Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Limping and ER drama

Sedated for xrays and joint tests
So Whiskey has been running and doing really well lately. She's even been filling out her very skinny frame (adding much more fat, oils, quinoa, sweet potato into her diet is helping). Then one day while at work, I received a text from her walker informing that she was limping and favoring her left leg. I had taken her out that morning and played fetch and she was doing really well, no sign of any issues before she was put into her crate to rest up. The walker noticed nothing different as she was taken from her crate, to the van to be transferred to her walk. It was only after getting out of the van, there was an obvious limp. He noticed the limp within minutes and kept her on leash for the walk (checking her paws but finding no problem). After he dropped her back home, he put her in the crate, and when we got home from work, she was a very different dog.

so so mellow and sad

getting her eyes tested

not putting weight on her back legs

switching from one leg to another

She wouldn't come and greet us, she was very sad and wouldn't stand or walk. She wouldn't squat to pee, and she was refusing a bullystick which was very very out of character. We took her into ER immediately and carried her the whole time. At the ER, the vet pointed out that a dog with a physical problem doesn't normally show signs of such lethargy and wanted to test both her legs as well as blood and more. She tested her legs, put her under sedation for xrays, and did a couple blood tests. In the end she said we ruled out the serious stuff and it was probably a soft tissue damage. She gave her a little painkiller and we went back home to watch her. The ER vet prescribed 3-5 days of on-leashed walks.


That evening I carried Whiskey to her normal potty spot and kept her lying for the evening. Since she wasn't interested in eating from her bowl, I literally spoon fed her and she would only eat her favorite bits. I slept with her in bed, and the next morning I woke up to find Whiskey had forgotten the previous evening and was her normal self again! I couldn't see a limp at all whereas the previous night she wouldn't even stand! She ate her breakfast, cleaned the bowl, and there was a super happy wagging tail with lots of face licks, and she was very ready for her morning walk. I was astonished at the change. I only did a very short walk on leash so she could pee and poop.

The next day we pose for photos since we can't do much walking

Still working for treats!

3 days later I took Whiskey to see another vet for to check her legs for any sign of trauma, for a second opinion, and to see how slow/fast we could expect to have her to full running again. The vet was very thorough and was unable to find/feel/see anything alarming. She also mentioned that instead of a soft tissue injury it could have been more in her back/spine which is why it seemed like a huge change from one day to the other.  She prescribed a more conservative 10 days of on-leash walking (no running and jumping) with a gradual work up to off leash and longer hikes. At the moment it's been very difficult to keep a one year old from running or jumping but we are trying our best. Today we took her on a canoe ride (because I really hoped there would be limited running and jumping in the canoe) with a tiny bit of water retrieving and some short on-leashed walks. It's been a tough week but it's worth it to make sure whatever the problem was doesn't happen again and Whiskey can fully heal!

activities for the resting Vizsla

swimming much better this year!

Update: 2 weeks later Whiskey's shown no signs of limping. Hopefully this was a one time thing and it doesn't happen again! I think the lethargy was mostly Whiskey's personality when she is feeling sorry for herself. Alot of dogs don't show signs of this, but even when Whiskey is cold from swimming, or it's started to rain, she looks so miserable you wonder if there is something truly wrong.


  1. your picture "Switching one leg to the other"... In regards to how her back left leg is raised, my V does the same thing all the time. He mostly does it after running and exercising. He'll lift that back leg up, like he's trying to put the hip back in socket or something. After running for a while, he'll even face my couch, put the back leg up on the ottoman, and then jump on the couch. It's as if he doesn't want to put vertical strain on the joint.

    He's 8.5 now, but he's been doing this left leg thing since about 1.5 years old. I, too, have had him x-rayed etc. Nothing shows up on his xrays.

    Now, if he runs really hard at the beach, and then comes home and naps for an hour or two, he'll wake up stiff. it's the long nap in one position after exercising that kind of does him in. However, he has grown to deal with it quite well, and usually just takes a very slow stroll around the house to loosen up the joint.

    I do give him glucosamine and fish oil daily, and this seems to help. All in all, he has some type of similar issue, but nothing serious. I think, over time, if it's still a problem for her, she'll learn to adjust on her own. He used to scream and give that same look when he was in pain. But, now he has adapted and just asks for some extra cuddles if his leg is sore.

    sorry for the long wind! hope it was helpful. I saw that picture and thought of my boy who has been doing that for years!

    1. Hello! I'm not sure you'll receive this but we did eventually find and resolve the problem that led to the limping (we believe). I just wrote a new blog about it. I'm not sure if that will be useful to you.

  2. It's been a month later and Whiskey's shown no signs of the problem again (super happy!). We've started fetch again and she's been fine with no soreness afterwards. I hope it doesn't show up again when she gets older but it's hard to tell. At the moment it's so hot in Vancouver we're just taking it slower with the running in the heat.

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