Jack Russell Hind Leg Problem

by Lorraine Atkinson
(Orlando, Florida)

Reader Question: What Is Wrong With My Jack's Hind Leg?

About 8 weeks ago jacks hind right leg gave way when he got up, after a min or two he started walking fine. He also started sitting on his right hip and walks moving his head side to side. He can no longer jump on the sofa or up at people, he doesn't seem to be in pain however our other dog ran towards him in the garden and he yelped and tends to be guarded when she's around him. I took him to the vet when this happened and had X-rays carried out on his legs and hips which came back perfectly fine.

The vet said to put him on a diet with him being slightly overweight which I have, he has lost weight and seems to be getting any better as his leg has been giving way more often plus with him sitting on his right hip his leg seems to go in over when he walks. Any advice would be much appreciated as we all love the little fella to bits.

Lorraine Atkinson

Veterinarian Suggestions For Treating A Jack's Hind Leg

Hello Lorraine,

I can’t say with certainty what is going on with your Jack Russell, but one condition that comes to mind goes by the name “patellar luxation.” When a dog suffers from a luxating patella, his kneecap (patella) and the ligaments that are attached to it slip to one side of the groove in which they are supposed to run over top of the knee. Affected dogs cannot fully straighten their legs and may stand with a bent hind leg or “skip” for a few strides if they are moving. In most cases, the kneecap eventually slides back into place and dogs will run off as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. With time many dogs with a luxating patella develop arthritis in the affected joint, so it can become a more serious problem. Another possibility that comes to mind is a partially torn cranial cruciate ligament.

I think encouraging your dog to rest his leg for a couple of weeks, putting him on a joint supplement (e.g., Dasuquin MSM) (and an anti-inflammatory like Rimadyl if he seems very uncomfortable), and seeing how he does is a reasonable course of action. If he returns to normal and doesn’t relapse, you have nothing to worry about. If, however, his condition fails to improve or worsens, a visit to a veterinarian who specializes in orthopedic problems would be a good next step.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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