Hip dysplasia? Patellar luxation? Or is this just how my MinPin moves?

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Barked: Tue May 15, '12 7:22pm PST 
Hi, thanks for reading!

I have a rambunctious 7 month old Miniature Pinscher named Ember. I have a concern that quite honestly has been present for about three months now.

I understand that MinPin's have a "hackney gait' but I'm beginning to think that my Ember may have something very wrong with her hind legs. At both vet visits for her puppy shots, as well as when she was spayed, the two different veterinarians expressed no real concern over her gait.

Here is what I am noticing:

1) Her rear legs appear longer than her front.
2) Her rear legs seems to hesitate/"stutter" when standing in one place. It's as if she can't find a comfortable position and lifts each leg up one at a time, alternatively. Kind of like an in place tip-toe.
3) When she runs, she hops like a rabbit with her rear legs and they very frequently slip out from underneath her and she has a total wipeout.
4) When Ember lays down, her rear legs splay out to her sides, straight. She never sits, always lays down.
5) This is my biggest concern that has started to become a little exaggerated... When Ember is laying down and tries to get up quickly, she can't pull in her hind legs and use them to push herself up. She often just gets stuck and I have to pick her up and put her on her four legs in a standing position. This only happens if she is on surface where she can't get good traction.
6) I just realized this could be connected... she will not stand still while pooping.

This all has been passed off as a puppy thing by friends and even the veterinarians, but now that she is 7 months old and it seems to be not improving (maybe even getting justworse), I am concerned. Does this require a vet visit, or is my baby girl a clumsy little thing?

I really appreciate you taking time in reading this, and thanks in advance for any thoughts!

RATS, give me- RATS!
Barked: Tue May 15, '12 7:46pm PST 
I would take her to a orthopedic specialist for an evaluation. Her hindend just does not sound normal. Good luck.

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Barked: Wed May 16, '12 8:03pm PST 

Pepper has had an LP fixed on one leg and then tore her ACL. She is recovering from TPLO surgery now.

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dog-sitter in- charge.
Barked: Thu May 17, '12 9:21am PST 
Has she had x-rays to rule on leggs-calves-parthes (can affect minpins genetically)?

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Barked: Thu May 17, '12 10:52am PST 
Ditto on the need for an ortho specialist. If you have a veterinary university near you, that's an excellent place to ask for referrals...they may even have one on staff. Good luck.

(you might want to look into purchasing health insurance for your pup. It will pay for itself with just one ortho surgery)
Sweeney- (Todd)

The demon- groomer of Fleet- Street
Barked: Thu May 17, '12 11:39am PST 
Some of her symptoms are very similar to Sweeney's (he actually spins in circles when he poops, as though he can't hold the position too long). He has Patellar luxation. I'm not sure how common that is in Miniature Pinschers, though. When you pick her up, do you ever feel her back knees kind of "click" out of place? (That was the first sign I had that something was wrong with Sweeney's back legs - I had lifted him up in PetSmart and felt something "click"; I can often hear it, too) I'm not sure if it's hip dysplasia or luxating patellars, but I'd definitely say her symptoms warrant an x-ray. Good luck and I hope it's nothing too serious. hug

Edited by author Thu May 17, '12 11:40am PST


Barked: Thu May 17, '12 6:26pm PST 
I just had my 2 year old Min Pin to the vet on May 15th. She went in for a teeth cleaning. I decided I wanted her to have a chest x-ray before going under. Since she is small, the x-ray covered all the way to the hip bones, which revealed that she has hip dysplasia.

She is a rescue, so we didn't have her as a baby, but I did notice that way she stood and walked might indicate a hip problem from the moment we got her. She is in no pain at all at this point. We always described her run as a bunny hop too!

Since hip dysplasia is not common in Min Pins, I wondered if the vet is wrong and she actually has Leggs Perthes disease. I asked him if it were possible she had that instead, and he said no, but I'm going to get a second opinion.

So, I'm guessing that your dog may have that 'disease' or hip dysplasia as well. An x-ray will determine is there is anything going on with the hips or not; therefore, I highly recommend you get one.

Design jewelry,- not dogs!
Barked: Fri May 18, '12 5:21pm PST 
Normally, LCPD is very, very different on xray and quite easy to diagnose with an xray. It also tend to occur in dogs under a year of age and if not treated, the hip bone will fracture and it will be obvious something is very, very wrong.
Harvey was diagnosed with LCPD and had a FHO at 7 months. In his case he was in obvious pain which did not get better with the initial treatment of NSAIDS and pain meds when we thought he had just suffered a muscle pull. Within a few weeks he absolutely refused to put the leg down at all, xrays were done and it was obvious even to my non-professional eyes. The entire femur head appeared as though it had been chewed with pieces missing.
I would strongly suspect luxating patellas. We have a number of toy breeds we groom with really bad knees and when they are bad enough, you no longer will hear the popping sound because the patella is almost always out of the groove rather than popping in and out.

Member Since
Barked: Wed Jun 6, '12 9:49am PST 
I know this is incredibly delayed but I just wanted to thank you all for your replies.

Turns out that Ember has cerebellar hypoplasia, or cerebellar abiotrophy because the latter syndrome is when it appears to have gotten worse over time... which, it seems to have. If this is the case, Ember is going to lead a shorter, difficult life likely ended by euthanasia. I'm not sure how to handle this if this is the case.

Hoping & praying it's just cerebellar hypoplasia... as she can leave a normal, albeit unbalanced, life with this condition.

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Wed Jun 6, '12 10:41am PST 

So sorry your pup is going through this. Good to know for certain what is going on though and I sure hope it is the lesser of the two.

Do get in contact with the breeder, they need to know and you may be able to get some assistance from them especially if there is a lemon pup law in your state.
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