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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About 5 weeks ago, Gustave hurt his left front paw while running vigorously. We were playing fetch in the hallway and he suddenly screamed in pain for a good 10 seconds... He limped for a few minutes, but everything seemed fine a few hours later. He was able to walk normally, but impact moves were trickier. He often yelped when going up and down stairs, jumping, when we took him into our arms, when he was running... I manipulated his paws, his knee, touched and squeezed his paw pads and I wasn't able to detect anything wrong. I though it was a strain or sprain, the vet thought the same and so, I put Gustave on a complete rest (not even walking on leash) and gave him glucosamine supplements. Days after days, it seemed to get better, he was yelping less and less. After 10 days, we were able to resume our activities.

But a week ago, Gustave was running at the dog park and again, he suddenly screamed in pain. This time, he was limping on his right front leg. I carried him back home and called my vet to get another appointment. It's very similar to what he experienced about a month ago. Doesn't cry when I manipulate his paws, no limping when walking, eats well, still wants to play, no lethargy, but cries when doing moves with impact or when we take him into our arms by lifting him by his armpits. Sometimes, when the incident is recent (a few hours/days later), he also yelps suddenly for no apparent reason (for example, when eating a kong in his crate).

The vet thinks it might be related to his neck (cervical spine), which could be why both of his legs were afftected. I think she's talking about cervical IVDD, she said it's not uncommon in small breeds and dobermann. Gustave is a mix between a poodle and a cockapoo, and after a brief research, it seems that both cockers and poodles are vulnerable to that condition.

The vet did a radiography of his neck, but the results were not clear enough, probably because Gustave was moving too much. He was terrified, I heard him scream in fear in the other room, it was heartbreaking and I felt helpless :( He was always fearful of strangers (we're working on that) and he is quite reactive to physical manipulations. I worked with him on this issue since his arrival and he is doing much better, but it seems to be another story for strangers. When they gave me Gustave back, he was all wet, he had peed on himself from fear during the radiography and he was trembling so much... It was very distressing and he looked very pitiful :(

The vet said that his cervical spine did not seem well aligned, but she was not sure. She sent the radio to a specialist and he said it was not clear enough. We'll have to redo the radiography with Gustave under anesthesia... But I'm agonizing. I just want an answer, it's such a lengthy process... I'm worrying so much... Have anyone had a similar experience?
 

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No immediate advice, just hugs. It sounds so tough. I'm sure that knowing he is hurt and vulnerable isn't helping his confidence. Poor boy.
 

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I’m so sorry. :( Not being able to explain what’s going on to a dog who is scared and hurting is the most awful, helpless feeling.

Did you ever find out the cause of Charlie’s “crab walk” issue? Are your two pups related?
 

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Sophy had a trapped nerve in her lower spine - a slipped disc. It resolved with three weeks strict crate rest, only out for a few yards on leash to toilet, no steps, stairs or jumping, plus Metacam for the pain. I found a qualified osteopath specialising in animals and he was extremely helpful. He assured me it was not degenerative IVDD, but a problem between two vertebrae only, and if she gets a flare up of sciatica like symptoms rest, pain relief and a visit to the osteopath get her right again quickly.

With your vet's approval I would find an osteopath or physiotherapist, and meanwhile really try to avoid all impact exercise - jumping, tugging, stairs, or anything that stresses his neck and shoulders. Better safe than sorry.
 

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Leo (GSD), Lily (APBT), and Simon (SPoo)
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Do smaller puppies have issues with panosteitis, aka "growing pains"? My GSD probably had it, according to my vet. She would randomly come up lame, but not show any sensitivity to manipulating her feet and limbs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Did you ever find out the cause of Charlie’s “crab walk” issue? Are your two pups related?
They are not related, but the crab walk almost disappeared since Charlie is on raw food. I guess it was related to the digestive system (she is a bit sensitive). The vet was not worried at all, she inspected her anal glands and everything was fine. She thinks it's very unlikely that it's a problem in the articulations, and since the issue was solved with raw food, I did not question it further.
 

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Sophy screamed in pain, then seemed to recover, but I noticed slight weaving in her back legs which is indicative of lower back spinal issues, and her back was very painful if pressed (I still have to warn the vets to avoid it as she is protective of the area even years later). The vet confirmed it and said complete rest was extremely important as if the disk were to burst it could rupture he spinal cord - that was enough to have me on panic alert, as you can imagine!
 
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