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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
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My dog is whimpering and cant climb the stairs to get in the

Resolved Question:

My dog is whimpering and cant climb the stairs to get in the house. He seems to be favoring his back right leg, but he only responds as if in pain when you press on his right hip area.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Age: 3; Male; Breed: dog husky mix

Already Tried:
don't know what to do
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
Hi there Jason,
Welcome to Just Answer! I would be happy to help you and your Husky mix with this question but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

When did this start?

Is he able to walk normally on flat surfaces?

Is he putting the right hind foot down on the ground at all, holding it up totally, or toe-touching when standing?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
He's been acting funny for a couple of days but hasn't acted out in pain until now. He can walk but favoring the leg. And he stands with that leg lifted but his toe is touching the ground
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
Ahhh.. but if he walks, does he lift it right up?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

No it touches the ground but with a profound limp

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
And if you lift his LEFT hind off the ground, will he hold weight on his RIGHT hind then? Or does he collapse to the ground (or lean on you)?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
He can hold his weight when I lift the left
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

Any chance of trauma (did he get out of the yard on his own or anything like that)?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
No but we took him to the country and let him run loose a few weeks back, but he was always pretty close
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
But he was fine after that, until a couple of days ago, right?

I am going to go work on your answer and will be back in about 20min!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Yes correct. okay, i'll stand by. Thanks!!


Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
Hi again Jason!

There are a few things that I would consider in a Husky mix this age that would cause limping on a hind leg.

1. He could have a patellar luxation. This is a problem more common in some smaller dogs in which the groove that the patella (kneecap) sits in isn't deep enough. With this problem, the patella can pop out of the groove and suddenly the dog cannot use the leg.

You can see this often if you watch Jack Russels running - you will see them hold up a hind leg for a few beats and then put it down again. This is a classic symptom of a patellar luxation, and then spontaneous return to the normal position.

BUT sometimes it doesn't pop back in. In these cases, surgery is usually recommended to deepen the groove in which the patella sits. Has your Husky-mix ever had this "skipping" type behaviour on either hind leg in the past? If yes, then I would be very suspicious that this is the problem.

Here is more:

2. He may have stretched or ruptured his cranial cruciate ligament. This is something humans get as well, but in humans it is called Anterior Cruciate Ligament.

The cranial cruciate ligament is one of the structures that stabilizes the knee joint. It is prone to problems, especially in overweight dogs. If the dog is in motion, and the lower leg is held still (by going down a hole, getting caught on a string, etc) while the upper leg keeps moving forward, there will be damage to this cranial cruciate ligament.

The symptoms seen are usually a sudden onset of hind-end lameness, with toe touching seen at standing and walking, but the dog often carries the leg when running.

This is more likely given the size of your dog, and is at the TOP of my list of concerns! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay at the top!

Here is more information about this problem:

3. Your boy may have a fracture (broken bone) of one of the bones in the leg.

I have seen this many times with a dog getting their toes jammed under the door of a crate, and then twisting somehow and causing a fracture, usually in the foot area. Symptoms are a sudden onset of non weight bearing lameness, just as you are describing. X-rays would help to diagnose this.
Here is more:

4. It is also possible that your Husky has dislocated his hip. This is a common dislocation and again could happen if he trapped his toes under the door and then pulled. It is unlikely but certainly possible. With this, again you would have the symptoms of non-weight bearing lameness.

Here is more:

So, in summary, there are a number of different orthopedic conditions that can all give these same symptoms you are describing in your dog. In order to diagnose this, a veterinarian would have to perform a thorough orthopedic examination, and a neurological exam. The vet might well suggest an x-ray. For this part, it might be necessary to give your dog a pain killer to allow proper positioning for the x-ray without hurting him. I do think your dog needs to see his vet to have this looked at. Something is going on, and the sooner it is diagnosed and treated the better.

We do sometimes use aspirin in veterinary medicine as long as there is no history of kidney problems, stomach problems and the dog is not on other medications. When prescribed it is best to use Buffered Aspirin, and give it with a piece of bread or something low-fat to eat, not on an empty stomach.   If you give this, please just give ONE dose tonight as giving it tomorrow would prevent your vet from giving more effective pain killers.

Here are links that tell you about it, with precautions and dose:

I am very suspicious that your boy may have a stretched or ruptured cranial cruciate ligament. He is showing all the symptoms, and is the size of dog that is most likely to have this injury. When I see dogs that have simply stretched the cruciate, I advise owners to keep them as quite as possible (5 min leash walks only, help on the stairs) for 2 weeks, and then very gradually increase the length of walks. Unfortunately, with a ruptured cruciate, surgery is usually needed. I do think your boy is going to need to see his vet for a diagnosis on this one!

If this has been helpful, please accept my answer and leave feedback. I will still be here to provide more information if you need it!

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
if the ccl is similar to the acl then wouldn't his point of pain be in the knee region rather than up closer to the tail?
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
Yes... though in order to diagnose a CCR you have to elicit a Drawer sign. This involves holding the femur still and checking for laxity in the knee. It's a bit tricky and not something I would recommend trying at home as if he DOES have a CCR he is quite likely to really hurt for this test. I usually give a pain killer/muscle relaxant first.

With the pain up in the hip, that is more suggestive of a hip dislocation, but with that he would collapse when forced to bear weight on it. So... a bit of a puzzle!

If there are no obvious skin wounds, it does suggest a bone or ligament problem, and I have tried to think of all the ones I would be checking him for. It doesn't sound like arthritis, either as the onset is too rapid, and he is too painful.

Without a hands-on exam it's hard to be sure. And even then, it's hard to be sure and I would probably recommend x-rays!
Wish I could narrow it down more than that, but I can't - sorry!

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