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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10156
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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Have a 8 yr ol great dane who has a swollen leg from hip

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have a 8 yr ol great dane who has a swollen leg from hip down past knee
its not joint related b/c she walks fine, no open abcess' however there is one sore just above knee that appears to be on the mend...meaning its not open nor oozing any type of fluid
Trying to make a determination before running off to vet. Have had 7 previous danes and have not seen anything like this before.
Thanks in advance for any input.

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this concern about Lulu. I do have a few additional questions to ask about her first if you don't mind:

1. Do you think you could send me a picture of her leg? The following link walks you through the process:

2. How long has she has this problem?

3. Is she eating and drinking?

4. No other symptoms such as weight loss or exercise intolerance?

Thanks, Deb

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Response to your questions.
1) Yes
2) First noticed this morning (Currently 11am Seattle Time-1st noticed 8:30 <about 2.5 hrs ago>)
3) Yes & Yes...She's drinking-she's not normally a dog food eater in morning <her 1st meal of day 12 noon>Wife gave her 3 slices of bread with peanut butter b/c Rymadel states to take with food.
4) she's approximately 200lbs, Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear about 1 yr ago-chose no surgery-she's adjusted accordingly-mobility has been fine-never been a runner but can walk anywhere-careful though to only take out 10 min walks-to your question, over-excercise is NOT issue
Thank you
Scott(###) ###-####


Thanks so much for the answers to my questions, the additional information and most importantly, the pictures. These are quite helpful.

Please give me a few minutes to type back a response for you. Deb

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you Deb!

I agree wholeheartedly with you that this isn't likely to be an orthopedic issue.

This looks like either edema (fluid retention) or possibly cellulitus (infection along tissue planes). At this point, it may be difficult to tell the difference.

1. The "sore" may have been a source for infection which has spread rapidly which sometimes happens. Some patients will run fevers so if you have a thermometer, it may be helpful to know if her temperature is high or not; normal is between 100 and 102.5.

If this is infection, then she'll need antibiotics before improvement is seen. If you have access to any drugs of this sort, please let me know and I can provide a dose for a dog this size.

2. If this is edema, the skin may "pit" or remain slightly depressed when you press it firmly in one place. The underlying causes for pitting edema range from cardiovascular issues to liver problems to impaired flow of the lymphatic system.

This type of problem often takes quite a bit of testing to determine the underlying cause.

It might be prudent to have her seen today unless you have antibiotics which can be given. Hopefully, this is just an infection but since it could be something a little more serious, I probably would want to have her seen sooner rather than later.

I hope this helps. Deb

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you...very helpful...taking her to vet now.


You're more than welcome and I think that's a wise decision.

Please keep me posted, if you have a chance. I'd very much like to know what the vet thinks is going on with her. Even after you've rated (if you do, of course), we can continue to communicate about this issue at no additional charge to you.

Best wishes being sent her way. Regards, Deb

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Deb,
Just a quick update.
Vet took x-rays & bloodwork...nothing conclusive...told to go back on Rimydal and follow-up Wednesday.
As you alluded too, appears to be infection so I'm concerned no anti-biotics being far as I know, Rimydal is anti-inflammatory for pain relief. I'll need to clarify with vet she can rule out either edema or cellulitis.
Thanks again,


Thanks for the update.

I'm sorry that your vet wasn't able to more definitely conclude what's going on but I have to agree with you about antibiotics not being prescribed. I don't like to second guess fellow professionals since they're onsite and I'm not but, I'm not sure why all bases weren't covered.

Rimadyl is primarily used by most vets as an anti-inflammatory drug although it does have anti-pain properties as well. It's a good nsaid if inflammation is present but it obviously won't be effective against a bacterial infection.

I'll be hoping that it will be enough to resolve the problem.

