Limping dog
April 25, 2005 8:25 PM   Subscribe

Dog Ailment Filter: Our 5-year old chow has developed an odd limp.

After lying down or resting, the dog limps heavily on her right hind paw. The limp eventually disappears as she keeps walking or running (completely gone by the end of the walk), but returns again after she's been lying down for a bit. I am aware that chows have weak hind legs, but that's the extent of my knowledge. We have an appointment with the vet in a couple of days, but I'm hoping someone can enlighten me in the meantime. Thanks in advance.
posted by Krrrlson to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
Probably hip dysplasia.
posted by veedubya at 9:38 PM on April 25, 2005

Is the paw tucked under her when she lies down? Maybe it's falling asleep...?
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:55 PM on April 25, 2005

My puppy has very recently been diagnosed with panosteitis. It is an affliction that usually affects young dogs, especially German Shepherds and (my pup's breed) Basset Hounds. It is basically growing pains - not serious but painful and treated with pain meds. It often manifests after down-time following exercise. It is also notable because it can move from one limb to another, and will come and go. It was not diagnosed by the first, second, or third vet, but correctly by the fourth (an orthopedic specialist, and only after x-rays...). Google for panosteosis and your breed for anecdotal evidence. Probably worth asking your vet specifically about this malady.
posted by vito90 at 10:25 PM on April 25, 2005

I am not a vet, but... your dog could be a pimp. Watch for signs such as wads of cash tucked into chew toys, hat cocked at rakish angle, and standing with both front paws supported by diamond-tipped staff.

Your dog may be too young to worry about hip dysplasia. Certain breeds, such as German Shepherds are particularly predisposed to hip problems. Chows are not, that I know of. Is it a mixed breed?
posted by squirrel at 11:36 PM on April 25, 2005

It may be an old sprain or arthritis (more likely than dysplasia, as Chows aren't as prone to dysplasia as some other breeds). My 6yo Lab mix limps in the morning, especially in the spring.

When she was a puppy she tripped off the front porch and sprained her right front ankle. When she starts running in the spring, it will bother her for a week or so, until she gets the kinks out of it.
posted by jlkr at 4:43 AM on April 26, 2005

My five year old Boxer did this a few months ago. She'd limp heavily on her right hind leg after laying down. It would seem to go away after a few minutes, sooner if she got a leg rub. Once she was OK, she would run and jump and play tug with no problems.

My vet said it's probably not arthritis or hip dysplasia, and there were no joint injuries. We went with a "wait and see" approach.

A couple of weeks later, it was gone. She's back to normal as far as I can tell. My theory is that she was sleeping funny and her leg was asleep.

Definitely good to go to the vet and get it checked out, though.
posted by jmcmurry at 5:42 AM on April 26, 2005

it sounds odd, but if the tests indicate it's not a degenerative bone disease (in that case, it's usually a no-no) you really could check out an animal chiropractor -- horses and dogs owners sometimes report dramatic progress after a few adjustements. good luck and let us know after the vet visit
posted by matteo at 7:01 AM on April 26, 2005

Seems a little early, but she could be starting to develop some arthritis. If that's the case, I highly recommend asking the vet about Rimadyl.
posted by spilon at 7:38 AM on April 26, 2005

My 10 year old chow cross is doing well on Rimadyl, but it can be a dangerous drug. I put him on it when he dislocated his left hind knee (we still don't know how), and kept him on it because he seems to be in less pain from his hip dysplasia.

His symptoms started out much like your girl's and progressively got worse. He still loves walks, but I have to lift him into my car after even a short walk and he limps for a day.

Chows have weak rear legs because they are straight. This is why they usually aren't jumpers. Purebred chows are prone to hip dysplasia. There are other things it could be, too.
posted by QIbHom at 8:48 AM on April 26, 2005

Have you had the dog it's whole life? Could there have been any trauma to her before you got her? Could be an old injury.

It's also possible for dogs to get bone spurs. Ours is developing one on the ball of her femur (the part that fits in the hip socket). She does the stiff leg, gimpy when she gets up thing and she's only 1 1/2 yrs. But she also has the extenuating factor of an untreated pelvic fracture from when she was a puppy before we got her.

I would guess the vet will do x-rays. Probably two views--looking down and looking from the side. If they don't do two views, they really won't be able to see as well what's going on.
posted by lobakgo at 9:56 AM on April 26, 2005

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