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Phoebe's Limp

87 Views 12 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  MomosMum
Hi all,
We own two (2) almost 1 year old bassets, Phoebe and Reginald, we've had in our care since 4 weeks with one of them (Phoebe, per post title) having a occasional and when noticeable limp in her right front shoulder/leg that, given her young age and no traumatic events, we're trying to better understand the case of and treat. What do you all think?

Here are points to consider (hopefully you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing!):
  1. Although exact start date of the limp is unknown, it was early enough that we brought it up with the vet during one of their initial vaccines. I don't think x-rays were taken, but we do recall the vet not being overly concerned. They didn't pinpoint a most probable cause, but the take away was that it wasn't out of the question Phoebe's legs . joints, growth may have created a situation where one leg was longer than the other. The fact she was and continues to be active (i.e., your initial impression would not be of a dog in any pain or be concerned at all) put us at ease.
  2. She's been going to doggie daycare ~2 days per week for last month and the folks there have not mentioned anything about a limp
  3. She can be quite rambunctious and play "hard" with her brother, Reginald. My wife was so surprised at the level of horseplay she reached out to the breeder to ask if it was normal (it was) and couldn't help herself intervening if things got snarly.
  4. She walks.... well enough. : S Sometimes it's like walking a self-propelled vacuum cleaner. Other times it's like pulling a boulder. It's not unusual for my wife to hand me both, me tight-leash them and let the choke-chains communicate I mean business wrt them walking beside me. Two dog training is quite the task!
  5. I lovingly call her "the fat one" and Reggie "the long one" n/w they are both 45 lbs-ish and per our Vet providing a puppy weight chart/tracker, are both right in the 50th percentile for weight at their weeks' of age.
  6. She sleeps on a padded bed on a hardwood floor in a pen with her brother and has since she came to us.
  7. She's on no medication and is up to date with all her shots.
  8. I haven't asked the breeder if any genetic issues with the mother or father, but plan on asking.
  9. I've had one other basset, Sally, who lived to 13-14 (she was a rescue I adopted at 2 years approx.), was just as active and was put down due to a distended abdomen caused by fluid build up from cancer. But she also mid-life (9 years old or so) suffered a traumatic injury (accidentally closed a heavy door on her) that she wasn't able to use her hind legs for a month. She eventually did recover from rest, a change in routine and vet-proscribed Traumadol (?) and another grog-inducing med to keep her suddued (i.e., prevent jumping on/off couch). She was a trooper - even the vet was impressed by the recovery.
  10. We do not have pet insurance, h/e I'm wondering now if getting it would be a good idea (i.e., forced savings plan for future issues if it turns out this is more a drawn out degenerative thing where lifelong pain meds + modified environment are required so she's not in pain).
Those are the major insights and observations I can offer, h/e I'm happy to provide more information if requested.

So what do you folks think and recommend as progressive response-actions?

Here are what I think are common options (typical of every dog owner I imagine and how I often approached issues for my previous Basset, Sally). I wrote them from a "motivation behind each / what each conveys in terms of overall intent and approach:

A. Do nothing. So, the idea that this is just sore joints from too much play or sleeping funny, with some rest she should be fine. Don't make mountains over something that is fairly normal sounding; bassethounds were bred for "hounding" and purusing ground game through all sorts of obstacle-course like terrain. Trust genetics are sound and unless something above doesn't sound right.

B. Let rest, but monitor, observe & attempt to address/remove causes: Assume and hope for the best, but look to identify and remove possible problem areas that through repetition she is overly stressing her joints. Attempt to limit rough housing with Reggie through intervention and taking turns being inside and outside during high energy times / take more but shorter and slower walks.

C. Go See a Vet. Active, good weight, otherwise healthy 1 year old Bassets without evidence of any specific trauma or obvious source of soreness should simply not be displaying this kind of limp. Hurting themselves is one thing, but a consistent (i.e., more occasional than frequent, not very intense most of the time but still quite noticeable) limp in her front right leg/shoulder is something for a professional to diagnose and suggest how to manage. It's during this time (6 mths to 2 years) that a relatively small intervention and/or even surgery could head off a more acute issue later on. Get an X-ray, get the vet monitoring it, seek professional diagnose. Combine with B above.

Sorry for long post, but TIA for reading and replying!

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1. Crate rest
2. Have you noticed this lameness moving from one limb to another - the breed does suffer with Panosteitis
3. Involve your vet and if you are in touch with her breeder (perhaps to see if she has Panosteitis in her line), speak to her.
4. What does her front look like in terms of visual abnormality?
Yeah that was a long post. Sorry! Thanks for reading and replying.

1. will try
2. No, the right shoulder/leg
3. Will do, breeder hadn’t mentioned anything initially but will be more specific
4. Right leg (problem one) does seem longer ; can’t hold her still long enough to measure

Yeah that was a long post. Sorry! Thanks for reading and replying.

1. will try
2. No, the right shoulder/leg
3. Will do, breeder hadn’t mentioned anything initially but will be more specific
4. Right leg (problem one) does seem longer ; can’t hold her still long enough to measure

You are quite welcome - I have a friend out there (Ont) who I might put you in contact with (privately) although I imagine you'd get just as much help from whoever bred your girl. She might point you to a 'Basset' vet however (if you are anywhere in Ontario? If this limp is always affecting the same limb, it's probably not Pano which not for nothing, is called the creeping disease as it moves from one limb to another. It's painful but that can be controlled until this passes, which it usually does. If you google, there's plenty of information to read there.

