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Swollen ankle in my dog.

Species: Dog
Breed: Labrador
Age: 1-2 years
My Labrador has the right back leg ankle joint bigger than his left one. 15 days ago he started limping and had difficulties going up the stairs , we went to the vet and he gave him antiflamatories for 10 days which are now over his right ankle joint is still bigger than the left one and when getting up after he rests or has slept he is putting carefully weight on this leg and limps for a little time after this he has no problems running jumping or taking the stairs. Do you have any idea what could it be and what to do next.
Thank you


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

The first thing that we worry about when a dog has a swollen hock (ankle joint) is that he has injured the joint somehow. However, if it was a minor sprain, then it really should be better after the 10 days of anti-inflammatories. If it is not better by now, then it means that there is something more serious going on.

It is possible that this is a more serious injury than a sprain. It may be that there is ligament damage or even a break somewhere. Because of this, the next step is probably to xray the joint. However, hock xrays can be difficult to interpret. But, if there is an obvious break then the vet should be able to see it.

Another possibility is some type of autoimmune disease such as polyarthritis. Polyarthritis usually affects multiple joints but I have seen dogs that just have one leg affected.

Another possibility is an infection in the joint. It could be a bacterial infection or it could be a fungal infection.

To diagnose an immune mediated disease, or an infection the next step (providing that xrays don't give an answer) will be to do a joint tap. This is usually something that we do either under a full anesthetic or deep sedation. The vet will put a sterile needle into the joint and take out some joint fluid. They will probably need to send the fluid away to a lab to find out what it contains.

I hope that things improve soon!

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.

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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.