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Identifying location of lameness


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My nine year old Border Collie is wild and crazy. Always has been. Twice now (recently) he has overdone things and is lame in the front. I can go over his leg and poke and prod and never get a reaction, nor can I find heat or swelling. Does anyone have any secrets for identifying the location (carpus vs. elbow vs. shoulder) by gait?

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I work for a vet and the last time he had a vague leg lameness I took him with me to work. He has been lyme and anaplasma positive in the past so I'm observant regarding his gait. When we had free time we went out in the yard for me to jog him around. Logan acted like it was the most fun ever, bounced around like a lunatic and my vet couldn't even tell he was lame at all. I've had multiple vets check him out over the years since he has had clicking joints since the age of 6 months and he never reacts to any sort of joint manipulation.

That is an interesting thought about the opposite hind leg. He does point the left front but he is such an oddball maybe it is some weird avoidance with the right hind.

I think I need to realize that he turns 10 this year and I need to work at restricting him since he will not ever restrict himself. He is the fastest dog I've ever seen and goes from full out to stop and back to full out in a blink.

I'm debating about x-rays since I've done that in the past and never saw anything, plus I really think it is soft tissue injury and I really can't figure out which joint.

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Not sure you understand?? You need to see a certified rehab vet, NOT a regular vet.


A regular vet may very well not be able to diagnose. For that you will need a specialist vet - someone who has specialized training and has been certified as a rehab vet. I have two incidents with one dog where the regular vet (although well-meaning) didn't even come close to diagnosing what was wrong with my dog. The rehab vet was invaluable. I no longer even bother to go to a regular vet when anything slightly orthopedic or muscle/ligament/tendon- related is suspected. Not worth it. (I also have heard from many dog friends with similar stories.)


Not uncommon to see a dog that is up on adrenaline to show a normal gait (e.g when your vet saw him jog and play in the yard). My dog had torn his bicep tendon one night (diagnosed later with the help of 2 rehab vets) and the next morning was so painful that he could not even bear to put any weight on his L front paw. When I took him into the general vet, I lifted him out of the car and he hobbled on 3 legs across the parking lot and into the vet office. They came to take him away from me so that they could gait him up and down the hospital hallway. The tech brought him back about 5 minutes later and told me he wasn't lame at all. I am sure they thought I was a crazy dog mom.


Here are a couple of websites you can consult to find a rehab vet:


Canine Rehabilitation Institute
American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians
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My 11yr old aussie is like this. He will sometimes get lame on a front leg when he overdoes it - markedly lame at home. I try different flexion/extension and he is so stoic he doesn't really react to anything. I also work for a vet and same thing when we try at work. The ONLY thing he's ever reacted to at work was the vet doing shoulder extension forward which puts pressure on the spine - he actually yelped one time and a few of the other times started twitching the skin on his back. X-rays don't show anything much (however I do know he has some degree of arthritis in his carpus and toes based on ROM of these joints). The odd time he's limped its been soreness down in a toe itself - also hard to isolate but he will pull back slightly more on the sore one than the other ones. His gait is also different if its down in the toe - he walks with his weight as far back as he can on his big pad so he's got less weight and pressure on the toes themselves.


Ideally a rehab type vet would be who I would see for my guy however there is no one around here that does it (and the aussie is technically hubby's dog and he's not willing to pay for a specialist). If it were my border collie I would have seen someone by now because I'm one of those people who wants to know the exact problem.

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