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Hips and Knees
Okay, so I am probably concerned about something that isn't actually anything at all (at least, that is what my husband keeps telling me), but I wanted to ask anyway.
There's no history of HD (or any other genetic issues) in Mitsu's family history, and everything I read says that at 15 1/2 weeks she's too young to have signs of HD. She runs normally, plays normally, and never seems to be in pain. BUT for the past couple of days she has been bunny hopping up the stairs, sometimes even switching back and forth on the back legs she uses to walk up the stairs. I can try to get a video after work to demonstrate what I mean.
My husband thinks that she is just "experimenting with her gait" (lol), or that she might just be sore because we had a really active Saturday (first real playdate and first time to have a huge area to run and play in). She played with a big dog (and Kratos) on Saturday, but the big dog was a runner and not a contact-player, so he never actually touched Mitsu.
So...should I be worried? Or, rather, *when* should I start getting worried? Do dogs sometimes "experiment" with different ways of going up and down the stairs? (For the record, I do sometimes carry her up and down, especially after a long walk because she gets tired, but that is becoming less frequent because she is getting bigger and she's start to squirm more). How likely is it that a dog from a genetically clean family will develop HD?
Post edited by sunyata at 2012-08-09 10:08:53
If she had a really rowdy play date that certainly would be enough to change a dogs, gait. I wouldn't worry. Even IF a dog displayed some HD some dogs can actually grow out of it.
I would just keep an eye and she appears to be in any pain then maybe take her to the vet.
I would say that more likely than HD at a young age would be patellar luxation, which affects the knee caps. It's pretty common in smaller breeds (as HD is more common in larger ones). Not saying that it couldn't be, but just giving you something else to look into. Your vet will be able to stretch her leg and tell you if she's effected by it and how bad it may be (they can grow out of it).
I don't think that they experiment with their gait, it's just kind of.. instinct (the same with people walking), though I could be wrong. I also know that without any signs of defects in the family line, it is possible that something could develop. Breeders take precautions to lessen the possibility of defects developing but it doesn't mean that every dog will be problem-free. The same goes for the opposite. If two dogs with problems are bred, they could potentially have a problem-free puppy.
My adult Shiba bunny-hops a little when he's happy, especially on stairs. I asked the vet at our first visit, and she said that the hopping and his "sashay" are nothing to worry about because he showed no signs of pain or discomfort when she checked his joints and he's a young'un. She said it's probably just how he walks, and that the hopping might be because he's small (15 pounds) and it's faster to hop than it is to climb. Plus he really seems to do it more when he's happy than when he's being calm. Like a frolic. Can't say that she's 100 percent right or that the information applies to other dogs...but I think it goes to show that you may have no problem on your hands at all. Ask the vet the next time you are there.
Thanks everyone. These responses make me feel a bit better. I tried to get a video earlier, but because I was distracted with the camera, Mitsu was distracted by just about everything *but* the desire to walk up the stairs, so balancing the two didn't quite work out. If I can get one tomorrow when it is light again, I'll post it up. But I do feel better, especially to hear that Mitsu isn't the only one who bunny hops a bit on the stairs. So thank you!
I'll keep an eye and make sure she doesn't show any signs of pain, and next time I'm at the vet's, I'll ask.
I asked this question on the NK side, because I was noticing my AA puppy had a hard time getting up from sleeping....so slow...and I was worried. But as people noted, in some dogs, it takes awhile to figure out how their body works (even more so in big pups like mine I suspect). But I really understand your concern, because I've noticed Oskar really does "try out" different ways to get up the stairs (and the bunny hop works better than most of his attempts!) Otherwise, he's just not able to get his constantly growing body coordinated enough to get up, esp. since week by week his back legs should be in different places. And I do think going up stairs is very much a learned trait (rather than instinct) so they very much do try different things.
Also, luxating patella often has a distinctive "kick" with it. My male Shiba has it. He kicks out the offending leg really hard (presumably to get the kneecap back in place). He does it more when he is really excited. (He is not, btw, a candidate for surgery...or he could be, but it's not bad enough that my vet thinks it is necessary and I agree).
So if she looks good otherwise, I wouldn't worry. Stairs are hard for dogs of all sizes!
Lisa and Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akitas) and Leo (Kai Ken)
From the House of the Fox Dogs blog
Why it's Not About Dominance
Bel's thread: the story of a puppy mill Shiba's life
Thanks so much, shibamistress! I'm glad that you understand where I am coming from - I was worried that it was a silly concern/question.
I appreciate your response and your support! And I am also glad to hear that it sounds like Oskar is fine and just going through some awkward growth spurt phases.
I guess I need to get myself over to the NK side and start reading some of the posts there as well!
