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ERAnimalNurse, Emergency Critical Care Nurse
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2302
Experience:  16+ years of veterinary experience
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My dog (9 year Rottie mix) has a swollen front leg joint.

Customer Question

My dog (9 year Rottie mix) has a swollen front leg joint. Took him to vet, who said an xray would be about 100.00 so decided to wait and see what happened. It is still the same, now am wondering if I should try a splint or sling? The swelling is warm to touch and happened overnight.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  ERAnimalNurse replied 7 years ago.



I am sorry your dog is having trouble. Applying a splint at home is not a good idea, especially if you don't know what is causing the swelling. Even though it might seen easy to splint a leg, it isn't and you could wind up making the situation much worse. I am worried about this swelling, because your dog is older. There might be an auto-immune component present that is causing inflammation, or a tick borne illness like lyme disease. Or, your dog might be experiencing a type of cancer that involves the bone, called osteosarcoma. To properly manage this swellilng, some x-rays will be necessary, and some blood tests might also be necessary before your dog can safely be put on pain medicines. You should use aspirin with caution since it can be harsh on the liver and kidneys, and these organs might not be functioning normally in an older dog. I feel that splinting the leg is definitely not the best thing to do here, and that your dog really would benefit from some x-rays. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. If this has been helpful, please hit the green accept button. Best of luck with your dog, I hope nothing too serious is going on.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi and thanks for the info. I did read alot about the osteosarcoma already but if he had bone cancer would it be hot and swell up just overnight? It has not gotten worse, just stayed exactly the same for about one week. I really want to try any options before paying over a hundred dollars at the vet (already paid 35.00 for office visit) just to hear he has bone cancer and will die. I saw the only treatment is amputation which I wouldn't do with his age and bad prognosis (of bone cancer). Isn't there anything I can try to rule out what it is? I was thinking if it was a sprain or something then I could try that to rule out that first. . .he did have surgery for some lypomas the week before the joint swelled and I asked the vet if it was because he was favoring the other side perhaps (that is where most of the big lumps were) but he said no, that doesn't normally happen. What do you think?
Expert:  ERAnimalNurse replied 7 years ago.
I mentioned osteosarcoma because of his age and the location of the swelling, but typically it does not appear over night. The area is typically tender, may be warm to the touch, and can come up quickly. I don't think it's a sprain either, as this is not the typical presentation. There is not really anything you can do at home to diagnose or rule things out, short of waiting and watching. If you choose this option and your dog does not get better, you will still be left with the same choices: have the x-rays done, or continue to watch. The longer it takes to determine what is going on, the more difficult and expensive it can be to manage it, or to make your dog comfortable.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
So what I hear is that there is nothing I can do but wait or pay for expensive x-rays. I really wanted some options by trying this website, but am left with exactly the same ones I had before.