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Skipping pooch aint a happy one

July 28, 2011

Surgery

Meet Latte, the cutest toy poodle puppy you could ever meet! This little rascal runs at the speed of lightening and not even skipping was able to slow him down. This is a picture of him taken TODAY :-).

Latte

Latte is owned by one of our staff members and so we regularly see him. We noticed he had an abnormal hindlimb gait from the first time we met him. He was so tiny at that stage and would only just fit into the palm of your hand so we did not get too fixated on working him up. His owner hoped he would grow out of the skipping as his bones developed.

Unfortunately, while he still seemed comfortable and happy and was running around like a mad pup, he started collapsing more frequently on his affected leg.

I often find that people assume a skipping gait can be normal or unique to their dog. The tricky part is that dogs and animals in general are so stoic. They do not show any subtle signs of discomfort. They wait until the pain levels reach an excruciatingly high level and they can not mask it anymore. That may be due to their survival instinct that gives them an urge to hide any weakness. While a mild case of flu may leave a person feeling crippled, I have seen dogs attemtping to walk on broken leg. Please pay attention to the subtle signs of discomfort that your pet may be displaying! If your pet has an abnormal gait, get it checked out by your vet before it gets more serious and difficult to cure or treat.

I actually once went out of my way to chat to some random owner walking her dog in Sydney that had a very prominent skipping gait. I could not bear to watch him anymore because I knew how uncomfortable he was. His owner was baffled yet so happy to discuss the skipping issue with me and said she had taken him to her local vet. Her dog had been worked up but the xrays taken were of his back not his knees. She was told they could not identify the problem and she should not worry about it. I strongly recommended she seek another vet’s opinion because his potential knee problems may have been missed! And oh I did that while I was walking back to my hotel after attending a conference.

You would think I would have better things to do than stalk random pet owners on the streets. 🙂

Dogs don’t talk and vets aren’t psychic so it is possible for us to localise the pain to a wrong location. I never feel offended if a client wants a second opinion especially if I am managing a case and feel like I’m not getting results. I simply welcome a second opinion and always get my colleagues involved. Another set of fresh vet eyes may help crack the case!

Back to Latte, we finally decided we really needed to work him up and so he got examined by 3 different vets (me included) and we thought he had a very abnormally positioned patella preventing him to freely move his knee joint. We xrayed his knees and confirmed the diagnosis of grade IV medially luxated patella. This condition is very common in toy dog breeds and is heritable. We usually grade luxated patellas from I to IV; Grade I not requiring surgery up to IV being the worst and most severe one requiring surgical repair.

We referred ‘Latte’ to Dr. Kuntz (a vet specialist) for surgical repair because he was only 3 months old at the time and we preferred the expert handling his case.

Check out Latte bolting around the vet clinic BEFORE HIS SURGERY:

He has made a fabulous recovery and is currently still on strict rest and is bustling with so much pent up energy.

His mom is letting him swim in the bath as part of his physiotherapy exercises. There is a 30% chance of recurrence of his patellar luxation but we are all crossing our fingers! We can’t wait to see him running full blast without skipping or collapsing on one of his back legs.

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About Rayya

Hi I am Dr. Rayya. I created this site to take you on a journey of my life as a vet! I hope to inspire you, teach you, learn from you. Most importantly help pet owners and animals around the world by sharing pictures, videos and posts from my everyday experiences.

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11 Comments on “Skipping pooch aint a happy one”

  1. Rosie Scribblah Says:

    Poor little chap, so glad he’s on the mend

    Reply

  2. Jodi Stone Says:

    I love that you aren’t offended by second opinions. My vet isn’t either and it means a great deal to me.

    Reply

    • Rayya The Vet Says:

      Hey Jodi,
      Glad you found a vet that is open to second opinions. It is important to be modest in whatever line of work you are in and to be open to discussion and to learning from other people. We don’t have all the answers and life is a journey full of experiences that will keep teaching you new things along the way. 🙂

      Reply

  3. mrs carol hodge Says:

    i have just got a 12 week old chuahua x pomeraniam puppy. and i cannot believe how snappy she iswhilst not leaving me for a moment she attempts to bite my husband if he trys to stroke her please help WHAT CAN I DO

    Reply

    • Rayya The Vet Says:

      Dear carol..this is pretty serious and there is no quick answer or solution…for starters, you must get her checked out by a vet to rule out any underlying medical problem leading to aggression…once you have ruled that out, you need to go to a vet behaviourist to discuss behavioural modification and possibly medication…I recommend you purchase dap which is dog appeasing pheromone from a vet clinic..either a dap collar, spray or diffuser…if ur dog is gaurding you then you must put her on the ground when your husband is there…look it is too complicated for me to give you a solution over the internet…hope this information is helpful…
      Sent from my BlackBerry® from Optus

      Reply

  4. Jamie Says:

    My 4mnths old puppy skip her left hind leg..every few steps.. but she runs normally and crazily. Is it most likely a luxating patella?

    Reply

    • Rayya Says:

      Hey Jamie. If your puppy is a toy breed like a poodle, then yes luxating patella possibility. You would need your local veterinarian to examine your puppy.

      Reply

      • jamie Says:

        I got my puppy checked right after the last time i messaged you. Turns out, it is a luxating patella and it’s Grade 1. My puppy still skips quite a lot but the vet says its not her condition is not severe at all as they’ve checked it and say the knee cap is just loose but does not slip out of the groove. Should i be worried about her continuous skipping?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Jaffa and the folding chair | Dr Rayya's Online Veterinary Journal - August 14, 2011

    […] Skipping pooch aint a happy one (rayyathevet.com) […]

  2. Where are they now? (2011) | Dr Rayya's Online Veterinary Journal - January 4, 2012

    […]  Latte is now running around skip free and has developed a naughty habit of pulling clothes off the line. He even managed to wink at me when posing for his Xmas photo. […]

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