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Back leg lameness in dog

by Alison
(Wisconsin)

My dog was fine until a few frisbee falls. She came down HARD on her back right leg, this was 6 months ago. Since then we have been practicing agility. She's been okay until about a month ago and now her back leg is getting worse.

She is a 2 yr old Blue heeler. I took her to the vet (who does NOT believe in chiropractic care) and she gave me prednisone. I have not given it to the dog yet as I still think chiro care can help her.

The vet diagnosed pinched nerve in the back leg. Do you think dog chiropractic care can help her?

She seems to be getting worse. I have been giving her baby aspirin daily. She doesn't act lame that much, it comes and goes. She takes the stairs with only 3 legs but otherwise puts weight on it but it is visually obvious something is wrong.

Please give me your opinion as we do want to continue agility. My trainer says she is not using her back legs correctly.

Comments for Back leg lameness in dog

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Feb 24, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Back Leg Lameness in Dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Alison,
From what you have described, I would diagnose a sprain or torn cruciate ligament in the stifle, or 'knee' area. A 'pinched' nerve would certainly cause a lameness, but I would expect the leg to be dragged more, or appear to 'knuckle' under when she is walking. While having a ligament injury would make her carry the leg, and not place weight on it, it can become a chronic problem in such an active dog!

Giving aspirin or steroids will decrease the inflammation but not aid in healing since she will not feel pain and will use the leg even more, causing more stress on the joint.

Having her on a healthy diet will help (see the 10 best dog food options page would be essential in speeding up her recovery. Check out the raw diet options).

If the problem is due to a torn or sprained anterior cruciate ligament, then, first, I would suggest REST for at least 2 weeks. This may be difficult to do in a frisbee chasing 'champion', but she needs to let it heal. NO running up and down stairs, allow her outside only to go to the bathroom, then back inside, NO walks around the block! She should also take a supplement called Ligaplex from Standard Process to allow her ligaments to heal. About 1 tablet two times daily for 6 weeks.

Dog chiropractic adjustments may place too much stress on the joint at this time, but dog water therapy (like an underwater treadmill) would be ok. She would not have her full weight on the leg, and the motion would allow her to maintain muscle mass. Dog acupuncture is also an excellent therapy for an injured ligament. As it would help healing and control pain.

If the problem is due to a pinched nerve, then Chiropractic and Acupuncture both would be beneficial. Chiropractic would help align her vertebrae in her spine and release the pressure on the pinched nerve, and Acupuncture would help stimulate healing, control pain and strengthen the other legs. An underwater treadmill would also be helpful.

Seek out the help of a holistic veterinarian to determine what the correct treatment should be at this time, since the injury took place 6 months ago. She may have an accumulation of scar tissue built up in the joint, requiring other supplements or treatments.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.





Feb 24, 2011
Back leg lameness
by: Alison

Well maybe I did not explain it too well as she does drag it and the paw knuckles under. I did have a vet look at her, and she said there are no tears and that it is in fact a pinched nerve.

I have an appt next Monday for a holistic vet to do either chiro or acupuncture whichever she feels will be the most beneficial. I just hope it works, my dog isn't even 2 yet!

Feb 24, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Back leg Lameness in Dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Allison,
Sounds like an excellent plan. Keep us informed!

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Mar 09, 2011
Back leg lameness
by: Alison

We have been to the chiro twice and have her on anti inflammatory medication. She is doing GREAT as far as I can tell. No lameness, no falling on the stairs. It seems to be working! If this really is working I will be so happy.

Mar 10, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Back Leg Lameness in Dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Alison,
Thank you for the update! That is great news. I hope that the veterinary chiropractor is also advising you on diet and nutritional supplements to help her nerves and spine heal.

Please continue to keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.


Mar 17, 2011
Snickers UPdate
by: Alison

Well, after a couple of chiro appointments a week later she was getting lame again. Then we had some nice weather and I let her play outside harder than I should have. Bad choice.

She could barely MOVE that night. We went the next day for x-rays to discover a ruptured disc in the middle of her back right after the ribcage. The chiro noticed that area was tight. Now we are on steroids, rest and I want to try acupuncture next week. The acupuncturist said she'd be an excellent candidate for this.

What are your thoughts on acupuncture? Will it possibly heal her? Surgery is out of the question, looking at $8-10k and they only guarantee the fix to be 60-80% rate and steroids and rest are 40-60%.

Mar 17, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Back Leg Lameness in dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Alison,
YES, acupuncture is an excellent treatment for a ruptured disc. It will help decrease pain, inflammation and allow the tissues to heal.

