Cali’s has an ongoing issue with her back legs slipping out from under her. I’ve seen some posts on the Facebook group (ick, I know) for her Morris Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study mentioning the same thing … but not always with the same results. So I decided to share Cali’s story in hopes that it might help another dog.
She’s had an odd gait for a while, especially running. Her back legs seemed kind of floppy. One friend said it looked like her whole back end was going to just fly off of her body.
She never seemed to be in any pain, though, and loved to run, hike, and jump off the deck to chase tennis balls.
When I noticed that she was swinging her back legs out to the sides while walking, though, I decided to try to figure out what was happening. It was more noticeable on her right side, but both legs were arcing outward when she walked or ran — more noticeably when she was tired. She was also slipping a lot on our hardwood floors and sometimes on the sidewalk.
We went to her Morris study vet, who took some X-rays and decided that Cali had a partial ACL tear. She prescribed Adequan.
I did the Adequan injections for a while, but I did not think it was helping. And I did not think that Cali had a problem with her knee or ACL. She did not seem to be in any pain and still loved running and jumping.
I took her to see another vet in town, whom I have known for years and who is an excellent diagnostician. He examined Cali and watched her walk inside (slippery floor) and outside, and run. He agreed with me that her knees look fine and she did not seem to be in pain. He thought there might be a spinal or neurological issue, and he recommended consulting with a neurologist.
It turns out that veterinary neurologists are few and far between. None are in Montana, but there is one in Pullman, Washington, at the vet school hospital. With a months-long wait for an appointment.
We made an appointment, and waited. In the next couple of blog posts, I will continue Cali’s story.