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Does my dog have a gait problem?

Species: Dog
Breed: golden
Age: 6-12 months
Hi Dr.

I'm hoping this is a trivial question.

As the email pic shows, the middle-outside toe on Max's right foot is showing a slight bit more wear than the equal toe on his left foot.

While I was there last month my vet examined his hips. He felt no gaps on either side through 130 degrees of motion. He also watched him walk around the waiting room. Said there was no issue he detected.

Maybe it's nothing but my last dog had gate issues...

Jay


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

dog feet

Hi Jay. Max sure knows how to make you worry, doesn't he? :)

I've been looking at your photo over and over again and really can't see anything unusual.

Are you looking at the color difference (i.e. where there is some pink on his pad?) If so, this can be normal to just have slight differences in pigment.

The biggest concern with Golden Retrievers and possible gait issues is hip dysplasia. Unfortunately though there are usually no visible symptoms either on exam or by xray of hip dysplasia until an animal is much older. What this means is that it is really rare to be able to determine if something is going on right now.

There are some exceptions though. If I have a dog with severe hip dysplasia I will sometimes see lameness on the exam and changes on their xrays.

When Max is about 2, you can talk to your vet about taking some xrays under anesthetic to see if there are any concerns for hip dysplasia.

With that being said, I've never diagnosed a gait issue by looking at the pads on a dog's foot.

It really sounds like there is nothing to worry about here!

Dr. Marie.




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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

I noticed with my previous dog, Mickey, that he would wear down his toe pads when we went for long walks, they would turn pink from rubbing. Eventually he was diagnosed with a degenerative lesion on his spine.

Of course, there's a million miles between disproportionately wearing down the toes on one foot and a lesion/hip dysplasia, but I just wanted to check.

I incidentally, in spite of it all Max is 67 lbs, extremely smart, affectionate, and energetic. Friday comes the neutering.

Jay


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for the new image with the circles. I see what you mean about one pad being pinker than the other.

I really think this is nothing. I've seen lots of dogs with slight variations in color on their pads.

dog feet

I believe some universities have "gait machines" where the dog can walk across an electronic matt and a computer registers whether there is a slight variation that is consistently off with the gait. It would be neat if we were able to put Max on one of these.

But, I really don't think there is anything to worry about here!

I'll be heading offline in a few minutes (bed time here...) but if you have more concerns I'll check in on your question in the morning.

Dr. Marie.




Customer reply:

I think you've put this to bed.


Thanks again

Jay


Customer reply:

Dr,

I might have misspoke. The pink area is actualy worn and shiny, without the usual roughness of the other foot pads.

Is it acceptible for a puppy to put extra pressure/scrub on one leg over the other? He's walked 30-45 min per day.

I realise the effect is visually minimal. Could it be just a benign mishape of the phalanges.


Thanks,

Jay



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hmmm....it's really not something that I can say I have ever paid attention to. But then, most owners are probably not as attentive as you and may not notice small things like this.

Short of doing a gait analysis at a university I don't think anyone can tell you much more at this point as to whether or not there is a gait issue.

My gut instinct still is that this is just pigment change even though it is different in texture.

If you are still worried though, you could ask your vet to set up an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. These vets can often pick up the subtle things that regular vets can't.



Customer reply:

Sounds good.
Incidentally, you may recall his occluded lower canines (behind and inside the uppers). Amazingly they have come to rest in a normal spot.



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Glad to hear that about his teeth! The body is truly amazing!



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.