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Discussion Starter #1
Well, months ago, as per suggestion, I took Bowser off puppy food and put him on big dog food. A week or so before that his alternating limp (seemed to switch legs randomly) resolved into a limp on his left foreleg. It's been pretty consistent since then. Well, I mean he gets better, but after a walk, or any kind of exertion he limps on that same leg. I've also noticed that since then...as he'd grown...that leg is smaller! Not shorter, just smaller around. It's hard to tell but it looks as if it might be more bowed than the other, as well. But it's circumference is very noticeably smaller than the other front let.

He does fine most of the time. We went to the snow at my parents in Oregon for Christmas, and he went crazy jumping and having fun. Couldn't get him to take it easy. Then of course after he could barely walk. But he was almost healed the next day..only the usual small limp...and the third day no limp.
I just try to get him to take it easy, and i baby him on not walking for too long and he does okay.

He's a little snow monster though!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I forgot..

So, you knowledgeable people out there...every had a basset with two different sized front legs? Do you think it's something that will even out over time, or is it a permanent bone issue? None of our vets around here are very familiar with bassets...
 

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I would be quite concerned about the size difference. I think I would recommend contacting your nearest Basset Hound club, see if there are any breeders close to you and finding out what vets they would recommend that hopefully will be a reasonable distance from you and will be more familiar with the breed and it's quirks. Or maybe an orthopedic specialist (hopefully not one that's knife-happy).

More important than the change in diet is RESTING the leg. Not just for a few days, but for weeks at a time. I mean strict crate rest, only bringing him out on leash. Letting him go crazy was probably not the best idea - the leg is already having problems making it more vulnerable to injury.
 

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I don't know if you had walked your Basset too much at a young age or not, causing uneven growth plates in the legs.... but a friend with a Basset wouldn't listen to me when I told her not to keep walking her puppy so far at a young age, resulting in him getting some sort of elbow dysplasia and she had to keep him in for 12 weeks (only allowed in the garden) so I don't know if yours was walked too much and has the same/similar problem!

I agree with Soundtrack that the best way to help your dog's limp is to rest him for several weeks or he'll never get better and you don't want vets who know little about Bassets, operating on him either!!!!

Being a lifelong Basset owner I was always told (by reputable breeders and knowledgeable vets) never to walk Bassets for more than a few minutes at a time until about 7 months and then only an extra 5 minutes per month until about 10 months old. Until then, they can get enough gentle exercise by playing around the garden, chasing balls etc and can rest whenever they want to, rather than be dragged around until the owner takes them home, by which time they and their legs will be tired!

Luckily my current vet knows about bone/plate growth in Bassets and she said they should only have gentle walking for several months or the plates will grow unevenly and cause a limp or the leg to turn in before the plates have fused together into strong bone growth.

I'm not sure exactly how to explain it, but too much exercise whilst these 'plates' are growing can cause one side of the leg's plates to stop/slow down compared to the other side whereas gentle walking puts less pressure on their heavily boned legs and they grow nice and evenly.

Some people let their Bassets run up and down the stairs which is also bad for them whereas we were told long ago that Bassets must be kept off stairs, especially puppies, and shouldn't be allowed to jump off anything that is higher than they are!!! We have always done as told and had no back or leg problems. (I've seen some YouTube clips of Bassets on stairs and jumping off high things so goodness knows what shape their legs or backs are in as adults)!!!

Had a quick look about Bassets' legs and found this!

Growth Plates
A typical bone is made up of a long shaft and two ends also known as epiphyses. In the foetus, the skeleton is made up of cartilage, which goes on to develop into bone as the puppy grows inside the womb. This process begins in the centre of the shaft, and then continues in the epiphyses. The long bones of the limbs i.e. the humerus and the femur undergo the most growth in the first few months of a puppies life. Therefore, at each end of a long bone, a growth plate forms.

