If you care for an elderly, injured or special needs pet, you've come to the right place!
I am new here and i hope i've posted this in the right section.
I am Gail, i live in Scotland and have 3 dogs and my youngest Lucy (5 yrs) has been slowly deteriorating over the past 3 yrs. Lucy with Tink.
I'll try to keep this as short as possible. 3 yrs ago Lucy started to have intermittent lameness on her fron left leg but unlike a normal dog that would limp her leg would collapse under her. My vet thought it was orthopeadic at the time so she saw a specialist who couldn't help. A course of hydrotherapy was the next thing tried, Lucy hated the pool and was banned on session number 5 when she climbed out the pool with harness and hoist still attatched. The treadmill in water was better tolerated and helped to strengthen her muscles.
Lucy staterd knuckling with her left leg 18 months ago and her leg would tremble and now both front legs are affected. I now walk Lucy with a harness with handles so i can take some of her weight as she stumbles a lot and she has boots to protect her feet, finding boots that stays on her feet is a nightmare as Lucy walking on the outside of her feet. Lucy finds walking on concrete much harder than on grass and sand. Lucy does some very strange things with her legs and although most of the time knows where are feet are there are times she doesn't. Her left leg has become quite bent recently as seen here and you can also see how most of the weight is on the outside of her foot, she can no longer walk in those boots i had memory foam insoles in them but her leg is now slightly more bent that in this pic taken 7 weks ago.
She is booked in to my vets for 10th aug (vet moving to new premisis with new equipment) for xrays to double check there is no bone problems, as she has had almost yearly xrays on that leg it should be easy for my vet to see any changes. Lucy is on prednisolone 5mg once a day which has helped improve her symptoms. If Lucy's xrays come back clear she will be refered to a neurologist, luckily my dogs are insured but only up to £6000 per condition, think we are at about £1500 spent so hoping whats left will cover the costs of the tests she will need.
Here are some picture of what she does with her feet without realising, these pics were taken on one of her bad days
I know that it is unlikely that there will be a cure for Lucy and that it is likely that she will get worse.
When is the time to look at getting either wheels or a stroller, there are times that i have to carry Lucy.
Lucy is still quite mobile and can get around the house and garden in her own way.
When she has a really good day she can still run at speed but turning is a problem and she falls or rather rolls over. I tend to keep her on an extending lead except on the beach but i feel really bad doing this.
Does anyone recognise any of these symptoms, have looked on the web but haven't found anything that fits what Lucy has.
Any advice on how i can help Lucy will be much appreciated.
Sorry this is so long.
Your dog sounds abit similar to my bc Maisie, who has a peripheral neuropathy,
Maisie cannot sustain weight on her forepaws, below the wrists, and walks on her knuckles of all 4 paws, she also falls over, to help Maisie walk, and run ( well bunny hop, with hind legs crossed) we visited a vet physio, and got some splints made, they are rigid, held on with velcro, and hold her paws in a rightish position, and support her wrists as well, she still drags her hind paws a bit and walks on the points, but these have given Maisie a life
You need to see a neurologist, but maybe leg braces may help in the mean time? Here's a photo of Maisie with her braces,
Thank you Jed.
Maisie is a sweetheart and it gives me hope for Lucy to see you Maisie still mobile and Happy
Can i ask how Maisie's condition first presented, Lucy seems to be unusual in that her back end is rock steady and just her front legs are wonky.
My vet wants to take detailed xrays of Lucys front legs before refering her to a neurologist, her left front bends inwards under her body and has got worse recently so he wants to check that out before refering her as the only neurology specialist in Scotland is on the other side of Scotland to us.
Lucy currently wears ruffwear skyliner boots on her front legs while walking but she does ends up on her tiptoes as she tries to knuckle. Never thought of putting splints on her. How far up the legs do splints go. Lucy can't walk in anything that goes near her ankle joint found this out while trying to find her the right boots.
Thank you very much for your reply
Wishing you and Maisie all the best
Gail and Lucy
maisie's symptoms started at around 13 weeks old, (she's now a year) with a turning over of one of her hind paws, at first it was very infrequent, so we just thought it was a puppy thing. Over the space of a couple of weeks the knuckling got more frequent, so we took her to the vet, several blood tests, for various things but all came back negative, by the time Maisie was 4 mths, her front paws started to knuckle over as well, by 6 mths, she couldn't sustain weight on her wrists,(knees) her deterioration between 4 and 7 mths was scarey, in the space of 3 mths she turned from a normal pup, into a pup with major mobility problems, but over the past 4 months she seems to be pretty stable, I'm convinced that this is because since we had the braces made, she is more mobile, and can run and play, therefore has some muscles .
I can see why your vet wants to do x-rays, it almost looks as tho she's a bit bow legged, does she walk on the outside of her paws? Or do they knuckle over?
