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Rt.hind limb lameness in 4 year old after rest/sleep


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Jenna, my 4 year old female border collie has been showing intermittent signs of lameness on her right hind limb over the last few weeks . It seems to bother her when she gets up from rest/sleep. It seems to subside when she stretches and moves around after waking. She seems to work through it and then shows no signs of pain and only occasional hopping or holding up of the leg with walking/running/play. She does not really respond painfully to ROM or palpation of the limb but moves slowly and seems to gradually ease into using it normally. She most often pulls the leg up towards her belly and temporarily and hops on 3 legs before using it gingerly and then resuming a normal gait.

There has been a substantial amount of ice in our area and although we are very careful its possible that she may have slipped. I do not recall an instance of acute trauma or injury but lots of time on very slippery surfaces. Any ideas where the problem may be coming from or similar experiences? Otherwise her attitude and energy seem to be very normal-- for a Border Collie trapped inside for weeks and weeks!

Thanks all-

Angel and Jenna

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As for your question, does your dog also tend to stand and "toe touch" on that leg - holding the leg a bit behind the other leg and resting the weight on the toes rather than evenly distributed over the entire pad of the paw? If so, these could be symptoms of an injured, torn, or strained ACL. A vet, particularly an orthopedic specialist but many general practice vets with a bent towards orthopedic issues, can test for this pretty readily with a drawer test. It does require some sedation but can be done easily on an outpatient basis at a regular appointment. Your dog's lameness could be from any of a variety of causes (and this year's ice is bad for that) but it does sound like there could possibly be an ACL issue. For that reason, I would consider consulting with your veterinarian.


In addition to the terrible ice this winter, if she's not been getting regular exercise, that could contribute to problems as her muscles might be "out of shape" and she could be over-exuberant when she does get outside. These dogs can really work and play through pain, and sometimes they do not take care of themselves so it's even more important that we work to prevent injury.


Very best wishes!

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Thanks for pointing that out, Donna!


When Celt was recovering from his TPLO, during one of our on-leash dog walks, I slipped and fell. I don't know if I hit Celt when I fell or if he hurt himself avoiding having me fall on him, but he began to limp again (this was only a couple of months into his rehab). It took two visits to the rehab therapist before she was able to determine conclusively that this injury was an ileopsoas injury (strain or sprain or pull or whatever it's called). We were fortunate in that it wasn't too bad but it did put him rehab back by a full month or so as we were careful to allow this to heal before moving on in his rehab program.


As Donna pointed out, that can be a very painful condition and it can be difficult to heal, requiring care and time to allow healing and avoid re-injury.


This winter, Celt has recently had a bit of a limp - while neither the therapist nor the vet that examined him has been able to pinpoint the problem (it seems to be an upper hip or possibly ileopsoas injury on the side opposite where his surgery had been done), we are dealing with it with a little Rimadyl, leash walks, and his normal therapy exercises (that we still do several days a week to encourage strength, flexibility, and balance in all four legs and his back, but particularly his hind end).


Good luck with this and let us know what you find out!

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Hi, Thanks so much for the link to that great article Donna.


I wanted to give an update on what's happening with my girl, Jenna. I have been doing my best to restrict her activity (so hard and confusing for her) and did take her to see the vet early this week. My experience as a human physiologist really had me leaning towards muscular injury and even iliopsoas or groin type soft tissue injury but I didn't want to take any chances with a cruciate problem and have it get worse. So, the good news is that my vet did not find any definitive signs of cruciate rupture (drawer test was negative) although she didn't feel that we can completely rule out a partial tear. She seemed to think that soft tissue injury was more likely and of course, more difficult to pinpoint. I mentioned that I was thinking psoas muscle or even IT band type issue and she was willing to agree that it seemed possible. We decided on (the dreaded) severely limited activity and NSAID- Metecam_ for 2 weeks and see how that goes. After 3 days of the meds and limiting her she does seem to be improving. The intermittent lameness is still around but seems less severe and some of the behaviors that I would have attributed to her being uncomfortable or painful have improved. So, it seems that this is a good strategy at this point....


I have wondered if the combination of hardwood floors and a best friend/playmate that is a mini dachshund have contributed to a lot of wear and tear on her hips and lumbar muscles. Jenna is also a frisbee and agility addict and I hope that this doesn't become an ongoing problem of muscle/joint inflammation. I am beginning to research different exercises/therapy that may be advantageous for her.


Thanks again for the input,


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