A growth plate is basically a cartilaginous gap in the bone where new layers of bone cells can slowly form and gradually lengthen the limb. When the puppy has finished growing, these growth plates will turn to bone themselves and are said to have 'closed.' Growth plates are delicate in the first 6 months of any puppies life, but even more so in the Basset puppy. This is because the Basset is a large breed on short legs, and until the legs are strong, excessive pressure on these plates can cause damage. If an incident of high pressure such as a fall or excessive exercise occurs, the growth plate can be forced to close too soon, and therefore that particular bone can no longer grow at the correct rate. It is not until 9 months of age that all growth plates are completely closed, but most plates close at 7 months.

Growth plate problems can occur in all bones of the limbs but the most common problem occurs in the forelimb. The ulna and radius are the two bones which run side by side from the elbow to the carpus. If an injury to either of these bones occurs and growth stops, this forces the other bone to grow in a curve, causing the leg to eventually turn outwards or inwards, if left untreated.

Growth plate problems are detected by Veterinarians radiographically (using xrays) and there are various surgical options available if caught in time. However, speaking from experience, it is far better to prevent such a problem that to try to rectify it after its happened. The recovery period after orthopaedic surgery is long and not well tolerated by puppies, as strict cage rest is compulsory.

To prevent a growth plate injury you must 'Basset proof' your home and garden prior to his/her arrival. Basset puppies must not climb steps as this can cause injuries, and therefore a stair gate is an excellent way to prevent access to your stairs. It is important that Bassets get to play and have fun just like any other breed of puppy, but if playtime gets too hectic, it is recommended that you offer a calm environment and a comfortable bed for half an hour to act as a 'time-out.'

Outdoor activities such as socialisation are vital to aid behavioural development, but ensure your puppy is not exercising on a lead for more than 10 minutes twice a day and take care if your puppy plays with other dogs. It is impossible to be constantly by your puppies side, but keeping a close eye on them certainly helps in trying to prevent any injuries.
 

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It is not until 9 months of age that all growth plates are completely closed, but most plates close at 7 months.


This is not remotely close to correct. Growth plate closure is extremely variable per individual and the only way to be sure the pates are closed is via x-ray using anything like a date certain can lead to potential problems


Growth Plates

Growth plates for dogs close on the average at:

Proximal epiphysis of the humerus 10 to 13 months
Distal epiphysis of the humerus 6 to 8 months
Proximal epiphysis of the radius 6 to 11 months
Distal epiphysis of the radius 8 to 12 months
Olecranon of the ulna 6 to 10 months
Distal epiphysis of the ulna 8 to 12 months
Proximal epiphysis of teh femur 7 to 11 months
Trochanter major of the femur 6 to 10 months
Trochanter minor 8 to 13 months
Distal epiphysis of the femur 8 to 11 months
Lateral condyle of the tibia 6 to 12 months
Distal epiphysis of the tibia 8 to 11 months
Proximal epiphysis of the fibula 8 to 12 months
Distal epiphysis of the fibula 7 to 12 months
Keep in mind the larger ie mass of the breed the slower they are to mature and hence the slower the growth plates close. Growth plate only regulate length not diameter. A difference in diameter is not the result of growth plate damage. Also keep in mind the growth plates in bassets and other dwarf breeds are not normal as compared to other breeds. It is why they have shortened limbs in the first place.

she said they should only have gentle walking for several months or the plates will grow unevenly and cause a limp or the leg to turn in before the plates have fused together into strong bone growth.
First of the plates do not fuse together they are at the end ie joints of each bone and are responable to allow the bones to lengthen, over time they calcify and no longer allow for bone growth. But they typical close at various times to begin with not all at the same time. So it is possible for incongruities to correct themselves. It is the incongruies diferrence in bone length in the area of the limbs that have two parrelle bones ie radius and ulna of the forelimb that can cause twisting. It is unlikely given the nature of basset being a dwarf breed that their exist a basset without some sort of incongruity in most case it cause no problems. I have vets tell me they have seen up to 12mm of incongruity in basset elbows without it causing pain or arthritis later in life.


there are various surgical options available if caught in time
Limp lengenthing surgery can be done at anytime.

shouldn't be allowed to jump off anything that is higher than they are!!!
When beginning jump training for agility with closed growth plate dogs are not typical allowed to jump more than Elbow height. until the micro trauma to the bone and joint cause to to reconfigure to a larger stronger joint before jumping higher heights.