Is it only her front legs, or hind as well? There are many types of different carts, including ones that support the dogs full weight but allows the dog to walk, maybe visit the physio again, so you can explore different methods of helping Lucy,
Finding boots can be a nightmare, I use neopaws on Maisie, as she needs something that comes up high on the leg. Like the combat boots where did you get them from?
Hope you find a way to help lovely Lucy, Don't give up,
Yes her legs are now bow shaped most of the time, only on really good days are they straight. She does walk on the outside of her paws and she does knuckle at times, mostly when she is tired so during a walk or when waking. Got into the habit of straightening her paws while she sleeps as if they are bent she won't straighten them before trying to stand.
The main problem with Lucy and footwear is that because she walks on the outside of her feet most of the ones we've tried she turns round so is walking on the wrong side also at times as can be seen in some of the pics she turns her feet out (her penguin walk) and finds it hard to walk in her shoes when her feet are out, with her shoes on she can't knuckle so goes on her tiptoes instead. The skyliner boots i got online here in the uk (managed to find an outdoor shop discontinuing it's dog range so got a third off) The combat boots i had specially made for Lucy by a lovely lady in Devon who has a cavalier with bad feet, they were Lucy's first boots sadly as her feet got worse they weren't strong enough and Lucy walked out of them in one day (i can find here details if you want). Got Lucy some of the Avery combat style boots as neopaws as expensive over here and cut them down at the back but Lucy can't keep them on. Lucy has long narrow feet (my cavalier has wider feet than Lucy). Lucy has more shoes and more expensive shoes than i do
I am very lucky in that i have a very talented friend who can make anything and when Lucy needs wheels he will make her some which will save me a fortune.
Lucy's back legs are mostly ok although i have noticed a few knuckles on her back right foot and she fell over once. For now her back end is good although i fear that may not always be the case.
You are right muscle tone is everything and keeping it is a constant battle.
Lucy loves the beach so we go there twice a week with her interball (a heavy football with handles) and an hour playing on the beach with her ball has the same effect on her front legs as a 20 min session in the water treadmill did. I did at one point take her 5 days a week but she refused to walk on anything other than sand and wanted carried so i had to cut it back and encourage her to walk on all surfaces. I am lucky enough to be on the edge of a town with lovely countryside all around so try to different walks each day. Walking Lucy is her harness (pictured) is becoming harder and at 22kg she is no lightweight. Lucy's left leg is her worst affected leg and on her worst days it doesn't always reach the ground it is like she is doing the breast stroke and her right leg which is her straightest leg has unfortunately always been her weakest/less muscled leg.
The place i took Lucy to for hydrotherapy was attatched to vetinary practice and it was the vet nurses that did the hydro sessions. Not sure if there is an animal physio in this area.
Poor Maisie and poor you that must have been so scary for you, she does look so happy though and you've found the right way to help her. Maisie looks so proud to be walking tall.
Thank you so very much for answering my queries, it is so very much appreciated and it really does help me.
I hope the x-rays etc go well in Aug, and her problems are resolvable, It must be hard work walking Lucy with the harness, can she walk without it?
Have a further look at various threads on this forum, as there is a wealth of info on different carts, depending on the dogs needs , We will also make one, IF it comes to it, for Maisie,
Let us know how the x-rays go
I will let you know how she gets on with her xrays.
Lucy can walk without her harness and footwear. She does quite well (looks almost normal) on grass and the beach. Concrete is where lucy needs both the harness and boots. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and because Lucy's problems have been gradual and she's plateaued inbetween it has taken a long time to realise Lucy's problems weren't resolvable. Lucy has had a few falls and slips mainly on wet pavements and i think that had scared her so she walks very stiffly on pavements which makes her mobility worse. So i hold the harness handles while we're on pavements then if she's have a good day let her stretch her legs without her boots on in the local park. Then boots back on to walk home, my other 2 dogs get a bit fed up but are getting used to the routine.
Lucy is a very nervous dog when i adopted her at 6 to 8 months she had been returned to the rescue shelter 3 times so we were her last chance, she had just about evey behavioural problem a dog could have and although she is much better she is still very nervous and can be quite clingy. My vet who has known Lucy from day one even thought that her prolonged lameness could be behavioural, i didn't agree but understood why he thought that, he no longer thinks it's behavioural now.
One thing i have wondered about is all the vaccinations Lucy has had, being a yo-yo shelter dog she was given a temporary vaccination each time she came back in and my vet insisted she be given a full vaccination course when i took her to him and she may have had another 3 on top of that. I can't remember off the top of my head what dogs here in the uk are vaccinated for but i do worry that i may be partly to blame for Lucy's current problems.
I also worry about Lucy being on steroids as she is so hungry to the point she tried to eat dog poo on our walk today but they are helping her mobility so much and a more mobile Lucy is a happy Lucy.
