Jump to content
BC Boards
k9diabetes

Hyperextension front feet

Recommended Posts

We have a two-year-old smooth-coated border collie, on the large side at a trim 52 pounds, who has hyperextension particularly of his front feet.

 

He is a rescue who got little and possibly no exercise up to about 9 months of age, when he went into rescue. We adopted him October 2008. Twice in the first few months, one of his front legs (one time each leg) folded under him abruptly. So we had very extensive x-rays of all of his leg bones and joints, which all looked really good. No dysplasia or other obvious problems. The vet feels that the ligament that runs along the back of the leg from the paw up to the carpals does not hold the foot in proper position. I took some video recently and the following still shots show the extension of his feet.

 

jackfoot01.jpg

 

jackfoot02.jpg

 

In the past year, his legs have not folded under him but he has limited stamina for exercise. Twenty minutes of moderate loping and he is tired and ready to quit. He does not limp afterward but is not interested in any more exercise than that, even after a year of daily walks or trips to dog parks that have built up his physical condition.

 

Anyone experience this with their dog?

 

We are not sure if this is an injury or just the way he is built. The vet feels the main consequence would be arthritis from the bones that should not have contact rubbing together.

 

We are interested in anything we can / should do or not do as a result.

 

Natalie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the boards Natalie, sorry it has to be under such circumstances.

 

I have seen 2 other dogs that have front end issues like your boy. One can be used moderately if he wears his shin boots, the other is out of commission for just about everything. They make the shin boots for dogs just like the ones for horses. Have you looked into a holistic vet?

 

I've nothing to help you just wish you the best of luck and hope he can improve!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our Shoshone has collapsed pasterns. Her front paws are also visibly malformed, perhaps from the arthritis, and the arthritis is perhaps from several almost microscopic fractures. The 3 different vets who've looked at her paws all said, 'perhaps this, perhaps that.'

 

Shonie was severely malnourished when she came into rescue, and had spent at least a year confined 23/7 to a 4x10 pen, which she shared with another dog. Her stamina was never really an issue, as we never had her on sheep, nor did we pursue any kind of sports work with her.

 

Wendy, we had her thyroid levels looked at by Jean Dodds, mostly because of her aggressiveness towards Sam. Dr. Dodds said she was normal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the replies! :rolleyes: We did do a blood panel as well and that all came out normal. His coat is glossy and very healthy looking.

 

Like Shoshone, he was confined for many hours a day as a puppy. I don't know when they got him but I'm guessing by two months and my understanding is that he was kept in a kitchen, no idea how big, for 12-13 hours a day at some point and had basically no muscle tone or muscle development when he was rescued at nine months. The other odd thing is that he is quite large for a border collie. Taller, somewhat heavier boned and a... heavier or larger head... not sure how best to describe it. He's just not as delicate especially in the feet and head as many other border collies I have seen, including smooth coated ones. The rescue thought he might be a mix actually, because of his size, but having seen more of his breed and a DNA test that revealed no other influences and I think he's just a big border collie.

 

He is an urban dog so is not working. So in that sense his lack of stamina is not a problem for us. In fact, it's probably fortunate for us - allows us to keep up with him!

 

The shin boots sound interesting. Perhaps they would keep him from rubbing those bones together.

 

So it sounds like this may just be the way he is built, either originally or as a result of lack of exercise when he was younger. Rather than an injury.

 

In addition to pursuing the why, I am interested in whether moderate exercise could be damaging to his joints so maybe we should stay with lower impact exercise and any therapy that might help him.

 

I appreciate any input!

 

Natalie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Natalie - Welcome! Thank you for adopting a dog that needed a loving and caring home.

 

I have not much to add except that our Megan came from a similar situation. At nine months, when we adopted her, she had spent most of her days and nights crated, her front and hind legs were "odd" (toes splayed, legs sloping, looking like she was rocking back on her feet - or in the pose of a dog standing in a too-short crate), she was built like a fat sausage, and her lower tail was hairless (she appears to have spent much time pulling out her own tail and possibly wagging it in the crate so much that the hair was worn/broken off).

