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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16545
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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My dog suddenly stopped walking on one of her back legs 3

Customer Question

my dog suddenly stopped walking on one of her back legs 3 days ago. we came back upstairs into the apartment and she was walking and playing fine. she walked over to the entertainment center, plopped down, and has been limping ever since. she holds her leg close to her body. there isn't anything broken but it seems she may have torn her muscle(?). she also has episodes of urination during the night and sometimes during the day which she did not have issue with before.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: no wounds. there was swelling the day of but not anymore, no redness at any time
JA: What is the dog's name?
Customer: Mimi
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Mimi?
Customer: she has cancer, not sure which type, but she was never spayed (she was my cousin's dog whom I took her from a few years ago, Mimi is about 10-11 y.o.). she has nodules all over the underside of her body and two nodules have grown by her nipples.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Lisa replied 10 months ago.

Hello! My name is ***** ***** it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Expert:  Lisa replied 10 months ago.

Does she seem to put weight on it if she's just standing still?

Any problem going up or down stairs that seems more pronounced than it did before?

Is she on any medications?

Where was the swelling on that first day?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
she puts no weight on her leg, I do not have her go up or down stairs since she stopped putting weight on that leg, no meds, swelling only the first night
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I have been trying to massage her leg thinking maybe she pulled a muscle or something. but she stills seems to be in a lot of pain when I try to manipulate her leg
Expert:  Lisa replied 10 months ago.

Where was the swelling located?

Where does she seem the most painful?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
her right thigh was swollen. the pain seems to be mostly in the center of her thigh going towards the inside hip socket (not the socket itself). she doesn't allow full extension but she allows flexion. when I cup her hip and press into her body she is in a lot of pain.
Expert:  Lisa replied 10 months ago.

Gotcha. Thanks for the additional information. I really appreciate it.

Unfortunately, from your description of how it happened, how she's acting and where the pain seems to be located, I suspect that she's got either a partially or completely torn CCL.

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...however, in a dog as old as Mimi, who has some pre-existing health issues, the best bet may simply be comfort measures. Anti-inflammatories and pain relief (sometimes in the form of Metacam and Tramadol) can help keep the swelling down and help make her more comfortable, but talking to your vet is the first step.

I hope this helps.

Expert:  Lisa replied 10 months ago.

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