How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lisa Your Own Question
Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16545
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Lisa is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a mini goldendoodle that will scratch at air but then

This answer was rated:

I have a mini goldendoodle that will scratch at air but then starts crying/squeeling at times. When I touch around her face and specifically her chin she will mimc the scratching at air. She also lifts her left leg when going down the stairs and also when she urinates- the leg is just lifted not to hit the stair or the ground. When she walks she is fine. We just had an MRI to check for meningitis and caudal occipital malformation but they did not see anything. We have tried different dog foods as well as steriods, benadryl and another allergy drug to see if that fixed problem. The steriod seems to have an effect but its not 100%. Any clues?
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

Did your vet check for a torn CCL in her leg?

Is it only when she goes down the stairs or urinates that she holds up that leg?

When she's playing, does she ever kick that leg out behind her?

Does she have any red staining under her eyes or on her feet?

Do you ever see her chewing at her feet?

What food are you feeding her?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No the ccl has not been checked.

Yes only when she is going down the stairs or urinating does the leg come up. She runs and jumps/leaps with out any problems.

She does not kick leg or at any other time.

No red stains under her eyes or feet.

She does not chew at feet.

I have tried 3 types of food: pedigree, science diet hypoallergenic, and natural baXXXXX XXXXXmited ingredients.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

How long has that leg thing been going on?

Is she a hyper player?

Does she chase balls or frisbees?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Well she is a 15 month old dog and I cannot remember her not lifting that leg when squatting to urinate- didnt think much of it until we started trying to figure out why peridoically she would scratch at air and them squeel. Initially we thought it was allergies but that doesnt look like the problem. She is a very hyper player- loves to play fetch, dive in pool, play chase- nothing is slowing her down.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

She will also tilt her head right before she scratches at air and squeels

I appreciate you answering my questions. I just have one more:

Is it always the same leg?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Great question- I am 90% confident it is the same leg but to be honest its not something I tracked until I started thinking it may be a symptom of her problem

THanks for the additional information.

I'm not sure what prompts her chin squealing, but when it comes to that leg, This really does sound like either a completely or partially torn CCL. Especially since you said this has been an issue for as long as you can remember.

The CCL (Cranial Cruciate Ligament...the dog's version of the ACL) runs on the outside of both back legs. It connects the upper bone with the lower ones, and has a nasty habit of breaking or tearing, usually without any warning or notice.

Unfortunately, the only way to diagnose this is with a trip to the vet. Your regular vet will most likely take x-rays and palpate the limbs to look for hallmarks of the torn ligament (legs with a ruptured or damaged CCL show a 'drawer' movement..which means the bones slide side to side and front to back, whereas an intact ligament doesn't allow for that sort of movement).

If it turns out that the problem is a damaged CCL, the only way to repair it is surgically, and there are 4 types of surgery that are used and you can find a pdf file here: that will explain it to you.

Once you and your vet decide on which type of surgery is requires, recovery time is solely dependent on owner compliance and with the dog itself.

Every clinic is going to give you different guidelines, however ours went like this, and keep in mind that in between every step in the process is a trip to the vet for a check up on the surgery site:

First 2 weeks after surgery: On-leash only to go outside to potty and then back inside. Can be off-lead in the house, but stairs and jumping on couches, ect. is to be discouraged. If you are unable to limit the dog's movement in the house, confining to a crate is an option.

Weeks 3-6: Short walks on leash only. Still no free exercise off leash.

Weeks 7-12: Can be off leash while supervised. Stairs and couches are allowed. Should only walk, ect, short distances as to not stress the other three legs.

After week 12, its on a dog-by-dog basis. Obviously if the dog is allowed to do too much too quickly, they do risk re-injuring the leg, which will require surgical repair.

Of course, it SOUNDS like a long time to keep an active dog quiet...but 3 months really isn't much in the grand scheme of things. It's actually a little easier if you live somewhere that gets cold weather, as winter tends to keep people indoors more, but with determination and patience, it can be done even in warm weather with an active dog.

As for success, I've seen really, REALLY great outcomes on these dogs. You have to keep in mind that he's probably painful all the time right now because of the torn CCL, so getting it repaired will eliminate the chronic pain and get her feeling better and returning to her normal, active, pain-free life.

I hope this helps
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks I was really hoping to get an answer to the squeeling as I think the leg issue is related. But if it is two issues- why would she be able to run and jump without having issue with leg then? She is wicked fast and I dont think if she had doggies version of ACL that would be the case.

It depends on the dog. I've seen dogs with tears or partial tears act totally normal, only seeming to have a problem when the dog does stairs. It likely has to do with where the tear is or if it's completely torn.

The squealing...that's hard to say. If the Prednisone did help, you could ask your vet about doing some VARL testing. I actually have two allergy dogs I live with.

With my pup, I had my vet do VARL testing (more info here: ), which determined exactly what he was allergic to (turns out he's allergic to ragweed and a specific type of pollen), which made it easier to control his contact with the items he's allergic to. As a side note...many, many, many dogs are highly allergic to corn and corn products, so it could very well be that if any of the dog foods you're using contain corn, that could be part of his problem.


We also began using the medication Atopica (more info here: ), which helped control his itching and made him a happier guy. Atopica is sort of the 'big gun', and once we got my dog's allergies under control, we were able to switch to Temaril P instead (which is less expensive and it only takes 1/4 tablet once a day to keep my dog's allergies in check).


Lisa and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
I'm sorry you feel like you got an incomplete answer. What other information are you searching for?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Well I really want to understand why she scratches at air and squeels- its like she is in pain.

I understand that...however, without being able to see her in person, there is really no way to know for sure. You had mentioned that the Prednisone she was on did seem to help her, so I can't help but think that the squeeling could be related to sensitive skin..possibly from allergies...which is why I suggested the VARL testing and allergy medication.

It's a good idea if you have a phone or digital camera to video tape her when she's doing that behavior and show it to your vet. Often vets can't figure out exactly what is going on unless they can see the behavior, and since dogs don't always perform on command at the vet clinic then taping it for the vet is the next best way to show him this symptom.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I understand that- she actually got a depo shot to help it. May be more related to swelling around here spinal column then allergies. It just doesnt appear to be related to allergies as much as a physical issue with her.

I can't imagine why she would have swelling around her spinal column unless there is trauma or some sort of infection. Of course, if there was infection she'd also have a fever and it would have gotten worse with the steroids (steroids supress the immune system, which would cause an infection to get out of control).
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I understand but I think the symptoms are related versus independent of eachother. If we take the stance that the symptoms are intertwined then the issue has to be more a physical issue/ genetic issue. If that is the case, then the question is what could cause all of these symptoms.

There's really nothing that would combine those symptoms. Things like Lyme disease can have both those components, but if she's been doing this since you got her, it's unlikely.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Actually caudal occipital malformation would cause all of this but that has been ruled out by mri

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
I would like to know condition that causes all symptoms described