This is because the Basset is a large breed on short legs, and until the legs are strong, excessive pressure on these plates can cause damage. If an incident of high pressure such as a fall or excessive exercise occurs, the growth plate can be forced to close too soon, and therefore that particular bone can no longer grow at the correct rate
there is no indication that basset growth plates are any more delicate than any other breeds damage to the growth plates can cause the problem cited with any breed. The problem in elbow dysplasia and incongruites in basset is more likely genetic than trauma in that given the genetics that cause dwarfism the growth plates closure is not as consistent nor is the growth than in non dwarf breeds.
OSTEOCHONDRODYSPLASIAS, LEG DEFORMITIES,
AND DWARFISM IN THE CANINE


Premature closure of growth plates happens because, in some etiology (manner), the ossification process of endochondral cartilage is disturbed. Overfeeding and mineral supplementation are definitely contributors, but genetic susceptibility has to be taken into account, as well — probably much more. Ettinger mentions that “the most common cause of premature growth interference has been direct trauma to the growth plate area”, though HOD and achondroplasia have also been reported in association with it. But he and his sources may have been giving too much credit/blame to physical or mechanical damage. The distal (furthest part) radius and ulna seem to be the most frequently involved sites for these disturbances.[/quote[

WHAT KIND OF DWARF ARE WE?
Puppies that develop
extreme bowing of the forearm may limp for several months. Bowing of the forearm
results from the radius growing more slowly than the ulna. If that process is too extreme,
the elbow and/or wrist joints may become dysplastic. I have an X-ray of the elbow of a
puppy I bred where the radius is so short that the part of the ulna with the joint face is
well beyond the actual joint. No wonder that puppy was limping! He did recover by
about 14 months of age, but I could not talk the owner into having another X-ray done.
The canine orrthopedic specialist who discussed the X-ray with me was the person who
alerted me to the idea that we don’t know exactly how the slow growth of the long bones occurs. She agreed that they might stop and start, and, there is no guarantee that the two bones of the forearm do that in perfect synchrony.

Histopathologic study of long-bone growth plates confirms the basset hound as an osteochondrodysplastic breed

Researchers discover origin of short-leg dog breeds

Excessive exercise etc IMHO is often too convient and excuse for breeder to use. Keep in mind the highly variable nature of the expresion of the dwarfism gene makes producing consistent front end is dwarf breed much harder than it is in other breeds as well. Beign to protective of the dog an not allow proper exercise and socialization in the pup is general more harmful to the long term prospects of the pup than a possible injury. The limited exercise model IMHO is much like not allowing dogs to socialize before all their vaccinations. We are learning it is the practice of prevention is actual casues more harm than it saves.

Not shorter, just smaller around. It's hard to tell but it looks as if it might be more bowed than the other, as well. But it's circumference is very noticeably smaller than the other front let.
Is this the bone it self or is the bone the same size but the musculuture and other soft tissue much less developed? Mariah was diagnosed with mild hip displaisa. The good hip actual had 1/2 or less the musculature as the bad leg. With chiropractic care and exercise she is now symetrical and has the most developed rear end you will ever see on a basset. She is one of only a rare few basset in which the rear is as wide as the Chest. If it is simply muscle and soft tissue development there may be treatment. If it is bone size it is unlikely fixable, as to the cause more likely gentic but could be from trauma , nutrition or any combination of the three.

Don't disagree with stricked crate rest for soft tissue injuries not to exceed 2 weeks followed by a gradual increase in exercise and activity that is strictly supervised/ The majority of soft tissue injury stength recovery is within the first 2 weeks.
 

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so is taking a basset puppy to the dog park a bad thing? Fred's going on 7 months now and we take her twice a week for about an hour or hour and a half. She alternates between the big dog park and the small dog park (when she's had enough of getting pushed around by the big guys). She does run a lot but doesn't do any jumping or climbing.

Sometimes we even drop her off for the doggy day care for 6-10 hours if we have to visit our family. Is this too much for a young puppy?
 

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I'm wondering the same thing as Fred's Mom - Maddie goes to the dark park and runs and runs! If I'd let her, she'd stay there all day and night and never come home! I also take her to doggy day camp where she runs and romps all day.