 

Fortunately, with time and lots of exercise, she turned into a trim little bitch but will always have poor front feet/pasterns. Is that due to genetics or her situation as a youngster? We don't know, but we do know she's very happy to be with us, and I am sure your handsome dog (I seem to have missed his name) will repay your kindness with a liifetime of devotion - emotional stamina whether or not he has physical stamina.

 

Very best wishes!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for the replies! :rolleyes: We did do a blood panel as well and that all came out normal. His coat is glossy and very healthy looking.

 

Like Shoshone, he was confined for many hours a day as a puppy. I don't know when they got him but I'm guessing by two months and my understanding is that he was kept in a kitchen, no idea how big, for 12-13 hours a day at some point and had basically no muscle tone or muscle development when he was rescued at nine months. The other odd thing is that he is quite large for a border collie. Taller, somewhat heavier boned and a... heavier or larger head... not sure how best to describe it. He's just not as delicate especially in the feet and head as many other border collies I have seen, including smooth coated ones. The rescue thought he might be a mix actually, because of his size, but having seen more of his breed and a DNA test that revealed no other influences and I think he's just a big border collie.

 

He is an urban dog so is not working. So in that sense his lack of stamina is not a problem for us. In fact, it's probably fortunate for us - allows us to keep up with him!

 

The shin boots sound interesting. Perhaps they would keep him from rubbing those bones together.

 

So it sounds like this may just be the way he is built, either originally or as a result of lack of exercise when he was younger. Rather than an injury.

 

In addition to pursuing the why, I am interested in whether moderate exercise could be damaging to his joints so maybe we should stay with lower impact exercise and any therapy that might help him.

 

 

Not sure if you have a problem or not. From the pictures I don't see anything different from most dogs while running. Dogs DO use the dew claw when running and turning. CHris Zink (sp?) has shown this in her work with canine sports medicine. There could be problems but the type of extension you show when running is not abnormal Look at photos of dogs running and you will see the same extension.

I appreciate any input!

 

Natalie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our boy's name is Jack. I do think he's a much happier dog now that he's with people who actually want him... and cater to his every need!

 

He has some fear issues so does not go to dog parks anymore but I'm home with him all day and make sure he gets out for car rides and loping on-lead play at the park in winter and splashing retrievals in the river on-lead in summer. And sometimes for plain walks. We were shocked that he wears out so quickly and that contributed to our concerns about the pasterns.

 

The vet has examined his feet in response to the crumpling episodes last year and does feel that there is hyperextension in the front paws.

 

I was laughing because the vet said Jack would probably not do his forceful pounce on his squeaky toys if his legs hurt but I'm pretty sure he's OCD enough to do it even if it is uncomfortable!

 

He's a lot of fun and is blossoming as he gets more secure. So I just want to make sure we take proper care of him and do anything that would help him be comfortable playing.

 

Natalie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The vet has examined his feet in response to the crumpling episodes last year and does feel that there is hyperextension in the front paws.

 

I was laughing because the vet said Jack would probably not do his forceful pounce on his squeaky toys if his legs hurt but I'm pretty sure he's OCD enough to do it even if it is uncomfortable!

 

He's a lot of fun and is blossoming as he gets more secure. So I just want to make sure we take proper care of him and do anything that would help him be comfortable playing.

 

Natalie

 

We took Shonie to our dog park, and she'd lay down frequently. I wish I'd not let her run as much as I did. A couple times I had her at agility lessons w/Buzz, and when it was her turn, she'd go over a very low jump a couple times, then stop and look at me. She did seem to have a lower limit for that activity then the other dogs.

