Stress Fracture in a Dog: Moose Won’t Bear Any Weight on a Front Leg

Stress fractures are small cracks in a bone caused by repetitive force.

It is typically an overuse injury though it can happen from normal use of a weakened bone.

Stress Fracture in a Dog: Moose, the Cocker Spaniel suffered a stress fracture in his front leg

Moose’s story

Moose is a 3-year-old active Cocker Spaniel. She loves her outings in the countryside. Little Moose’s mom suspected that a fun walk could end up with an emergency trip to a veterinarian.

While running through the terrain, Moose looked as if she slipped. She yelped loudly, lifted her right paw in the air and continued yelping. It was clear that something happened to her leg.

Bone fractures are high on the list of suspects when the dog refuses to bear any weight on the affected leg. With serious breaks, a dog might not just yelp but literally scream in pain.

Moose’s mom had to carry her down the mountain for much of the way. Once they got on the level terrain, Moose hobbled the rest of the distance to the car. They went to a veterinarian immediately.

At the veterinarian

They made it to the clinic an hour later. Moose continued to refuse to put any weight on her injured leg. The pain seemed to have originated in Moose’s elbow. Did she injure the joint?

The veterinarian set her up for x-rays to see what was going on.

The x-rays

To the veterinarian’s surprise, the x-rays didn’t show any dramatic injury. There was, however, evidence of remodeling in one of the bones around Moose’s elbow. They consulted with a radiologist who asked if Moose was lame on that leg in the past. There was evidence of an old stress fracture.

Moose was lame on that leg a couple of years ago after playing football with some kids. The x-rays at that time didn’t show anything and Moose recovered fast. However, the damage weakened her bone setting it up for the present injury.

Moose recovered quickly this time as well but remains vulnerable to re-injury if she overloads the leg.

In closing

An acute lameness in dogs can have many causes and even a veterinarian can miss what really happened. X-rays are a helpful diagnostic tool but often it is a good idea to submit the images to a specialist.

Original story:
Moose, a 3-year-old Cocker Spaniel who developed a serious lameness after a hill walk

Related articles:
Why Is My Dog Limping? Causes of Lameness in Dogs—Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog
Common Limping Misdiagnoses in Dogs

Further reading:
Broken Bones in Dogs

Categories: Dog health advocacyLamenessLimpingMuscle injuriesReal-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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