humans, is it the same for dogs? Was wondering when I might start to see signs of improvement. Again, he seems to be in no pain even if I touch his leg...only when lifting it to pee.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 months ago.

Good evening,

It certainly could be since any muscle strain in the upper portion of the leg (knee or higher) can cause the signs we are seeing. In regards ***** ***** of healing, it will depend on how severe the pull and how well he is rested. Ideally, for quick healing ones, we will see this settle within 7-10 days. Though they can cause bother for weeks if severe or if they don't rest as well as the should. So, while I do feel sounds just like a strain, if he doesnt' settle within a week after onset, we could plan a check at that point to just make sure and get anti-inflammatory treatment from his vet for him.

All the best,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
far, I still notice the limp most of the time after peeing but not always. It started last Tuesday. I don't know if I should've started seeing results yet. He doesn't seem to be in any pain otherwise. I really don't know what to do.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 months ago.

I would give it a few more days and if it is unchanged by mid week, then a check would be ideal to just confirm our suspicions +/- get a dog safe anti-inflammatory from her vet.

Take care,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
In your expert opinion, what exactly are your suspicions? Do u think it could be anything serious? I worry so much about my little guy.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 8 months ago.

Hello again,

Actually, as I have noted already, my clinical suspicions on all you have told me is a strain/sprain. The signs are not consistent with our more severe or sinister differentials. :)

Take care,

Dr. B.

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