 

However, she loved flyball. Even though I never let go over the jumps, or hit the box, she sat and watched at practice. One day, she slipped out of my grasp when practice was over and we were putting the equipment and dogs away. There were still 3 jumps and one box left out. She headed for the top of the jumps, went over all three, hit the box, grabbed the ball, turned and went over the jumps in the other direction, then headed for me to give me the ball. She's a scary smart girl.

 

She's close to 14 now, and we had to stop playing fetch with her a while ago, but she's still got the intensity. If Jack were my dog, I'd be limiting his pouncing and make sure he only did it on a soft surface, like grass or carpet, not pavement or wood flooring. My vet is a good generalist, but doesn't quite get the intensity of border collies.

 

Good luck with your boy, and thanks for taking him in.

 

Ruth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One day, she slipped out of my grasp when practice was over and we were putting the equipment and dogs away. There were still 3 jumps and one box left out. She headed for the top of the jumps, went over all three, hit the box, grabbed the ball, turned and went over the jumps in the other direction, then headed for me to give me the ball. She's a scary smart girl.

Ruth

 

What a great story! I guess she had been following along and knew exactly what to do! :rolleyes:

 

I'm glad she self-limited her activity at the dog park. Jack did too and I think we just need to recognize that he isn't up for more than that. When we first got him, we read so much about the need for exercise so it was a little confusing that he seemed to be done in such a short time. He's pretty happy if I include a car ride for mental stimulation.

 

I don't necessarily think Jack is genius level border collie, which is probably a good thing or he would run even more circles around us than he does now. He's plenty smart but also not really interested in doing tricks or routines and is anxious about many things. When we first got him, he would spin and bite his tail and he didn't know how to ask to go out to potty. Now the only time he wants to occasionally spin is if he thinks I'm too slow delivering his dinner. And he's learned to let us know when he needs to go out for his business.

 

About the only thing his first family did right for him was to give him up before he became totally neurotic.

 

He's got some fear of men, especially if they have something small in their hands like keys or a cell phone. So we wonder if he might have had something like that thrown at him (my understanding is a wife got him and then the couple split up and she left Jack with the husband, who left him locked in the kitchen all day).

 

We lost a 14.5 year old dog a few months before adopting Jack... please give Shonie a hug or whatever else she might like from me! Senior dogs are special.

 

Natalie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finally got around to some internet research once I figured out the right terms to use.

 

There is some anecdotal information that nutritional changes can improve weak pasterns. Specifically, reducing the amount of protein and calcium in the diet. Which seems really counterintuitive to me. But Jack's meals have been fairly high in protein and have included low fat cottage cheese so it's easy enough to reduce the protein levels some and eliminate the cottage cheese and see if that helps.

 

The only consensus seems to be that no one really knows if it's genetic or related to malnutrition/flooring/restriction of movement - maybe all of those. It seems to be a somewhat common problem in German shepherds so there's pretty strong evidence for at least partly a genetic predisposition.

 

This guy's article is colorful... but also does a pretty good job of summing up what I could find about the subject in other places: carpal subluxation and weak pasterns

 

I think providing some support when Jack exercises would also be worth trying... though I retain doubts about his tolerance for even a wrap.

 

His problems are much less pronounced than the images in various articles. It is only when he runs that there is a significant drop. And there is somewhat of a paw flop to his gait when he runs.

 

I will be following up with the vet about an orthopedic consult. There seem to be several resources available to us.

 

Thanks for all the input! :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have severely malnutritioned Border collie puppies at Friends of Pep Right now. They were turned in as a full litter that didnt sell from a mill in Ky. The first 3 are normal size and althought they were thin suffered little in the way of malnutrition issues.

 

The next 4 have diminished cartlidge and no dental enamel from the malnutrition. The smallest female has similar walking stance she seems to be improving over time but, it lent her to have the nick name floppy. They are all nearing 6 months or more but, are the size of shelties in a purebred look. We've been told they will catch up slowly and they are very sweet but, most people are afraid of their future issues.

