Problems With Hind Legs Of Jack Russell

by Susan

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

My JRT is a female, 8 years old, spayed, 15 lbs

Diet: Iams mini chunks

Exercise: 6 mile walks 3 times a week, has her own door to go in and out of house to a fenced in backyard, runs beside my bike around the neighborhood on days that we don't walk.
She has always been a very active and healthy pet, but suddenly last week she was limping on her hind legs, sitting with her feet to the side, she quit jumping up on the bed or couch, and hardly runs anymore. I took her to the vet, when we got there she acted normal, like nothing was wrong. Vet prescribed ibuprophen. I took her home and sat her down and she started limping as soon as I did. Ibuprophen doesn't seem to be helping. She lies around a lot and has trouble rising (hind quarters), although she doesn't really ever act like she's in pain. We haven't walked in over a week because I don't want her hurt even worse. It breaks my heart to see my once overly active pup like this.

Veterinarian's Input On Problem With Canine's Hind Leg

Hi, I’m sorry to hear that your healthy and active dog is suddenly experiencing hind end pain. From your description, it sounds like your veterinarian couldn’t find anything specifically wrong with her based on a physical exam. Your dog seems to be very stoic, hiding her pain when in an unfamiliar setting, so that’s not too surprising. If nothing particular was found, I think a two week course of rest and pain relief is a reasonable course of action, just in case she is dealing with something simple like a muscle pull or strain. However, I wouldn’t have prescribed ibuprofen for your dog. There are much more effective and safer prescription canine pain relievers on the market like carprofen or deracoxib.

If your dog isn’t greatly improved within two weeks, relapses, or gets worse at anytime, I recommend a full work-up including an orthopedic and neurologic exam possibly followed by x-rays. From your description, I wonder if the problem is located in her lower back. I’ve treated several JRTs for intervertebral disk disease, mild cases of which can present in the way you describe. Of course, other conditions could certainly be to blame, which is why the diagnostic work up is so important.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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