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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21419
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My chihuahua started sticking his hind leg up almost vertical

Customer Question

My chihuahua started sticking his hind leg up almost vertical and doesn't move. He cant walk really at all, and his balance is shoddy, but he isn't whining like he's in pain... He is a rescue. We've had him for 3 years and he has always had some type of deformity or arthritis causing his neck To be stiff and his body crooked (my daughter named him Cheeto because he's crooked, well, like a Cheeto chip). I'm not sure what it could be. I'm taking him to the vet Friday, but was curious if I could give him anything for the time being? He's got to be miserable.... We aren't sure of his age. The vet guessed around 10 or so when we first got him
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner, but can you tell me: How long has he had these signs?Any history of falls or injuries?Can he weight bear on the leg at all? Even for a moment?Can you take a photo of him so I can see how he is standing? To post photos online, you can use the paperclip icon above your text box. Or if you cannot see that, just post them on any site (ie Flickr, Photobucket, Imgr etc) and paste the web link here for me follow.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No falls nor injuries that I know of. If I grab his leg and gently move it around he doesn't act like there's any pain. He doesn't put it on the ground at all. This picture is of him holding his leg up, with it pointed at the ground, trying to hobble around. When I first noticed his issue, he had his leg almost pointing straight up at the air as high as he could. It was weird. And he was falling over with balance issues from trying to stick his leg up so high. His leg was up considerably higher than when he hikes to urinate.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** would note that the balance issue isn't unexpected if he cannot put the leg down. Now based on the photo and what you have noted about his not being able to put it down at all does raise some red flags.First, we can see this kind of odd leg posture with them unable to put the leg down in dogs that have dislocated their hip. This usually isn't painful per say since the leg isn't being used. Though it can be sore if a vet tries to fully extend the leg (since there won't be a smooth joint moving but instead the femur's head rubbing on the bone of the hip). And I would note that while this often is something that happens with injuries, some dogs (those with poor hip joints in general) can have this just pop out without any warning. And I have to say this would be my top concern for little Cheeto and something we are best to have checked and addressed as soon as possible. Especially since the longer the hip is out, the harder it is to get it to stay in once replaced.Otherwise, our other concern that could manifest this way would be problems with the knee. If he has strained, torn, or even ruptured a ligament in his knee, then he would again appear in this manner. Though usually they will at least be able to put the foot down to the ground for at least just a moment. Finally, issues with the knee cap (patellar luxation) could also be a factor here, though usually I tend to see them with legs stuck extended at the knee instead of bent as his is.Overall, we do have a few concerns for Cheeto but given that he is not weight bearing at all and may not even be able to put the leg down, I'd be particularly concerned about possible dislocation. Therefore, I do think it would be best to be checked +/- xrayed. Depending on his vet's findings, he may need this popped back in under anesthesia (since it can be sore to replace) to get him using the leg properly again.Please take care,Dr. B. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. **Afterwards, I would be grateful if you would rate my service by clicking on the "Rate my Expert' button at the top of the page as this is the only way I am credited for helping you. Thank you for your feedback!: )
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks! The thing that has me confused is that he will not (or can not) move around. I've seen dogs with leg injuries walk around on the other three legs. He just stays within a 2 ft radius of where I set him. It's like his other legs won't work or something. Is this normal behavior for a chihuahua with a leg injury or could there be something else. He has always had balance issues since we got him. He usually falls over a few times when he hikes to urinate (before this new problem).
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome, I agree its a bit odd, but we do sometimes see sensitive dogs do just that. They can actually move the other legs but are reluctant to, potentially from fear that it may hurt I they do. And if Cheeto has a pre-existing neck issue, then he may be that kind of dog and thus is erring on the side of not overdoing things to avoid the possibility of pain. Of course though, if he has always struggled with his balance this may just be making him feel even more anxious of falling and again he is taking the safe option of not moving and risking it.Best wishes to you both,Dr. B.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?