The benefit of dog acupuncture is that not only are the needles placed in the 'local' areas where the injury occurred, needles are placed in other locations to strengthen the front legs, the immune system, and in the 'master points' for the hindquarters.

You should also give dog dietary supplements to provide nutrients for disc material.

And give her lots of Omega 3 Fish Oils, give her 1,000 mg daily.

If she is overweight (see Dog Obeisty / Dog Weight Loss for more info), you must start her on a weight loss plan. The extra weight will add more stress to her back. If you send a photo of Snickers, and how much she weighs, I can advise you on how many calories she should be eating.

And NO DRY dog food!

So, my answer is 'Yes', you should treat her with acupuncture!

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.




Mar 17, 2011
Snickers
by: Alison

Thanks for the comments! She is not overweight by any means, she's only going to be 2 yrs old which is why this is so sad. I hope all of this can help her to live a good life. I assume I am writing off agility now as I am sure it would aggravate the disc again.

Mar 18, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Back Leg Lameness in Dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Alison,
Sounds like a plan. Keep us posted on Snickers' progress!

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Mar 25, 2011
Snickers update
by: Alison

We had our first acupuncture treatment today. It went VERY well. Snickers actually fell asleep during treatment!

She is already more mobile and active which is hard because she needs to REST for 2 months. I am 100% convinced this was the best method to take.

The vet LOVED that I'm giving her the vetri disc and agreed about the fish oil supplement as well. Thank you for that advice! She thinks Snickers will make a full recovery with the proper rest and continued treatment. We wont be able to compete in agility anymore but she will be a wonderful and happy house pet.

Mar 26, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Back Leg Lameness in Dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Alison,
I am so glad that Snickers was a good patient for acupuncture. I think she will make a full recovery too. I don't know if I would rule out further competition in agility for her. There are many race horses that have had injuries and been treated with acupuncture so that they are able to race again!

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.


Mar 26, 2011
Snickers update
by: Alison

Do you really think so Dr Tillman? Wow that would be so great if she could do it again someday! The lowest jumps i can compete with are 16" which is not too bad. Maybe later in the summer i can get her back into it slowly doing the easy stuff and see how she reacts. Back to acupuncture next Friday!

Mar 26, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Back leg lameness in Dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Alison,
Yes, since she is young, I think Snickers may have a good chance for a complete recovery and possible competition in agility. Of course, you should consult with the veterinary acupuncturist that is working on Snickers for their advice, and take it really slowly getting Snickers back into shape.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Apr 13, 2011
snickers update
by: Alison

Snickers left leg went lame, the acupuncturist said she sprained it and it wasnt the back. My OTHER vet gave me Tramadol to keep her quiet. I just started it tonight. It definitely works but she seems to breathe harder. She prescribed half a pill 2x daily, i elected to give her half a pill 1x daily. ALso she is on 10 mg of steroids, is there a problem with mixing these pills?

Apr 14, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Back Leg Lameness in Dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Allison,
No, there is no problem giving both steroids and Tramadol at the same time. Although, I have seen that effect on some dogs with increased breathing, behaving more anxious and restless, when they are taking steroids.

You may wish to notify your regular veterinarian about Snickers' behavior, and consider adjusting the dose of the steroids.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.


May 16, 2011
Left rear leg problem in 4 year old female lab
by: Gordy Campbell

Hello,

About a month ago Martha was sent from the sit position to fetch a dummy. She took 5-6 steps and started SCREAMing in pain...The left leg was tucked up underneath her..after a fer minutes she started walking and we walked home..she has improved by resting her and was doing fine however today she was very aprehensive in her step and came over to me and was in pain again..she has been given tramadol and is resting.
x rays look normal and I am unsure what to do next..any help would be appreciated..


May 17, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Back Leg Lameness in Dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Gordy,
For Martha to show that much pain, and the x-rays are normal, I would be very concerned that a disc problem, or 'pinched' nerve may be involved. I would suggest that you ask the veterinarian to do a 'neurologic' exam, checking conscious proprioception in her hind feet, and, also, check for sensitive areas along her back, (called Mu Shu points in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine). Perhaps seeking out the help of a holistic veterinarian knowledgeable in acupuncture, may be helpful.

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click on the link below
find a holistic veterinarian in your area

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.



May 18, 2011
Snickers update
by: Alison

Dr. Tillman, i'm down to about a week left on the Vetri disc pills and would like to buy another bottle. Can you please provide me with the website again of where i can purchase this? I thought i saved it but did not. Snickers seems to be doing well but i want to continue another 90 days on these pills. Thank you.

