How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask ChristineLVT Your Own Question
ChristineLVT, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 3307
Experience:  Licensed veterinary technician (B.S. Mercy College), 10 yrs in animal medicine and training
Type Your Dog Question Here...
ChristineLVT is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My dog will not walk on his back leg. He will let me ...

Resolved Question:

My dog will not walk on his back leg. He will let me touch and move it and it does not seem to hurt him is his leg broken? he hold his leg close to his body and will not put it down nothing happened to him today He was with me all day and just started limping
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  ChristineLVT replied 9 years ago.

Holding the leg like this is indicative of one of 2 problems: either a sudden luxated patella or a torn cruciate ligament.

Luxated patellas are more common in small breeds (though do occur at times in larger dogs). If not familiar, this is when the knee joint (called the patella) slips out of its position, causing the leg not to move like the hinge it is supposed to. It can be somewhat painful, or may not show any signs of pain at all; but generally dog's hold their leg in a way so they feel no pain from it- thus the lifted "relaxed" look to the leg. Depending on the severity of the luxation, it can sometimes be pushed back into its socket and the dog given an anti-inflammatory, or if severe, requires surgery to cure. Sometimes, with those that start to slip out on a regular basis, the vet can show you how to slip the patella back into place.

Another possibility is the torn (either fully or partially) cruciate ligament. This is more common in large breeds who are active or overweight, but yes, can occur in smaller breeds. This is when the dog moves in such a fashion that the bottom part of the leg (under the knee) didn't keep up for that split second with the upper part of the leg when turning, and the ligament itself tears. The way you describe your dog holding his leg is classic for how a dog with a torn ligament holds its leg. It is generally diagnosed on physical exam and again treatment depends on the severity of the tear. Some people opt for anti-inflammatory meds for 2 weeks to see if there is improvement. It cannot be cured this way, and lends itself to the possibility of tearing further this way, but some people opt for it if their dog is older or if overweight, as they may not recover as nicely until they take weight off. The only way to fix the ligament itself is with surgery, with 3 different types of surgical procedures in common practice today for this problem- it is a very common problem, indeed. I work with a surgeon who does about 8 cruciate surgeries a week, mostly larger dogs like labs, shepherds, etc, but the occasional poodle, shih-tzu, etc...

Keep your dog calmer and avoid running/jumping, etc until you can get to a vet.

Let me know if I can help further, and hope the recovery goes well! Best of luck,


ChristineLVT and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
The only thing that hurts him is when I push his leg up towards his body. I can pull it down and he is ok he is a yorkie
Expert:  ChristineLVT replied 9 years ago.

You wouldn't be able to elicit any pain response from either of these problems. A break or even minor fracture for sure would elicit pain response regardless of movement, as injuries such as those involving bone also cause inflammation/ swellings. It is more likely a joint issue like stated above with the patella. Unless the condition was occuring for extended periods of time, causing early onset of arthritis and therefore scraping and discomfort, there would be no pain noted....


Related Dog Questions