Dogs with Long Legs (Are They More Susceptible to Leg Issues?) | 99PetCare
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Dogs with Long Legs (Are They More Susceptible to Leg Issues?)

Few things in the canine world are more breathtaking than a long, majestic stride of a long-legged dog. Of course, gradual hind leg weakness could cause this beautiful sight to stop. If you own such a pooch, should you be more concerned about this issue than short-legged dog owners?

Leg Issues are an Equal Opportunity Offender

The size of your dog’s legs has very little to do with whether or not they will develop a hind leg issue. The reason for this is because there is a long list of injuries and ailments that can cause hind leg problems of various stripes. While some of the issues associated with hind leg weakness can be linked to certain breeds, the category of hind leg weakness as a whole - and the issues that are associated with the condition -- is broad enough to be something of equal, universal concern amongst dog owners.

Lameness - Leg Injuries’ Broadest Stroke

The biggest classification that can be made when it comes to the disruption of a dog’s gait is lameness. Simply put, this condition causes a disruption in a dog’s ability to move about in a normal manner. There can be several root causes for lameness in a pooch, from a direct response to pain or an injury to a developmental issue that gradually worsens over time, such as dysplasia.

The range of pain that your pooch may feel as a result of lameness does vary on a case by case basis. The level of discomfort could be subtle enough to where he walks gingerly, or it could be severe to the point where he can't place any weight on the limb at all. Some of the pain may be caused by the actual condition itself while some may end up being secondary characteristics that indirectly result from your dog trying to compensate for the condition.

How Can I Tell if My Dog is Having Leg Issues?

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A lot of the symptoms surrounding a dog’s leg issues are not exactly subtle, and can be relatively easy to detect. You will notice your pooch exhibit a decreased range of motion, reluctance to climb stairs, or the development of a rather funky gait as the condition proliferates. You may even hear a grating sound as the dog’s joints move if you listen close enough.

Other symptoms that your dog could exhibit are not quite as obvious. For instance, your pooch could experience some muscle atrophy (that is, a loss of muscle mass) in the affected legs, which may not as be as visible as you may think. A dog may also signal something’s wrong through his nervous system, in the form of trembling or shaking.

Does the Length of My Dog’s Legs Affect Potential Treatment?

The size of your pooch’s legs will not dictate the kind of treatment he will undergo to potentially rectify the problem. However, the treatment options will vary based on the underlying cause of the condition. Your vet will be able to work with you and your dog to determine the issue’s roots and forge a proper plan from there.

The regiment could include some fairly obvious components that will allow your dog to get relief, such as medication to relive pain or steroids to reduce muscle and nerve inflammation. In some cases, your vet could recommend a change in your dog’s diet to help your four-legged friend lose some weight, which naturally would alleviate some of the pressure his legs may otherwise be carrying. When your dog shows improvement in his leg health, it’s up to you to further the treatment by gradually increasing his activity and motion, so that he doesn’t overdo things.

Don’t Take Your Dog’s Legs For Granted

Dogs are hearty critters, and may prefer to come up with solutions to their problem of pain as opposed to outwardly letting you know that there is something wrong. For this reason, it’s important that you act on helping out your dog the moment that he starts exhibiting trouble with his legs. Doing so will not only help relieve your little buddy’s pain, but it will also restore the relationship between you and your pal to its fullest extent.


Laura Harris

Dr. Laura Harris is our resident dog health expert. She started to fact-check dog health-related information for 99PetCare during her internship and contributes since then. Her expertise is in dog nutrition, senior dog care, especially critical care medicine and internal medicine.

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