Front legs stiff after rest

The Miniature Schnauzer is a smallest dog in the Schnauzer breed and originated in the mid-to-late 19th Century from Germany. The Miniature Schnauzer is a cross between the Standard Schnauzer and other smaller breeds such as the Poodle. A miniature Schnauzer is a spunky, but aloof dog who does things their own way. They tend to be good guard dogs without the tendency to bite.
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Front legs stiff after rest

Postby jak » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:30 am

Hi all

For a week now I've noticed that Bertie's legs are stiff first thing in a morning, or if he's been asleep for a while during the day. He usually bounds up the stairs, but this week he's had to plod up one at a time. I'm assuming one or both of his front legs are bothering him, though I suppose it could also be his back legs. I've had a pull and a feel and he doesn't seem to be in any obvious pain and isn't favouring one leg when he walks. Once the stiffness has worn off though he's his usual self, jumping up and running around as normal.

In a related question, I just wondered how many other people's Minis sleep with their back legs splayed right out, a bit like a frog? I have Ehlers Danlos syndrome, which means I'm "double jointed" due to a genetic defect in the collagen of my connective tissue. Animals can also get EDS, and I wondered if this splaying of his back legs could mean that Bert has overly flexible joints, which like mine could be more prone to early arthritis or dislocation/subluxation? I'm probably over-thinking this, but just thought I'd ask!

He's only 4, so seems far too young to have arthritis. He's also already on a high oil supplement containing EPA and GLA from borage oil for his coat, which I would have thought would also be a joint protector. But other than an obvious injury (which he doesn't seem to have), I can't think what else other than arthritis would cause joint stiffness after rest, but improve with exercise.

Jak x
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby Sharon H » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:41 am

Have you checked in between his pads for hard lumps of matted fur and dirt? This can make them seem lame when they first start to walk but seems to wear off.
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby jak » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:12 am

Thanks Sharon but all is fine. The only other thing that I can think of is that I found he had a tick 10 days ago. It had only been on him for an hour, and I got it all out (head etc.) with a proper tick tool. Where I live in north Cumbria I was told by the vet that we don't have Lyme carrying ticks, they are more in South Cumbria, but that doesn't mean there aren't any. Apart from fluey symptoms, I've no idea what the early symptoms of Lyme disease are in dogs - I'll have to go and Google it! x
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby jak » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:19 am

Gosh, I've just Googled Lyme disease in dogs and lameness is one of the first symptoms. I think a trip to the vet is in order tomorrow :(
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby SueMcG » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:55 am

Hi Jak,

Yes, sounds like a trip to the vet would be a good idea. On your specific questions, Alfie often sleeps in what we call "rug position" with the froggy back legs, and I think my original mini, Rupert, used to when he was young. Dizzy, my three year old female, never has.

For Rupert's first 7 years we lived in Hong Kong where they also had disease bearing ticks. Rupert unfortunately got tick fever on one occasion (at the age of 7 months) and his symptoms came on very quickly - high fever and clearly very unwell. I'm happy to say that we got him straight to the vet and on the medication for tick fever immediately whilst awaiting blood test results to confirm it (which took several days). Rupert made a complete recovery but the vet did say that if he had not been treated so quickly it could have been different. On this basis my feeling is that if there is any chance at all of tick fever then treat for it as soon as possible. Of course, the Hong Kong type may be very different, and Rupert's symptoms were much more pronounced, but I thought I would mention this.

I do hope he is okay - let us know how you get on.

Sue x
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby Joni » Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:45 pm

Hello there. Don't panic!

First and foremost 4 years old is not too young for Arthritis. I have a giant schnauzer and he has had arthritis since the age of 2. The reason this is valid to this is thread that he also sleeps flat out as you describe your does. The reason mine does this is to shift his weight off his legs and onto his body.

A vet will be able to give you a reasonably good assessment of how much movement is in the joints, and if needed it can be followed up by xrays which give more detail.

There is a lot you can do with arthritis. For example for a number of years you can manage with nutriceuticals (sp), i.e. no steroidal drugs and a drug called cartrofen (which sadly my dog was left too long without it for it to be of use, but you live and learn, I know have a vet who is far more specialised in this area). Then finally you will need to possibly consider some long term steroidal drugs. My dog is on a combination of both and also is going to have some laser treatment and accipuncture aswell ,although his condition has detiroated over the last 6-9 months. (he is 5)

My dads spaniel who is 4 has also got arthritis so it is not uncommon. If it turns out your dog has got this condition, then if I were in your position I would consider reducing any ball and jumping activities, to zero. I allow mine 4/5 1 hour runs with my other dogs on the beach in 7 days and the rest of his exercise (which is a lot) is more controlled.

He has a soft bed and I don't allow him to stay wet on his joints (his leg hair). He also has fleece jumpers and suits for the damp weather.

I expect this is a more likely diagnosis than lymes personally.
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby jak » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:44 pm

Thanks Sue and Joni for taking the time to reply. I had no idea such young dogs could get arthritis, so definitely need a vet to check him over and do some blood tests I think. I do worry about Lyme disease though - I used to walk Bertie mainly in grazing fields, but due to the rampant Liver Fluke this year and the fact Bert loves to eat both grass and sheep poop I've changed to taking him in the woods, which of course is prime tick habitat - you can't win!!

x
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby Cat M » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:16 pm

Poor Bertie :( Let us know how you get on at the vets Jak :ymhug:
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby elizdavies0 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:40 pm

Sorry I can't add anything useful but I want you to know that I'm thinking of you both and hoping for good news ... x
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby jak » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:47 pm

Hi guys

Thanks so much for your concern. The vet said Bert had some discomfort in his right front leg, but he's unsure why. Has put him on painkillers, and if that helps then the stiffness has been down to pain (could be from anything, a virus, a muscle injury). The test comes when he finishes the 10 days course of Metacam - if the stiffness returns it's more likely arthritis and he'll need an Xray and some blood tests.

If the Metacam doesn't help the stiffness I have to take him back in 4 days for an Xray and some blood tests.

The vet, like me, was amazed he'd had a tick bite. It was snowing here again today, and freezing cold - they don't usually come out until it's warmed up in spring. He said Lyme would be very rare, but not beyond the realms of possiblity where we live.

I'll let you know how he gets on. Thanks again - I love this forum, everyone is soooo helpful and nice :ymhug: x
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby SueMcG » Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:11 pm

Thanks for letting us know; I've been thinking about you all day. Hopefully it will just be a fleeting "one of those things" - keep us informed. I have to admit that after my experience with Rupert I've been obsessed with ticks so hope I didn't add to your worries there. I do hope Bertie feels more comfortable quickly with the metacam and the stiffness then doesn't come back.

Looking forward to an update in a few days.
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby hula-hoop » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:13 pm

Just read this, lets hope the metacam does the trick and that it is nothing more serious :)
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby Maty » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:55 pm

Fingers crossed that the metacam does the trick :-bd
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby SueMcG » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:34 pm

How is Bertie doing, Jak? Did the Metacam help?

Sue x
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Re: Front legs stiff after rest

Postby jak » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:51 pm

So kind of you to ask Sue. Yes, the stiffness has totally gone. I was worried the first 48 hours though, as he vomited 4 times from the metacam, but this has settled down now. He's on it until Monday then the test will be if it comes back when he's off the drug.

x
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