 

This is one of the girls we still Have I think she was returned after they thought about her malnutrition issues and if they could deal with problems if needed down the road

post-5554-1262141637_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all – didn't realise I already registered on this forum yonkers ago but never posted. Found this thread looking for some info having had some concerns about my 2yr old whose front paws seem to be turning inwards and in the nicest way I'm so glad I found this thread and read almost identical stories from you guys.

I bought a 9-month old BC “Fleet” as a non-worker. He has all the bells and whistles on paper but was not in the least bit interested in sheep and sadly that meant from being 8-weeks until he came with us at 9-months, he spent the vast majority of his time confined to his small outside kennel with very little exercise. Farm is an enormous place which was home to nearly 2000 sheep and 10 dogs so Fleet got little exercise, had developed some compulsive circling in his kennel just bouncing off with his back legs and only using his front to touch and push off the mesh at the front.

From the day we brought him home it was obvious he had almost no strength in his front legs. Just a slight knock, nudge or gentle push from our other BC during play would make his front legs buckle underneath him and he'd wipe out smashing his face on the floor like a newborn giraffe poor lad.

Gentle walks little and often with some bouncing around playing football in the fields and swimming at the river built up the lost muscle tone and he was much improved within a few months or so but over this last six months maybe, I've noticed his front paws / legs seemed to be pointing inwards but it's never appeared to cause him any problems until recently.

Our other BC “Puddi” (4yr old bitch) is very fit and flat out all the time but these last few weeks Fleet has been tapping out a lot sooner when they play and can't manage more than a couple of sprint bursts before he flops and has enough / decides to stalk and herd and block her rather than chase which is when I noticed the paws turning inwards more so on the left left than the right. Sometimes it looks as though it's just the paw (“wrist” bit as I'd call it) and other times it seems to turn in at the shoulder and it's been worrying me to no end.

Doesn't seem to be causing any physical pain or obvious discomfort but I've booked an appointment for him to have a full MOT at the vets this Thursday just to be sure.

Really interested to find this thread and read about other youngsters whose circumstances were eerily similar.

Fingers crossed it's nothing major / not going to be anything painful for him but I wanted to post here and resurrect this one just to see how your dogs are now doing.

Photos of Fleet's kennel and his super long front gangly legs sprawled out for miles in front of him.

Fleet kennel.jpg

20170904_192315.jpg

Dogs_wanna_go_out.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just found a few other pics of his "wrist" which was always bent underneath him for several months even at rest (forgive my total unbelievable level of ignorance as to its proper name!) and one of his front left leg when it just started to turn inwards.   *Big lad but not just a tub of lard by the way he's built like a tank - not one of the harnesses we took with us to collect him and fasten him into the car fit his chest he's like He-Man :D

 

Fleet puddi.jpg

Flups and Fleet not impressed.jpg

Fleet bandana.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome back to the Boards.

You're entirely correct that the proper term is wrist. Their leg joints correspond to our own and are called the same thing. In the rear it would be an ankle.

Some dogs do tend to fold a foot in at the wrist like that when they're resting. That in itself is no couse for concern.

It saddens and angers me no end that anyone would neglect a pup like that. No reason the previous owner shouldn't have sold or given him away long ago rather than let him get to this state.

Well done, you that you're taking good care of him and will have him checked out. Best wishes that you'll be able to undo the damage done to him.

Lovely boy, btw, as is your girl too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome back! Lovely dogs! 

I can't really contribute any sort of advice but hope to hear what your vet has to say. Sometimes a consult with an orthopedic vet can be called for in a case where the "general practice" vet wants a more expert opinion. I don't know if that will be needed or is even an option for you. 