Our previous buy in boy was lame by around 8 months (and at the time we thought Pano) and he had a full nose to tail x-ray. Pano wasn't found but premature closure of the growth plates was. Sadly it affected him (being lame), on and off, throughout his life and fact is he had more turn out of his front legs than he should have had. I might have gone for surgery for him, but was warned that even if it corrected his problem, he might need more than one surgery. We didn't go for that.

No problem re long posts - I can be the same if I get going!!
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the other common orthopedic issue with basset hounds is luxating patella's but of course that only effects rear leg. As an intermediary step before x-rays and the like consider Canine chiropractic. We have one rehabbing since falling off an Agility A-frame. That is going well so far but can not over emphasize the need for stringent rest guideline which is not going to include rough housing and playing with other dogs. When talking basset front end structure the follow may help
on the front end area of concern

first in knuckling ( knuckling over)

see Standard Disqualifications | Basset Hound Club of Southern California | BHCSC

Generally cause by to lax of tendon in the carpal (wrist) of the dog. this can be painful. and general does not get better with age unless caught very early and use wraps/wrist support and dietary changes. A wrist support may help it from getting worse
Fiddle fronted the dogs lacks the curvature of the bones to to wrap around the chest so bog turn its front feet out to bring the elbow in tight to the body and the legs under the chest for better mechanical support. this is often coupled with knuckling over In most cases knuckling is the more likely cause of pain/limping see attached arguably the best agility basset ever Fiddle fronted feet nearly face east-west rather than north south never an issue.


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elbow incongruity Mismatching of the ulna and radius causing bending of the fore arm. Given that the breed standard call for such bending some incongruity is to be expected. excessive about can be cause of pain. When having on of my dogs examined and later diagnosed with Pano the vet noted the their was a 6mm incongruity in that leg but he ha seen basset with twice that much and not notice it
angular limb deformities many basset do fine with so really gross look front end and others look only minor and are in a lot of pain so it hard to tell by looking but a well develop later in life and whether this does or doe not effect quality of life is a crap shoot. On the Forefront: Looking at canine angular limb deformities in a new way

Angular limb deformities may result from a genetic predisposition to premature growth plate closure, trauma to an active growth plate (resulting in premature closure), or a malunion fracture. Chondrodystrophic (disproportionately short-legged) breeds such as the Dachshund, Basset Hound, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, and Lhasa Apso, are all affected by some degree of angular limb deformity. This is a consequence of the genetic abnormalities that give these breeds their distinctive appearance. Premature closure of the distal ulnar physis and premature closure of the medial aspect of the distal tibial physis are the most commonly observed angular limb deformities seen in these breeds.
"Have you ever wondered why Basset Hounds have funny, curved front legs? It is not to prevent them from stepping on their own ears. It is because they have been bred to have angular limb deformities (ALD). These are deformities in the bone that occur as an animal is still growing and cause the affected limb to appear “crooked” or twisted. The limb may bow outward or curve inward, causing the paw to strike the ground in an inappropriate way and affect the paw pads. These changes in limb alignment can also lead to arthritis in the nearby joints, pain, and lameness. Another cause of an ALD is a previous fracture that healed without the bone being aligned and stabilized properly. Regardless of the cause, the long-term effects are similar. "

to some extent this is why it is important to have an orthopedic vet familiar with the breed because they are not put together the way their taller brethren are.
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dogs shoulders

"Dogs being a cursorial species, don’t have a need to lift, push or pull objects or swing their arms as we do, so their shoulder design is for the most part crafted for what predators need the most: speed and agility. Along with a dog’s spine which is capable of bending and stretching with every stride and the powerful hind legs providing forward propulsion, the dog’s shoulders are designed to increase stride length. Unlike humans, the dog’s shoulders are somewhat disconnected from the rest of the skeleton, which is why many people refer to them as “floating shoulders.” However, no body part really floats alone as a particle suspended in space. While the dog’s scapula is not attached to any bones at the top, there are several muscular and ligamentous attachments. "

Soft tissue injuries ie sprains actual heal much slower than broken bone which is the reason we mention the need for rest and restriction from activities that are likely to exacerbate the injury.

  • "Medial shoulder instability (MSI) - This is one of the most common forelimb problems in dogs as it relies almost entirely upon soft tissue fibers for stability as it does not have a stable socket; along with the standard symptoms of soft tissue damage, you may see your dog refusing tight turns"
Physiotherapy (rehabilitation) vs. manipulative therapies (chiropractic or spinal manipulation, osteopathy) and massage

The current mindset surrounding rehabilitation comes from the human physical therapy world, where it’s all about fixing deficiencies caused by physical damage to tissue (post-surgical or post-injurious activity). The goal is to get the animal back to a “function” – whatever that was. However, those trained in manipulative and manual therapies understand that the function before the injury may have been deficient or unbalanced, leading to the presenting injury. Bodywork and manipulative therapies aim to restore structural equilibrium, which involves proper health and function of the complex neuromyofascial-skeletal system. Repetition of strengthening exercises eventually reaches a point of diminishing returns if there are unaddressed joint and soft tissue asymmetries (especially spinal). Repetition of exercises using a checklist mentality will only exacerbate muscular imbalances of contraction and stretching without addressing the source problem. This is where integrative practitioners and/or structural alignment techniques should be considered integral to injury rehabilitation and body maintenance in canine athletes. Their focus is on the individual dog, and they look beyond merely the current injury.
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you need a diagnoses hard to get that without a vet visit.
I was sure Mikey would be pitching in with this problem. I hope you can find time to wade through it all BUT I would ljust say if you can find a 'Basset' vet, you should get to the bottom of what's going on with your hound, specifically! LOL.
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