If you haven't already been told or decided to do so, applying a cool compress to the leg for the first 72 hours may help. Just make sure to wrap whatever you use in a towel or something similar so that it's not applied directly to the skin...which can cause damage.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Deb,
Good to know...thank you...the sore started oozing blood this had little white peices which I assumed was my wife drained a good portion. Our neighbor is a dog lover and a RN nurse so she assisted. Then they bandaged it up...still periodically draining.
Will know further results from x-rays by Mon or Tues. Keep you posted.
Thanks again,


Thanks for the continued update.

Glad that you have a medical individual helping you. It sounds to me more than ever as if antibiotics are going to be required at some point...hopefully soon.

Even though your RN nurse probably has things covered, I'll share how I'd deal with the oozing area topically:

1. Avoid hydrogen peroxide since it can retard healing. Instead use over the counter, dilute Betadine or Iodine to the color of weak tea to flush and clean the sore. Other acceptable products are ones which include Chlorhexiderm such as Hebiclens.

2. Then once it drys, apply antibiotic ointment such as we'd use on a wound for ourselves.

3. Another product which may be helpful is Vetericyn Spray which may be available at local pet/grain stores or online, shipped overnight delivery.

4. I don't typically bandage these sorts of lesions since I want them open and draining but if you continue to bandage it, take care that it's not too tight since circulation can be compromised and the distal aspect of the leg might become even more swollen.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hello Deb,
sorry...I guess I didn't clarify. Vet not only left us with Rimydal but also an anti-biotic called Metronidazole 500mg - 2x's every 12 hours along with 200 mg of Rimydal every 12 hrs.
Swelling did go down. I will measure tomorrow with a Myotape body measuring tape to track reduction of swelling. My wife also drained 5 pans (kidney shaped pans given to children in case of vomiting) of blood mixed with infectious puss. Neighbor double check her heart rate and stated normal. Her activity level (going outside to bathroom has increased) Keep you posted. Thank you again for your support.


Once again, thanks for the update.

I know every vet practices differently but Metronidazole is not an antibiotic choice that I would have made in this situation and a low dose at that for a dog this size. When dealing with a complicated infection, I'll often use it in combination with other antibiotics to target both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria but rarely do I use Metronidazole alone unless I'm treating diarrhea.

However, if Lulu is responding, then who can argue with results???

That's a lot of drainage but glad that the material is no longer in her body. Deb

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Deb,
Thank you again for your input...I will research this particular drug later today.
I have some good rapport with the owner of the vet clinic, and experienced vetinarian with 19 yrs experience. The vet who prescribed the anti-biotic has two years experience. Hopefully, I can find enough compelling information about the current anti-biotic which might allow me to question whether it truly is the best choice. Keep you posted and again, thank you very much.


Glad to help. Look forward to continued updates. Deb

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
BTW...We've been highly impressed with your site and have begun to sing your and your site's praises...Our neighbor (previous RN/dog lover who assisted us previously) has asked us to send her your (site's service) URL which we will do. Thx again, Scott


I'm glad you've been happy with the the site and service and thanks for the kind words; they mean a lot:)

If you or your neighbor ever want to request me directly, just include "for Dr. Deb only" at the beginning of the question; that way, other experts won't respond. Of course, if it's an emergency, you'll want whoever's on at the time to assist.


Dr. Deb and other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Scott,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Lulu. How is everything going?
Dr. Deb
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Deb,
Lulu appears to be on the mend...her alertness & playfulness have returned and of course, her swelling is now very minimal. I spoke with the vet (the owner who I have good rapport with and has 19 yrs experience) 'Billy' and he stated there was some joint swelling as well as some swelling caused by infection from the open wound so there were two separate issues happening simultaneously.
Appreciate your follow-up Deb. I'll also fill out that survey which was emailed to me.
Thank you for everything!


It's been my pleasure to help both you and Lulu.

When I hadn't heard back from you for a few days, I assumed that Lulu was doing well; I'm glad to have that assumption confirmed:)

It definitely sounds as if she's out of the woods, thank goodness. Deb