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Limping on rear leg.

Species: Dog
Breed: Beagle/Bassett Mix
Age: 2-5 years
Hello Dr. Marie! Buddy came to us about six months ago a stray. Though it was apparent he had never been indoors or fed regularly he adapted to our home very well. His first couple of weeks with us he was really favoring his right rear leg. When he would rise from a laying down position he would let out a yelp. This only lasted a little while but had dissipated before he got his first Vet visit. Since then Buddy has put on a little weight and we have decided to run him in our back field for exercise. After about his second run he started yelping again and now we are very concerned b/c his tail is completely in between his legs and seems uncomfortable. We gave him 1/2 of an ibuprofen and he perked up, then the next morning back to yelping. Thanks in advance, this is a neat service!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that Buddy is having problems with his leg. I'll give you a few possible ideas as to what could be going on with him, but lameness issues can be tough to talk about online without being able to examine Buddy.

My first concern when I see a dog with a sore back leg is a cruciate ligament tear. This is the same thing as an ACL tear. It's possible that Buddy had a partial tear in the ligament when you first had him and now it has progressed to a complete tear. A partial tear will often get better on its own, but unfortunately if there is a complete tear it will only heal properly with surgery and that surgery can be quite expensive.

It's also possible that he has some pain in one of his joints. This could be from arthritis (although he's a little young for that) or possibly even from hip dysplasia.

If he has joint pain that comes and goes then lyme disease is a possibility if you live in an area that sees lyme disease. Lyme is spread by ticks. It is usually treatable, but some dogs can have lasting joint pain despite treatment.

A back problem is also a possibility, especially in a beagle or bassett hound. Both of these breeds can be prone to back problems. If it is a back problem, it may be some inflammation between the discs or it could be something more serious such as a bulging disc. A bulging disc can be serious and can need surgery.

I would highly advise you to have a vet take a look at Buddy. They will do a good thorough exam. If there is a cruciate tear then the vet can usually tell by doing some manipulation of the knee joint. (It's not something that you could feel at home though). The vet may also want to take some xrays to see if there is another issue present. They can also prescribe some safer medication to help with discomfort. It's possible that this is just a simple sprain or strain, and if so, a few days of anti-inflammatory medication can be really helpful. Ibuprofen can be very hard on a dog's kidneys, so it's not recommended to stay on that. There really isn't an over the counter medicine that I consider safe and effective for dogs.

I really hope that there is nothing serious going on!

If you have more questions, let me know. I'm heading offline right now but I'll be back on in the morning.

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. 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:

Thank you so much for you answer. We will make an appointment for Buddy, and not give him any more otc meds. I do have one more question just to cover all of our basis. After discussing Buddy last night with the family we also came to the conclusion that we don't ever remember Buddy really ever having his tail straight out. (?) It has always seemed to kinda curve in. I just thought he always kept his tail in b/c he was mis-treated and he was just timid. Is it at all possible that there could be something wrong with his tail? Or if there is something else wrong with him, could it be affecting his tail like this? Right now he is running with our other dogs and playing. He looks to be fine, but his tail is curved in.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm guessing that Buddy's tail is totally normal. Some dogs can be born with a tail deformity that makes it go in a funny direction or sometimes have a kink in it.

It's not likely to be connected to his current issue.

Glad to hear he's feeling good today!

Dr. Marie

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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.