Mitsu is still occasionally doing the hop-up-the-stairs thing, but I put it out of my mind until today, when we had a playdate with a co-worker. She asked me why Mitsu "hops like a bunny when she runs," when most dogs don't do that. She said that she can tell that Kratos uses all four of his legs, but Mitsu just tends to hop her back ones when she runs, and that her back legs seem "stiff." But she's still not showing any signs of pain or discomfort, so maybe she just hops because it's quicker and easier to keep up with us/Kratos/other dogs? I don't know.
I tried to take video but I didn't have my good camera with me so they aren't very clear...
Up the stairs (sort of):
I'm not really sure what to do. I read that when a puppy is spayed (for Mitsu, that will be when she is six months old), it's a good time to get xrays done because they'll already be down for the surgery. But should I wait for signs of pain instead? Because I read on the NK side that hip issues in a dog that's kept as a pet should only be corrected if it's causing pain or atrophy. So it makes me wonder - should I try to catch this now, if it is a hip issue? Or should I just push all worries aside and let Mitsu walk however strangely she wants until it either stops her from having a good quality of life or starts causing pain? Basically, is it better to catch it early or is it better to wait until the signs are significant...assuming there even is an issue to begin with. Maybe she's just quirky...
Post edited by atlas at 2010-10-09 21:18:27
Going up the stairs, Kai did that last night but I know why he did. He had started a Shiba 500 and Turn 6, so to speak, is the stairs. He smacked his knee on the steps good last night and after he did, he went up the steps exactly like that. Only lasted thru the rest of his 500 tho. He's back to his normal Squat-> Reach -> Pull up the steps.
So I'd keep the knee in mind as well. But I also vote for the "It ain't a problem till it's a problem" ticket. Ask your vet so you can be aware and informed. Then don't worry about it till you have to
**update** I just watched your videos. They don't look like what my dog does at all. So....I don't know.
Post edited by emmy at 2010-10-10 03:18:56
I've seen a shiba pup hopping like a bunny while running on youtube it was very excited..
Saya has an issue with her spine not sure what yet really.. The vet did a x ray and the hips looked fine he didn't look at the spine thinking the hopping would just be from the hips.. I brought it up on one of the times Saya got her rabies and he did say the spine does show some damage.. So I think Saya has nerve damage in her spine maybe..
Saya hops when she walks fast and runs, but she'll walk normal when she is in no hurry to get somewhere. Despite her hopping she gets around well and wrestles with Bella just fine.
Is Mitsu bunny hopping all the time or only when really excited, playful and going up the stairs? Dink our mix breed hops up the stairs to get up.. Saya does too, but she always bunny hops when she wants to get somewhere fast..
Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
@Kuro_kai - Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. I haven't seen any distinctive kicking or anything like that, but it definitely won't hurt to have the vet feel her knees the next time we go in for something.
@emmy - You are probably right, and I really appreciate your comment. I've seen those videos too and her hopping is nothing as distinctive as I have seen in them. Next to my in-laws there's a boxer that very clearly has a hip issue and it's so bad, it looks like her hips just plain aren't attached to her body. She shakes and has a heavy limp. It's sad - I don't know the neighbors, so I don't know what they plan on doing about it. But that's definitely not the way Mitsu walks. I just was caught off guard by all the questions, because I had never discussed anything related to Mitsu's walk/run/hop to my co-worker, and for her to notice it was kind of alarming. And while she's no hip expert, she spends a lot of time at the dog park with her granddog, so she at least has an idea of the way dogs run.
@Saya - It's not all the time. She doesn't bunny hop when she walks. But when her trot approaches a run is when it's noticeable. And when she's going up the stairs - though that is more sporadic - sometimes she seems to walk up them okay, but then she'll start hopping or alternate feet. I'm sorry to hear about Saya, but it's good that the spinal damage doesn't hold her back from playing and running around.
I just was worried because for someone to randomly bring up Mitsu's hop makes me feel like it is something I need to be concerned about. But like I said, she still plays and runs her hopping run and doesn't limp or seem to be hindered in any way. Sorry for spamming the forum with all the worry - I just want Mitsu to be healthy and happy.
I have a dog who has HD, and while she was born with it, it wasn't something we saw until around seven months. Before then she displayed no symptoms, could run, and jump just as good as any puppy. It wasn't until she started to limp and yelp did we notice something was wrong with her hips. I think it may be a bit premature to diagnose her at this age, not to mention, unless its sort of severe (in my Rottweiler's case when x-rayed, it was very prominent), there is a chance she is just suffering from a growth spurt. A lot of puppies bunny hop, especially small ones when it comes to stairs. I notice she has long legs in proportion to her body, which means she is going through an awkward phase. Which is probably why she is hopping. But in order to be safe, I would personally, not let her walk up and down the stairs everyday, its not good for growing puppies. But if you want to take some good steps in case she really does have HD, talk to your vet about supplements, keep her weight low, give her good exorcise on flat even surfaces, and don't let her jump around or any other activity that puts strain on her back legs. Also look into massaging her back legs, she may just be a little sore, or feel weird from becoming more active with age, its also a good way to bond with her.
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