Additionally, Maddie goes up and down stairs every day (not running, but walking) and although I have stairs for her to get up to the bed, she has jumped off it before. I discourage this as often as possible, but dogs will be dogs...
 

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nothing is totally safe. It is all about reasonableness. A dog that is most likely to be injured during physsicl activity is one that does not engage in it often. The dog that is relatively inactive over weight then goes out and runs around all day is more likely to be sore, injure soft tissue etc. A dog in realitively good shape that exercises periodically general has no problems.

Also keep in mind exercise and weight trraining remodel bones and joints makeing then stronger and better able to handle the added stresses. This goes for jumping as well but it is something that must be built up slowly over time rather than prolonged activity sporadically.


Whe it comes to jump the biggest risk is jump dowm not up this is where the bigger forces are. That said those of that do agility work up slowly to endurance and jump height to take advantage of the bone remodeling I mentioned before. Mine do a lot of jumping and none have ever had a serious back injury. Imho weight, and fitness level are more important factors in IVD

Just a note on angular limb diformaties cause by trauma to growht plates. The amount and severity of the problem is directly corrosponding to the age of the dog when the growth plate damage occured.. It goes without saying the younder the dog the more severe the problem for two reasons. One as the dog matures growth slows so that is less difference for the same amount of time. and second when the one bone stops growing because of trauma to a growth plates the effect is cumlative of the growth that the other bones
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So Mikey...do you think bowser has a growth plate issue, or a bone density issue? Or both? I have to admit, I get lots of advice all over that contradicts each other. Short of just going and getting him an expensive xray...there's not much I can do i suppose. We walk him every day (he loves it and goes crazy with energy if we don't) and i limit his stair useage to one trip up and one trip down a day (he bounces very hard on his front legs going down, so sometimes we will carry him...but not at 3 in the morning. lol he is 47lbs) I won't let him jump off of anything, but he does do a lot of running sometimes.

In one spot, on his left leg it is 5 inches in circumferance. On the same spot on the right, it is almost 6 inches. It feels like bone only. He often stands so that hardly any weight is on the left side, and after running he limps dramatically.

So what would you suggest? Is there some strength exercises for that front leg to make up for the bone size difference? Also, since it bothers him when he uses it..how do i address that?
 

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So Mikey...do you think bowser has a growth plate issue, or a bone density issue? Or both? I have to admit, I get lots of advice all over that contradicts each other. Short of just going and getting him an expensive xray...there's not much I can do i suppose
Doesn't really matter the cause. the question is however is such a differencecausing a problem. Simply on leg smaller in diameter than the other should not cause a problem if everthing else is correct. The only thing that will help is a compentent exam by someone well versed in canine orthopeadics and more so in working with the dwarf breeds. This will likely entail x-rays and physical exam of both legs. For instance Mariah has mild hip dysplasia it was diagnosed in the left leg however she limp on the right and it was the under develop leg in muscularture. So sometimes how the dogs compensates for a problem that is in the oposite limp effects the good one as well or even more so. Since the problem does not appear to be pano. Affecting the same limb for more than a month it is very unlikely to resolve itself on its own you need to find out what the problem is and what the various treatment options are. At this point there is no way of knowing if it is a bone/joint/conformation issue or a soft tissue injury/problem or both.
 

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I'd be organising for a physical and x-ray at a good vet. I don't think these problems and discomforts are going to vanish in time and are likely to increase given the length of time they have been taking place. Time to seek the cause - there is a reason for this - you need to find out what is it and only then can you make a well informed decision on the options available. Keep us posted.

Good Luck Bowser
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes, you guys are probably right. At first it really did seem like pano. It was a limp on one front leg, then in the same walk he'd switch to the other, or not at all!
But not it is all the left leg. Southern California really doesn't have a Basset Vet. We're already thinking to follow up on this we would have to do some traveling. I have one vet who might give me recommendations. Blah! Poor Bowser. Poor pocket book *lol* I love'em though so I'll keep you updated on how he's doing and what we find out!! Thanks guys : )

Mel and Bow
 
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