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Why Can’t my Dog Run Far?

Lately when I take my three-year-old dog Riley for a bike ride, he is limping on one of his front legs the next day. We...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Jul 25th 2008


Lately when I take my three-year-old dog Riley for a
bike ride, he is limping on one of his front legs
the next day. We took him to the vet and she gave
him some pain medicine.

He has nothing stuck in his paws and the vet said it was
in one of the muscles in his ‘arm’. He has long
legs that are supposed to run ‘ground
breaking speeds’,but he is very slow and lags
behind when I ride my bike with him. Our other
little dog will run by my bike all day long and
she won’t limp at all.

When Riley appears to not be limping anymore,I’ll
take him for a ride and again,he will be limping
the next day. I tried waiting a couple of weeks to
ride him and he still limped when I took him
for a ride again. Should I just not take him for
bike rides and do walks instead?

What’s wrong and what can I do?

Thanks!

Lydia
North East Texas

Your situation sounds familiar to that of the three-year-old lab whose mother wrote to me on June 30. The symptoms are slightly different. However, the problem seems to be essentially the same: you have a young dog who is suffering from chronic pain after exercise.

I decided to answer your question because I strongly feel that you should not simply stop taking Riley for bike rides. I suspect that Riley has a problem, such as elbow dysplasia, panosteitis, Osteochondritis Dissecans or early-onset arthritis that is interfering with his ability to run.

Although the syndromes I have listed may sound intimidating, many of them are treatable. I would hate for Riley’s lifestyle to be curtailed permanently if it is not necessary.

I recommend that you go back to the vet. Consider taking Riley for a bike ride before the visit (but talk to your vet about this first), so that he will be limping. This may make it easier for the vet to identify the joint, bone, or muscle that is causing the problem. The next step will be to take an X-ray of the problem area.

If you are able to determine exactly what is causing the problem, you may be able to fix it. And then you and Riley could enjoy the lifestyle together that you would like.

A note about the image: yes, it is a human humerus, and I realize that I have used human images two days in a row. But it is remarkably difficult to find non-copyrighted images of canine body parts!