Front Legs Fold Under

Orthopedic/Arthritis: Problems associated with joints, bone, and connective tissue.

Front Legs Fold Under

Postby rckowal » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:57 pm

We have a 13 year old female Chihuahua with a front leg problem. She seems to be in fairly good health, not over weight, eating well & about as active as an older lady can be. She has gradually developed a condition that we need some help with. Although she is able to stand & walk fairly normally, there are times when she folds both front legs under at the knee & stands that way - she will even walk on those folded over front knees. Both back legs are always normal.

On the chance this might be arthritis, we have been giving her a glucosamine/chondroitin tablet daily but notice no change in this condition. We asked her Vet about this but he just shrugged it off saying "that doesn't mean anything". As far as we are concerned, it does mean some thing. For instance, there are times when loves to wander about & explore in our backyard. Since she is a smaller Chihuahua, her legs are only 3 to 4" long yet the lawn is normally about 1 to 2" tall. When she tries to walk in it on her knees she often falls over on her side. Then she needs help to be stood upright on her front knees again.

Does anyone have any ideas what might be causing this condition so we can try to get it treated.

Best regards, Richard
rckowal
 
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Re: Front Legs Fold Under

Postby CarolC » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:43 pm

Hi Richard,

I'm not 100% sure how your dog is walking without seeing a picture, but it sounds like you are describing knuckling, which results from a neurological condition. (If you are old enough you may have heard it described in humans as "foot drop", such as came with polio.) The dog flips the paw under and walks on the knuckles. If this is not what your dog is doing maybe you can correct me. In any case, I'm sure of one thing, what your dog is doing doesn't sound normal and I don't know why your vet shrugged it off. I think you definitely need a second opinion. Since this sounds like it could be neurological, you might see if you can get a referral to a neurologist if you have a specialty clinic in the area. Sometimes you save money in the long run by seeing a specialist. It sounds like a possible cervical problem (neck) and those can become serious if they get worse. I think I would restrict the dog from activity such as jumping up and down on furniture, going up and down steps, etc. Actually, if it was my dog I would crate her until I had her checked.
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Re: Front Legs Fold Under

Postby rckowal » Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:12 am

Hi CarolC, Thanks for the reply.

From what you've described, it doesn't sound like "knuckling". She walks, stands, even runs normally with the exception of rare occasions when she will stand or walk a few steps with the lower portion of the front legs flat on the ground. When eating, she often stands in that position - although she can stand normally to eat as well. If it matters, this is a condition that she's had for several years, but it seems to occur more frequently now.

Viewing the anatomy in the attached link, I see now what I was calling the knee is the actually a "wrist". On our dog, the part of the leg below the wrist joint (?the pastern?) bends back toward the rear legs so it is flat on the ground.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt ... CAsQ9QEwAQ

It just occurred to me that she may be feeling pain caused by bruising at the wrist joints. With her very short legs & age, it is difficult for her to jump up over a door stoop. Although we always carry her in & out to go to the yard, she tries to jump the garage door stoop on her own. As a result, she bangs her front leg wrists against it (ouch).
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