Why does my German shepherd walk like his front legs are too long? he swings both of his front legs wide when he walks. Hes Less than 6 months old and almost 70 Lbs. He doesnt act like its painful at all.
Type of Animal: GSD
Age: Almost 6 months
Name of Animal: Blitz
Hi, I'm Dr Steve
Has he always done this?
No it just started about a week ago maybe 2 weeks.
Ok, Has he had a recent growth spurt in this time frame?
Yes he got taller right before we really noticed it. He will be 6 months on the 28th and he is signifigantly larger than my other shepherd.
My wife made a comment the other day that she thinks hes growing uneven
IF he is acting normally in other respects, it is possible that he is experiencing the awkardness of the teen years. THis does occur in some larger breed dogs.
WHen the legs in his case grow at a different rate than the body, it can cause this type of problem. There really is nothing to do if it is a normal growing issue. Unfortunately there is another possibility and that would be a possible spinal cord injury in the neck. German shepherds can be prone to the as can labs and golden retrievers.
he is eating and drinking normally, playing a bit less but not much, going to the bathroom normally just walking like the "wax on Wax off" motion from the Karate Kid Movie.
If he partially prolapsed a neck IV disc into his spinal cord, it can cause high or over stepping some what similar to what you have described. If he does have an injured IV disc, then hte treatment is injectable steroids to reduce inflammation in the spinal cord.
Would there be any other deficits for the spinal chord injury other than the noticibally different gait? And the gait is not abnormal all the time but when he stands up from laying
Since this possibility has serious complications if left too long or if it gets worse, I typically recommend a thorough cinical exam with nuerologic examinaiton as well.
THis can help your vet determine if there is an in jury , infection or some other less common possibole explanation for his problem. THe treatment usually shows some result in 24 hours.
Any other defecits we would notice?
If the condition worsens, he may begin to stumble from not being able to lift his front leg high enough to make a normal step.
And its not an all the time thing when hes walking it is only happening about 30 percent of the time and really very prevalent when he gets up from laying down
The treatment for this condition is injectable steroids to reduce the swelling inthe injured IV disc as well as the spnal cord. Once the swelling is gone it allows a more thorough eam with prognosis more accurate to give.
My last question is what is the final sign before we spend the large amt of money for the visit, steroids, etc etc. Hes not stumbling but i dont want him to get to an untendable point. Whats really the drop dead point or the point of no return so to speak to get him to the vet
Your vet can do a nuerological exam to see if there are any spinal cord issues. If not, then it is likely just a phase. THe problem with waiting to see if he outgrows it , is that if it is a spinal cord issue, he could progress to causing more damage to the spinal cord , even paralysis. IN my opinion, he should be checked out son to find out f the spinal cord is at risk. You could call your vet and ask about the costs of an exam and steroids. Typically the fees aren't that expensive.
If you choose to wait and there are some spinal cord issues, he could cause permanent irreversible damage.
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Thank you for your help doctor I do appreciate it
I hope it turns out to be a grwoth issue and not a spinal cord injury. THanks for the question
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