May 24, 2011
Place to buy Vetri Disc
by: Administrator

Hi Alison,

Try this site.

Take care,

Jeff

Jun 13, 2011
Snickers update
by: Alison

Dr. Tillman,

Well what a time we have had. Snickers had surgery today for TWO torn ACL's. She had metal plates put in her legs, her back had been damaged at one time but is all healed, thanks to the acupuncture etc i'm sure but it is all fine. I pick her up tomorrow at teh surgeon office. It was QUITE expensive but he said she will be 95% back to normal so i will have my good little dog back.

Jun 19, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Back Leg Lameness in dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Allison,
What sad news about Snickers. With such extensive surgery that was done at the beginning of the week, (June 13?), I wondered how she was doing now? And if the pain meds are not keeping her comfortable, she may benefit from some acupuncture treatments to help her mend.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.





Jun 19, 2011
Snickers update
by: Alison

Dr Tillman,

I re-read all the posts on here and your first one that talked of the cruciate tear. You were right all along, the only vet that was i may add.
Snickers is doing GREAT. Im so happy with her recovery. Tomorrow will be one week. She is obviously still shaky as he did the surgery on both legs at once, her bruising is all about gone but she's feisty as ever and starting to stand up alot more and even pulls on the leash to go out. Ofcourse we have an area that she is set up in upstairs where she cant go very far and i bought a playpen type structure for outside but she doesnt seem to like it very much. She's a tough one to carry up and down the stairs though at 40 lbs!

Jun 19, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Back Leg Lameness in Dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Alison,
Thank you for the update on Snickers. She may have had a partial cruciate repair that was difficult to diagnose on physical exam. But as time went on, she apparently tore BOTH of her Cruciate ligaments! That is absolutely remarkable how much energy she has post op after a BILATERAL cruciate repair!!

You may need some Rescue Remedy to calm her down a bit. I would not want her to damage any of the surgery that was done!

(Rescue Remedy is available at Health Food stores. You can buy the 'animal' version with glycerin, which you can give her directly by mouth. Or the regular, 'human' version, which is diluted in alcohol. I would NOT put that directly into her mouth, just add 2 drops to her water bowl two times daily. Or you can mix 10-20 drops in a 2 oz dropper bottle with Spring Water, and give that directly into her mouth, whenever she needs it for her high energy, and to help calm her.)

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.





Jun 19, 2011
Snickers update
by: Alison

Well, it seems like the Tramadol she's on is keeping her quiet but i am going to look up that rescue remedy for AFTER we are off the drugs. Thank you for that and yes not even a week for a bilateral repair and she's doing just great. In fact the dr couldnt believe she was even walking at all, poor thing. Her miniscus tore and she was clicking or popping when she walked and still no one picked up on that. Thank GOd she has been fixed.

Jun 20, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Back leg lameness in dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Alison,
You wrote,
"the Tramadol she's on is keeping her quiet but I am going to look up that rescue remedy for AFTER we are off the drugs."

Sounds like a plan!

That is wonderful that her knees have been repaired, and, hopefully, her back will remain healed.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Injury Section,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Developmental Problems Section





Aug 15, 2011
More questions about dog lameness
by: sarah

Dr. Tillman,

I found this conversation today while looking up information on my dog's back leg lameness and thought I might see if you have any additional advice. Sydney is a 10 yr old Australian cattle dog who began showing back leg lameness, knuckling, and chewing on the outside of her leg about 3 months ago. The vet has diagnosed her with a pinched nerve (xrays showed no hip or knee problems). She was initially put on anti-inflammatories and pain meds. When those didn't help, she was put on steroids (prednisone),Tramadol, and a muscle relaxer. I also give her joint supplements.

While this combination allows her move around mostly without pain, she still drags the foot, trips, and occasionally chews on her leg/hip. She still has plenty of energy but her body can't keep up with her.

From reading you website, I think I should see whether the vetri-disc supplements would help her. I am also planning to change her diet as she is now gaining weight due to limited mobility plus steroids...

As far as other remedies/treatments, I have ha a difficult time finding more information or vets as I live in a rural area in coastal Georgia. My vet has reccommended laser therapy. Do you have any comments about laser therapy or other advice?

Sorry to be so long winded, just worried about my baby.

Thanks!

