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Dr. Loretta
Dr. Loretta, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28298
Experience:  25 years of experience in surgery and internal medicine.
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I have an 11 year old German Short-haired Pointer. He has

Customer Question

I have an 11 year old German Short-haired Pointer. He has had a very active and full of exercise life and is in good looking physical condition. Every vet he has ever been too has commented positively on his muscle tone for example. Its because of this active life I am worried about his older age and his body standing up strong.
Recently, over the last few months I have been noticing a cracking sound coming from I think his rear legs, perhaps knees when he lays down or gets up. Not every time, but often. During the last few days he has a couple times now favored a back leg, as I lifting it off the ground and walking on the other three legs. I move his legs when this happens, and get him walking an everything seems good, he never yelps or anything.
Some details about him. He has always been a stoic for discomfort, never really letting on any problems unless they are major-ish. And 9 years ago when hew was young he got hit by a big truck and it damage/crushed the cartilage between his back hips/things. We had to nurse him back to health with very light duty for about 6 weeks. The vet at the time told me he had healed up great though, and being a fast and easy healer has always been something about his as well - ie heals up little wounds or cuts super fast also.
What I want to know is why is this starting now, is it arthritus and just some pain thatsw making his fel like he shouldn’t put weight on th eleg or is there some other issue with his breed ? Or perhaps his history of 1+ hour(s) 5 times a week of exercise (running/fetching and or swimming) could be the cause of some other issue.
Any help you can give is greatly appreciated.
Matt & Ferris.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Loretta replied 2 years ago.

Good Afternoon and welcome! I am Dr. Loretta, a licensed veterinarian and I am happy to answer your question.

I also had a German Short haired pointer that lived to be 15 yrs. They will develop arthritis and extra bone development in certain areas just due to age and possibly injuries such as you described when he was 2 yrs. This arthritis can be in his hips or Discospondylitis which is in the disc space and is common in older pointers. This extra bone will interfere with the nerve supply causing limping in certain areas or pain and inflammation. The exercise will help Ferris by decreasing the inflammation with movement but too much could cause this excess bone growth to cause interference. It is best, ***** ***** age to limit exercise to something less than he has been doing in the past.

Put Ferris on a daily supplement of Glucosamine/Chondroitin which is available at the pet store. This will add lubrication to the joints to decrease discomfort. Also, if he has a bad day or starts limping r favoring a leg, give him aspirin at 5 mg per pound every 12 hrs to relieve inflammation.

I would recommend having your vet run xrays so that you and your vet have a better idea of what you are dealing with as far as extra bone development is concerned and this will help you determine what will be best for your sweet Ferris.

Does that make sense to you?

Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please REPLY so I can clarify for you.
Sincerely, ***** *****

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
the cracking can be a symptom of the arthritis and or extra bone development? He had an X-ray about 3 months ago and supposedly there were no issues noticed. I have the X-ray, what exactly would I be looking for to see signs of Discospondylitis or arthritis or bone growth?He has received exercise in the past (his whole life til about 10 months ago) as entirely off leash running/swimming etc and over the last year or so I have been doing much less off-leash time and more on leash walking (20-30 minutes), to now where he is only off leash about 5-10 minutes per week. In your opinion is this a good move or should I be letting him off leash a bit more than 5-10 minutes per week, or not at all?Willingness and Energy is still super high, so he would like it, but I figured he has gotten older and shown signs that he cant do the same exercise as before, so I reduced his exercise, trying to get him to take it easy. Your thoughts?
Expert:  Dr. Loretta replied 2 years ago.

The cracking noises are usually related to ligaments popping similar to popping your fingers and making that noise. It is not bad but a symptom of possibly a ligament issue such as the ACL or Anterior Cruciate Ligamnet in the knee. I would think , at this point, that your vet should check for ligament issues by testing especially since the X-rays were clear. Even though the X-rays were taken 3 months ago, things can change quickly as Ferris ages, so best to take more X-rays. If I were you, considering these symptoms, walking on a leash and only small amounts of time off leash would be enough to make Ferris happy and not further damage or cause pain in the affected areas.Does that make sense?