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Dr-Bonk, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 197
Experience:  Five years as a veterinarian working with man's best friend. Have worked with pets, hunting and herding dogs, hounds, and breeders.
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My almost 3 year old pug mix seems to be having issues with

Customer Question

my almost 3 year old pug mix seems to be having issues with her right back leg. She walks without issue, and can climb stairs, but since Saturday evening she cannot jump up on furniture. The back leg seems to be stiff at times, and she will intermittently limp when she gets up from a sitting or lying position
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: If she runs she tends to not put weight on that leg. Any idea as to what it could be? I have pressed on her belly and back and she has no pain. I'm not sure if it's the paw or the leg that is bothering her
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Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 7 months ago.

Hi, I'm Dr. Bonk. I'm sorry to hear about your dog's troubles. There are a number of causes for lameness in the hind leg. The main one that comes to mind with this is a subluxating patella. This is fairly common in smaller dogs. The basic issue is that the kneecap slides out of its groove in the femur. Depending on the degree of severity it can happen infrequently or fairly regularly. This is a relatively painless issue but it does present mechanical problems and can actually 'lock' the leg in a bent position when the kneecap slides out of the groove. There is some inflammation involved that could be the reason she is reluctant to jump lately.

Another cause would be a partial or complete rupture of the ACL. This is just like in humans and causes an intermittent lameness that is more pronounced after exercise. This is more likely to occur in active dogs that are constantly jumping and twisting. The degree of the tear dictates the degree of lameness and inflammation. These dogs also tend to sit with their hind legs off to the side rather than directly underneath them.

Another cause would be a sprain or strain of the knee, hip, ankle or foot. Again, this is just like in humans. There is sometimes swelling involved and this one typically causes pain all the time, so there would be less chance of her walking normally at all.

Finally, an injury to the toes or foot pads. These are typically visible and would show pain when you manipulated them.

You can try giving her aspirin and resting her for a few days to see if that makes any difference. The dose for aspirin is 80mg (baby aspirin) per 7 lbs body weight given every 12 hours. It's best to use a buffered version if giving more than a couple doses. Strict rest means no running, jumping, leash walks only.

Both subluxating patellas and tore ACLs generally require surgery while sprains or other injuries do not. If she responds well to the aspirin and rest but the lameness returns when you stop doing this, it is time to get her to a vet for further diagnostics.

I hope this helps. Please contact me with any further questions you may have. Thank you and good luck!

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
thank you so much for your response. If it was the more serious patella or ACL tear, would she walk without difficulty? She walks fine, it's just when she tries to jump up. We are doing some renovations in our backyard, and i'm thinking she may have strained something since it came on so suddenly. She was fine before dinner, and then about 1/2 hour later after she was outside she had this issue
Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 7 months ago.

Thank you for the information. With an ACL she would be have trouble more likely than not. With a patella she could walk fine most of the time, it's just when that patella slips out that would cause her to have trouble. If it came on that suddenly, you are probably right. A sprain or strain especially to the hip area would cause her to not want to jump and be slow when getting up.

Try the aspirin and rest. If you use a buffered aspirin you can use if for up to 7 days. Strict rest for at least as long as you use the aspirin will really help as well.

Expert:  Dr-Bonk replied 7 months ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?