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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19746
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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My dog (4 year old female) has been limping for over a month

Customer Question

My dog (4 year old female) has been limping for over a month and loosing weight. Last week, I took her for a second appointement with the vet for this problem, he made her sleep and took some xrays. All he saw was what he described as a 'fuzzy' area around the bone of her left knew. He plans to redo the test next month and gave her an anti-inflamatory in the mean time. Now here's the weird thing, the following day, she started to get a bunch of sagging skin under her chin, it would hang over her collar... which I took off. It seems to be getting a bit better now but I've never heard of such a thing and I wonder if anyone else has. I had asked the vet's secretary for a thyroid test thinking that if she was hyper, it may explain all the weight loss (she's also extreemly anxious) but it wasn't done. All her regular blood work came back normal though. Does anyone know if this could cause a dropping neck - also, if she had worms, would that have shown up in her blood work?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 5 years ago.

The sagging skin is likely related to the weight loss. The loss of muscle mass will lead to skin sagging more than normal. Hyperthyroidism is very rare in dogs, so that is not likely the cause.

I would do some screening bloodwork to rule out kidney/ liver disease and diabetes- It sounds like this was done and found to be normal.

If you could post the x-rays here (assuming digital) then I could look at them and give you another opinion. My main thought is that there is some arthritis build up given the fuzzy look. Arthritis looks like fuzzy areas on the outside of the bone.

If there is lameness for > 2 weeks in a rear leg localized to the knee, then my main concern is an ACL (CCL in dogs) tear in the knee. This is diagnosed based on feeling instability in the knee (called cranial drawer). Treatment is surgery to stabilize the joint similar to how we treat ACL tears in people.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions. If you have the x-rays, please post them on this thread and I'll take a look for you.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The xrays were not digital and the vet still has them. He said there is some 'losseness' around the 'cruciate'(?) but he doesn't feel it's enough to warrant surgery at this time. She had jumped out of a window a few months ago and he thinks it's possibly from somesort of damage she sustained at that time and the 'fuzzy' could be from the healing, thus the next xray, he said sometimes tumors can do this too but there would usually be some visible damage to the bone, this is why he wants to do another xray in a month. I'm just glad it's nothing hugely abnormal, it just seemed to come so suddenly but maybe that's just how I noticed it. Thanks for your reply!

Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 5 years ago.
I would bet we're dealing with a partial ACL (cruciate ligament) tear here. The fuzziness is likely arthritis around the joint from having an unstable joint.

Personally, I don't find rest/ pain management to be sufficient for ACL tears. They need the joint stabilized- the only way to do this is with surgery. It's no rush obviously, but it should be done. If we're > 1 month of limping, then it's not going to heal on it's own.

I don't think bone tumor is all that likely given her age and the location. Bone tumors are typically on the front leg and when on the rear leg they are not near the knee joint.

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