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Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.
I am so sorry to hear about Sandy's rear leg trembling and lameness.
I suspect that the trembling is related to both pain and weakness in that leg. There are a couple common conditions that we can see big dogs that could cause lameness in her rear leg.With a history of sudden lameness and no swelling or pain when touching the leg I would be highly suspicious of a cruciate ligament injury that initially may have been a partial tear and now has progressed to a rupture. The cruciate ligament crosses the knee it keeps that joint stable. If it tears there is no stability to the joint and the secondary inflammation is quite painful. it can happen suddenly with the smallest slip, especially one that causes a twisting motion to the knee.Ideally surgery would be done to give her knee normal stability because without surgery secondary arthritis formation will occur sooner and to a more severe degree then if surgery is done. It is also more likely that she will rupture the cruciate ligament in her other knee because she will be putting more stress and strain on the other leg.With very strict rest the knee will form scar tissue and gain some stability with time but it won't ever be normal and it will be arthritic. When I say strict rest I mean cage rest, no running, jumping, climbing stairs or playing for at least 6 to 8 weeks. She needs to go outside to eliminate on a leash so she is not overly active.Another possibility given is that she is suffering from hip dysplasia, which is a malformation of the hip joint and secondary arthritic changes. Usually though these dogs are more painful then she seems. Diagnosis is via radiographs under anesthesia. Treatment can be surgical or medical therapy to control arthritis formation and pain.
Ideally she should see her veterinarian for an examination and possibly some radiographs depending upon what her examination points to.For either condition I recommend keeping her on the thin side, or weight loss if she is overweight to decrease stress on her knees.Long term for joint pain and to keep arthritis formation as little as possible whether surgery is done or not, I do recommend using a combination of a glucosamine/chondroitin product (examples are Dasuquin or Cosequin) and an omega 3 fatty acid (like 3V Caps or Derm Caps). These work synergistically and improve cartilage health and joint fluid quality and quantity as well as reducing inflammation. They can take several weeks to see full improvement but some dogs do very well with them alone to control pain and inflammation. They are available over the counter.Another option is a product called Duralactin. This is an anti-inflammatory product derived from milk proteins and it also has omega 3 fatty acids incorporated into it which can be very helpful. See this link for further information: http://www.duralactin.com/products_canine.htmTo control her discomfort now her veterinarian can prescribe drugs that are more potent. Veterinary drugs we can add include a nonsteroidal like Metacam, Deramaxx, Previcox or Rimadyl. If those aren't enough we can add another drug in the opiod family called Tramadol and/or another drug called Gabapentin.If you want to read more about cruciate ligament injuries here is a link to an accurate article about cruciate ligaments: http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/musculoskeletal/c_dg_cranial_cruciate_ligament#.Ulop6M7n_IUPlease let me know if you have any further questions.
Hello, I wanted to check in and see if you had any further questions after reading my response. If you do please feel free to respond with them. If not I would appreciate an update on your pet, thank you, ***** *****