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Riley's blog

12 1/2 year old German Shorthair Pointer

Riley's blog

Anybody else dealing with “knuckling under?”

January 30th, 2018 · 8 Comments · Uncategorized

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Riley just had her 9month post-operative check up.  She had chest x-rays and an ultrasound.  No evidence of cancer, which is wonderful news.  She has had an issue with “knuckling under.”  Her left front paw will sometimes roll under.  As you might imagine, this is causing some difficulties with Riley’s ability to get around.  Additionally, sometimes she hold that paw up (while laying down), and it sort of flops around.  It is almost as though she can’t get the paw to work properly, but maybe at the shoulder level.  At the recent check-up, x-rays of her shoulder were taken.  There is some arthritis there, and it has advanced since the last films were taken in October.  Also, Riley has an audible click when she walks.  It is not her harness, as you can hear it when she is not in the harness.  Nor is it toenails, for you can hear it even when she walks on carpet.  We are mystified.

We have had her to three different vets with this issue.  The rehab doctor thought that it was because her posture is poor, and she is wearing herself out just getting around.  He recommended massages, which she likes quite well.  Riley’s regular vet thought that it might have a neurological basis, but we elected to wait to follow up until the oncologist had seen her.  The oncologist thought that a trying gabapentin might be useful, so that is next up.

Is there a possibility that what she is experiencing is a long-term effect from the chemo?  Somebody suggested that to me, but I hadn’t heard anything about it.  We are looking into acupuncture, so that might be another thing to try.  While we are not totally opposed to taking her to a neurologist, we’re not sure what that might accomplish.  The ultrasound didn’t show anything obvious, but it just may be because an MRI is a better tool for finding possible growths on the spine.  Speaking of MRIs, our other pointer had one last month, and it disclosed that he has a brain tumor.  He has been treated (it was in an inoperable part of the brain) with stereotactic radiation, and we are in the wait and see mode.  Lots of vet visits around here lately.


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8 Comments so far ↓

  • midnighter94

    Cassie had some knuckling with her back feet. It was related to arthritis in her back & some bulging discs in her back. We did get her a Toe-Up boot from Ortho Pets. It did help to bring her toes up some, but can’t be worn on a full-time basis. It may be helpful for Riley.
    Sorry about the diagnosis for your other dog, too. We understand …
    Donna

  • paws120

    That’s a lot to deal with! Many times their “knuckling” is neurological, that’s probably why your very brought it is up first. I’m not a vet, but I would like to just throw a similar but different idea by you. I might be totally wrong too! This may be the leg that is taking much of the weight, balance, etc due to the amp. I wonder if you could find some good PT, massage, range of motion that you could do with this leg. Heat and cool compresses at the end of the day. I’m sure others will hop in with suggestions, some in here have done laser therapy to help and even chiropractors that can pop them back into alignment. I know that they can get more chances of arthritis in the limbs that make up for the amp. I have a kitty amputee but even in him I see other parts making up for the lost limb to balance him.
    I hope the tumor treatment worked and I hope things start to turn around quickly for you. You’re in a tough spot right now, lots of stress. I hope you can find relief soon.
    Jackie and Huckleberry ❤️

    • jogswithdogs

      Thank you. Riley has had a fair amount of physical therapy, which we have continued (somewhat) at home. We took her back to the rehab vet when she started exhibiting these symptoms.

  • krun15

    My experience with paw knuckling (proprioception deficit) was with my quad-pug Tani. She had a congenital brain injury which caused epilepsy and some knuckling in her legs- mostly with her back feet. Obviously with 4 legs it was not as much of an issue for her until she got older and had other mobility challenges.
    I think the acupuncture is a good option- you might also look into chiropractic. Tani had regular adjustments for a time and it really helped her.
    I also tried some splints to keep her feet from turning under but she also tended to drag her feet so the splints did not work for her. I would recommend you work with a rehab vet before trying something like that though.
    One thing I did with Tani over the years was to massage and flex her affected feet. The theory is that it helps the brain make the correct connection to the feet. I don’t know if it helped but it didn’t hurt.
    I have not heard of chemo causing this issue. Tripug Maggie had a different type of chemo for her mast cell cancer and never developed knuckling.

    Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

  • jerry

    Hmmm. You didn’t mention if a board-certified orthopedic doc has looked at her yet. From my conversations with ortho vets, the carpal joint is a common place for tissue breakdown on Tripawds — front leggers more than rear, but still, I think it’s worth having one look at her.

    Congrats on the 9 month ampuversary though, that’s amazing!

    And wow a mixed bag with your other pup being diagnosed, I’m reallly sorry. You guys have been dealing with so much! Your vet should probably name a wing of their hospital after you 😉 I send all my best to your other pooch too for a cancer-free life ahead.

    • jogswithdogs

      On her last visit, Riley was seen by a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, as well as her oncologist. I didn’t ask about the carpal joint, but thank you for mentioning it. The fact that the knuckling is only intermittent is puzzling. We have her scheduled for acupuncture next week with a holistic vet, so will be interested in her take on Riley’s condition. Will also run the carpal joint thing by her. We will be interested to hear her recommendations for nutrition, etc. Riley is on so.many.supplements. to help her combat this condition.

      All in all, Riley is nearly a year past her initial surgery, so we consider every day a gift at this point. We just want to make her as mobile as possible, given her limitations. It is fun to see how cheerful she is – basically, she is just a way less mobile version of our beloved Riley. But, at thirteen years old, we would expect her to be slowing anyway.

      Yes, I believe that we may have funded an entire wing of our oncology clinic. Two dogs at once is quite a financial toll! mercifully, the other two are both very healthy. At present, our lives are a never-ending round of vet visits and doggie maintenance!

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