No my vet hasn't given any possible conditions just that it's most likely neurological and if her x rays are clear then he'll refer her to a neurologist. With it being her front legs that are affected it is very unusual so he is stumped which is saying something as he comes from a family of vets (father and brother are vets and his wife is a vet) and has discussed Lucy with them
Have ordered Lucy a stroller as i'm hoping she will be able to walk further if push her to the countryside then hopefully the nice smells will inspire her to walk more as i think she does worry about walking home and my other 2 dogs will have a decent walk.
I sent you a pm but not sure if i did it right, i found a pair of the boots you admired that were too big for Lucy and she only wore them twice. Would you like them for Maisie don't want anything for them, just a good home and they won't cost much to post.
Thank you very much, have sent you a pm (I think )
it can be difficult when you have other dogs, I also have another, and often juggle dogs, to make sure that my other (2yr old Brittany x) get the exercise he needs. I do believe that it must be better to keep them as active as possible Maisie found the winter hard, and was quite inactive ( I live in the Alps, so snow and ice) but once the snow melted, and we got her leg splints made, she has improved enormously, which I believe is due to being more active.
Maisie started off with her hind quarters, but its her front legs now which are worse. Maisie like Lucy has managed to stump a few vets
Maisie sends some licks and tail wags
I found another set of Lucy rejects that will fit Maisie another long boot so will post them all tomorrow post office had half day today. Yes you did the pm right
You must face similar problems to us with being in the alps, hills we are near the bottom of a valley on a hill so to get anywhere it is up or down hill. Lucy finds flat ground best. Yes keeping them moving and as much muscle as possible is the key. I got Lucy a new all in one headcollar today and for the first time in over 6 months she managed to do a walk without me holding her harness to help her
Hoping to only use the stroller about twice a week so she doesn't get too used to it so my other dogs get the 5 mile plus walks they used to. My 3 like going out as a threesome my cavalier won't do a long walk without Lucy.
Thats great attagirl Lucy, Maisie also finds it easier on flat evenish terrain, of which her main walking area is at the bottom of the valley, which is fine, dirt track, no roads, but no matter what there's always a bit of a hill to do . I do think I'm going to have to re-address things though for winter, but don't know how, hopefully the physio will have some ideas.
I got Lucy a new coat one with short sleeves and it covers her chest and has a hood
Lucy has always walked better in wet and cooler weather with her shoulder area kept warm
She did incredibly well walking in her new coat and managed 30 mins in the rain yesterday (typical scottish summer ) normally 10 mins is tops.
Would a coat help Maisie, or some sort of harness to help you support her? Do her boots slip in the wet?
Lucy didn't get much exercise for a month last winter due to the snow but that was exceptional for us.
Lucy has taken very well to her stroller and we're getting our long walks back. She is very good and only sits in it for up to 5 mins a time during our walks to get her breath back and for her legs to stop shaking then she wants back out again. She only stays in it once we get back to the edge of town then she's happy to get pushed home, no more interesting smells
I'm alternating between using the harness and using the stroller just now. She is managing to walk by herself by the stroller knowing she can have a rest when she needs it, no more collapsing
The wet isn't to much of a problem as our main walking place is a dirt track, so is quite grippy, the winter is my main problem, I would like to keep her as active as possible as it has made a huge difference in the progression of her neuropathy, (there has been no deterioration recently) this of course could just be natural progression, but I'm still convinced that the increased exercise, and muscle mass is a factor , I will be speaking to our physio, when I next see her for what ideas she has.
Good luck on the up and coming x-rays, I really hope it is something resolvable . And thank you for the boots, they arrived today (have sent a pm)
Lucy is exhausted after her day in the vets bless her she ate then went straight to bed.
My vet took 17 x-rays of her front legs and upper/mid spine.
Her left front leg (her worst leg) is slightly abnormal, her foot is rotated slightly inwards but not enough to be the sole cause of her problems.
There is a slight mineralisation on her T2 vertebra which may or may not be a cause, her symptoms are more neurological than spinal.
Bless my vet he wants to pour over the books tonight armed with the x-rays and all Lucy's symptoms and he'll phone me in a day or 2.
He took Lucy for a walk and she did bunny hop with her back legs for him, she only occassionally shows symptoms at the vets.
Still undecided about her going to Neurologist as she would need to come right off her steroids as they would really need to see her at her worst, not sure if it worth putting her through all that for what could be nothing. There is no guarantee of a diaganosis and she could loose some all important muscle tone with her decreased mobility which i know from experience with Lucy is a struggle to get back.
Lucy is doing really well with her stroller and will walk beside it quite happily with just little rests and maybe the last 10 mins in it. Have noticed her back end starting to weaken more, and she wobbles when she goes to the toilet. At present she only has a front harness as her front legs are her weakest but may need to get her a rear harness too.
Thank you all for reading.
Jed i hope Maisie is doing well.
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