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3 legs
breed dogs
german shepherds
dog lover
gait
My Dogs Leg Jerks When She Walks
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I don’t think anything is scarier to a dog lover than to have a dog in pain, sick or injured. Though we have bred them to understand feelings, they still cannot tell us where or how they are hurting. So January 9th I received a very big scare when Zanna, my half pit bull/half shepherd-lab mix 4 year old, came down stairs just before bedtime, unable to use her back right leg. Since I live mostly downstairs I was afraid she wouldn't be able to get up and down the stairs with 3 legs and I didn't know what other problems may have occurred or might occur as a result of this. I was so scared that I would have to put her to sleep and I couldn't bear the thought.

Zanna does not have a hip “joint” on that side due to some previous injuries and with this latest injury to her body, her outlook was not very optimistic for regaining the use of her leg. However, a month later she had recovered a significant amount of functionality of her leg. It was suspected that Zanna might benefit from physical therapy.

About a mont later, when she was being examined by the veterinarian for physical therapy, I got another unpleasant surprise. It was noticed that she had developed a jerk or hitch in that back leg when she walked.

Although this problem is predominantly found in German Shepherds, they have found this problem in other shepherds breeds and larger active breed dogs like Doberman Pinschers and Borzoi as well. After 10 weeks of physical therapy, she regained most of the overall use of her leg but there was no improvement of the jerk in her walk. She was prescribed Rimadyl, for pain. I have to say at this point I was very concerned, because there wasn’t any hope given for a resolution of this problem. I worried that her ability to use that leg would continue to spawn other more serious problems.

This jerky gait has a number of causes, such as (in her situation) by collapse of the synovial capsule or the bursa sac in the knee joint. It can also be caused by fibrotic myopathy or a change in the muscle to fibrous tissue thus losing the muscle elasticity (ability to lengthen and contract) as well as other issues. It really does require a veterinarian’s diagnosis to know what the source of the problem is you are dealing with.

We talked about various options for treatment of the jerky gait and basically the only real alternative I recall was stem cell therapy, which is successful and long lasting, but rather expensive.

I started researching the alternatives for the original problem and found that herbs are very useful in treating dogs for many different problems. Sometimes our veterinarians do not have a good solution and can only offer palliative care (pain relief) if anything. Most are not trained in herbal remedies, though there are some holistic veterinarians. Fortunately I was able to use herbs to resolve her jerky gait.

Why what I did worked - well, in this case, the problem was that the joint capsule between the upper leg bone (femur) and the lower leg bone (tibia and fibula) had lost either some or all of the synovial fluid and therefore it's ability to protect the bones from hitting or rubbing on each other. Synovial fluid is sticky or adhesive and is resistant to flow, meaning that it doesn't move without force or pressure. It resists movement which provides for a smooth stride. What the herb formula (BFC) I used did, was to allow the body to heal the leak or rupture and replace the synovial fluid.

I am relieved and happy to see Zanna doing so well. We still have some mending to do. But for now Zanna can walk, run and jump (on her back legs) and play hard. I don’t have any idea how far the herbs will resolve the problems but at least I have hope where there really wasn’t any given.

I would recommend that if your dog is sick, hurt or injured, first see your veterinarian, then check to see if there

is an herbal remedy that will assist or heal your dog.


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