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Why Is My Dog Not Using His Back Leg? Reasons

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on March 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

Summer portrait of happy Australian Cattle Dog on dandelions meadow.

Why Is My Dog Not Using His Back Leg? Reasons

I have a 9 year old Akita/Australian Cattle Dog who has been holding her back leg up for about a month now. I have looked in her paws to make sure there’s nothing in them i.e. sticker, cut, etc. She does not act like she is in pain and still wants to play ball but I won’t because I don’t want to make it worse. When she goes outside I see her every now and then put it down but not for
very long.

I can’t afford to take her to vet because I know they’ll want to xray it and I just don’t have the money. It pains me to see her walking like that because I have always prided myself on making sure my animals get the best possible care but my husband did not work for 3 months and it put us behind in our bills.

I’ve tried researching it on the web but you get so many different diagnosis. Is there anything you think it might be? I’ve been wanting to maybe give her some kind of pills that you can get from a pet store for arthritis or joints but I haven’t as of yet.

Please help…..

Corinth, TX

I am sorry to hear about your dog’s troubles and your family’s financial troubles.

Based upon your description I am suspicious that your dog has injured or torn her cruciate ligament. Cruciate ligaments help stabilize the knees (in the rear legs). Dogs with torn cruciate ligaments typically do not put any weight on the affected leg.

The good news is that dogs with damaged cruciate ligaments generally do not show signs of pain as long as they don’t use the injured leg. And, dogs with mildly injured ligaments often recover with rest (so you definitely are doing the right thing by keeping your dog quiet).

Sadly, there also is bad news. Dogs with fully torn cruciate ligaments usually do not regain use of their legs without surgery. Several types of cruciate repair surgeries are available. They generally range in price from $400 (low cost veterinarian in a rural area) to $5000 (advanced technique performed by a specialist in surgery in a big city). More bad news: cruciate ligament injuries usually lead to painful arthritis later in life.

Finally, I should emphasize that without examining your dog I cannot say for sure that her cruciate ligament is injured. Several other problems can cause the symptoms you describe. I recommend that you visit a vet. Even if you can’t afford X-rays or surgery, the vet should be able to give you insight into the nature of the problem. He also may have some tips on low-cost management of the issue.

For more information, visit the following links:

Featured Image Credit: Iryna Dobrovynska, Shutterstock


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