Limping Border Collie: What Caused Bruder’s Lameness?

You would think that figuring out what is causing your dogs limping should be easy. However, it would likely surprise you how often it can be a diagnostic mystery.

The reason for your dog’s lameness can be anywhere from their toenails, feet, all the way up to the leg. And sometimes the cause of limping has nothing to do with the leg at all.

Limping Border Collie: What Caused Bruder's Lameness?

Bruder’s story

Bruder is a two-year-old Collie cross. He is a gentle, good-natured dog who lives to run. Fortunately, he was adopted to a family who allowed him to drain his abundant energy with vigorous activity. When he gets to run free, you can just watch him fly through the terrain.

First symptoms

Bruder always runs gracefully and effortlessly, That day, his gait for awkward and jerky. Something was bothering his front left leg. Maybe a little sprain?

His mom rested him for a few days expecting things to improve. Allowing the injured tissue to heal is often enough to resolve the problem. But Bruder was still limping after resting for a week.

Seeing a veterinarian

Quite often, when a limping dog arrives at a veterinary clinic, a problem goes away. Adrenaline surge can do that. That’s why it is always a good idea to film what’s going on in case the dog won’t show the veterinarian.

It was not, however, the case with Bruder—his limp was quite obvious. Bruder’s front left leg was not happy. He was weight baring a little bit but definitely not putting full weight on the leg.

The veterinarian checked the leg from the tip of Bruder’s toes to his shoulder. However, all the manipulation and squeezing did not help to identify where was the problem. Nothing the veterinarian did resulted in the slightest pain response. Was Bruder hiding his pain?

The veterinarian dispensed pain medication and prescribed further rest. That often does the trick.

Back at the clinic

A week later, Bruder was still limping. This time his veterinarian x-rayed every inch of the lame leg—everything looked normal. What now?

Mystery solved

Just when he had everybody sufficiently desperate, Bruder decided to provide a new clue. He started licking the paw pad of the lame leg. When his mom went to take a closer look, she noticed a tiny irregular area on one of Bruder’s pads. They returned to the veterinarian to share her finding.

It was a tiny protruding tip of something hard. When the veterinarian gently squeezed the pad, it poked out a bit further.

With forceps, the veterinarian grasped the tip a pulled out a splinter of glass almost half an inch long. It made its way into the tissue of the foot and hurt only when stepped on. That’s why the examination did not find it.

It very much reminds me of Cookie’s porcupine quill fragment in her foot. It too was completely invisible and causing severe lameness on that foot.

Just like quills, glass splinters tend to elude x-rays too.

As soon as the piece of glass was removed, Bruder’s lameness was gone and he could return to romping through the countryside.

Original story:
Bruder, a Two-year-old Collie Cross Dog Who Developed a Mystery Lameness

Related articles:
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: What Is That Limp?

Categories: ConditionsDog health advocacyLamenessLimpingReal-life StoriesSymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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