Aug 16, 2011
My Online Vet Repsonse for Back Leg Lameness in dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Sarah,
Thanks for your question. I'm happy to help, but we only accept new questions from subscribers (the original question above was from a subscriber).
Please click here to sign up and submit your question and photos. I'll then get back to you right away at the bottom of your newly created web page.

In the meantime, for Sydney, your 10 year old Australian Cattle Dog, with a diagnosis of inter-vertebral disc disease, Vetridisc would be an EXCELLENT addition for supportive care, and laser therapy would also be ok.

My suggestion would be to find a holistic veterinarian that can do acupuncture.

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click on the link below
find a holistic veterinarian in your area

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us
by clicking the like button at the top of the left
margin
. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.





Sep 08, 2011
Martha
by: Gordy Campbell

Hi Dr Tillman,

Just wanted to give you an update on Martha. I rested her and kept her off the rear legs by using a sling to take her out to potty etc..

I would give her 1/2 of a tramadol 3 times a day so she would stay relaxed.

After 30 days I started letting her walk SLOWLY on leash for 5-10 minutes and continued resting her for 2 more weeks.

Than I had her start swimming by putting her on shore in the water and throwing the dummy out 20 or so feet at a time for 20-30 minutes 2 - 3 times a week for another 2 weeks...

It is 100+ days now and she seems to have made a full recovery.. She is retrieving nicely although I have not let her start from the sitting position (like when she injured herself)

I am keeping my fingers crossed....

Regards,

Gordy Campbell

Oct 03, 2011
Snickers update
by: Alison

Hi Dr. Tillman,
Its been over 3 months now since Snickers TPLO surgery. She is doing great! She is such a happy dog and i'm so happy for her.

We spent a lot of money but its worth it seeing my girl so happy now. THe surgeon gave us the green light on agility and I play with it at home but she just isnt 100%. I feel like we need to wait a bit longer for her muscles to come back 100% and I hope they do.

I am giving her fish oil and glucosamine daily but is there anything you recommend to help her muscles get stronger? I've been walking her daily for about 2 miles but want her to build the muscles so we can continue agility.

Please advise if you have any thoughts and thank you for all of your advice through this!

Oct 04, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Back leg lameness in dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Alison,
Update on Snickers: You wrote, Its been over 3 months now since Snickers TPLO surgery... but she just isn't 100%. I feel like we need to wait a bit longer for her muscles to come back 100%

Her diet is very important to help provide the right nutrients to support healing and muscle tissue growth. A raw diet would be optimal. See our page on 10 best Dog Food Options and scroll down to the raw diets. In the meantime, you could just add one to two TBSP of raw chicken, turkey, beef or lamb to her current diet. Just to ease her into it, and make sure she likes it and it does not cause any digestive upsets.

Since she responded well to Chinese medicine and acupuncture in the past, I would also suggest starting Wei Qi Booster. A Chinese herb to help boost the 'Qi' (pronounced 'chee') the energetic force in the body for all living things. Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe it.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Aug 08, 2014
For torn ACL CCL Cruciate try a posh dog knee brace NEW
by: Anonymous

Hi, the vets tried hard to sell $4550+ tplo or $2750 tta surgery. We looked into alternative holistic treatment to find there is a posh dog knee brace that will support the ACL CCL Cruciate so your dog can get out walking daily right away and the knee starts to heal. The meniscus healed in just a few weeks and the dog walks were longer and longer each day. Now about a year later, has healed completely, though we will use the brace occasional for activities for extra protection. The reason the conventional vets will not tell you about the alternatives, because holistic natural care or a posh dog knee brace will not make the huge profits like unnecessary acl ccl tplo tta joint knee surgeries. Do what is best for your dog and avoid ccl acl surgery as your dog will heal with a brace, conservative management and joint supplements.

Aug 08, 2014
For torn ACL CCL Cruciate try a posh dog knee brace NEW
by: Anonymous

Hi, the vets tried hard to sell $4550+ tplo or $2750 tta surgery. We looked into alternative holistic treatment to find there is a posh dog knee brace that will support the ACL CCL Cruciate so your dog can get out walking daily right away and the knee starts to heal. The meniscus healed in just a few weeks and the dog walks were longer and longer each day. Now about a year later, has healed completely, though we will use the brace occasional for activities for extra protection. The reason the conventional vets will not tell you about the alternatives, because holistic natural care or a posh dog knee brace will not make the huge profits like unnecessary acl ccl tplo tta joint knee surgeries. Do what is best for your dog and avoid ccl acl surgery as your dog will heal with a brace, conservative management and joint supplements.

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