We have a somewhat similar thing here - our Megan, who came to us at nine months of age, had been crated much of her young life. She was overweight, lacked muscle tone, had some compulsive behaviors (like pulling all the hair out of her tail), and looked like a hairy sausage with legs. And her front feet/legs were very "easty-westy" or pointing outward rather than inward. We attribute at least some of that to growing without proper exercise and muscle development. They have never been as strong as well-built legs but I have to say that at 16 years of age this month, she is still very mobile, putting in anywhere from two to four miles of walks a day (she and my other very senior dog have been slowing down during this hot summer, with usually just a one mile walk each morning and evening, but sometimes a longer walk in the morning as well as the evening mile, and sometimes even another 4/10 of a mile just before bedtime). 

Neglect is inexcusable, and he's fortunate to be in your care now. Hopefully, exercise and nutrition plus good vet care will help him to lead a good and sound, active life. The vet may possibly find there is something else leading to his diminished stamina, or could it have something to do with hot summer weather? Or, rather than diminished stamina, is he developing instincts that are resulting in him playing differently, with less running and more eyeing? 

Although having good angles, etc., on the skeleton is helpful and tends toward better soundness, many "imperfect" animals lead very normal, very active lives. Here's hoping that your Fleet gets a good report from the vet, and goes on to do well for a long time to come! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi and thank you so much for the replies and lovely welcome!

I know many dogs - working dogs in particular can prefer to live outside and there's something of a world apart from them and the average domestic spoiled family pet if you will but I did break my heart when we first met Fleet.  Second we drove into the yard I spotted him amongst a row of about ten dogs barking and snarling and bouncing off the front of the kennels cos he was the only one not barking at all just spinning in tight little circles.  I help a rescue that spent months and months working with a beautiful border collie pencilled in for PTS because she'd been kept shut inside and left with nothing other to do than spin and spin and spin - two vets and another independent specialist thought she was beyond help.  Took an incredible amount of time, effort and manpower and she had to be taught how to walk in a straight line :(  Did have her happy ending and owners were prosecuted but there's absolutely no excuse for neglect - not when it's so easy to pick up a phone, say you're not coping or can't keep a dog and literally have someone come to our house and take it.

Farmer is a good chap to be honest but I think he did feel guilty and realised he should have given Fleet up or sold him sooner than he did but this was the second youngster he'd paid a small fortune for that turned out to be a non-worker.  

He's the son / grandson of four time and current world champions (means nothing to me I hadn't  clue who he was on about!!) and a lot was expected of the poor lad but it was us he'd be free to just relax, be a dog and not have any pressure on from anyone.  Adapted brilliantly too within a matter of days he was settled in, part of the family, house trained and off-lead all the time on walks.  Totally different dog to our other BC's mind you he just prefers to chill and toddle and sniff and pee he's more like my old Springer which is why he was perfect :D 

Had never once stepped foot inside a house or been in a car, had never slept on a bed or blanket and not even seen toys until we picked him up and brought him home. Interestingly and quite amusingly, about three or four months after we got him I caught Fleet creeping after some sheep in the field next to where I keep my horses.  He'd gained confidence and was getting bolder and braver by the day and when I was fixing the fence I spotted him ever so slowly creeping behind a few sheep and when they picked up a trot so did he and it just gave him that little shot of confidence I think.

Told the farmer the same day and he laughed and said "Well.. goes to show with a different calmer handler and not under pressure, enough time and patience can move mountains. Landed on his feet with your family though he deserves a nice life" 

Still a troubled little soul but the only real thing I expect will be with him for good is an unbelievable, almost debilitating fear of the sound of a squeaky toy which it turns out is because of rats that tormented him and would get in through the front of his kennel and steal his food / have a go at him.  Little snout and face is full of deep scars and bald spots from where he was bitten but on the plus side, I've been carefully and very gradually helping desensitise him to the sound and he's gone from leaping and clawing at the back wall in full primal fear when he first head it to now just going "Ohh.. I don't like that noise.  If I come touch that squeaky duck with my nose you'll give me a treat cos that's what happens but I'm going straight after OK?  OK then..." (nose - treat - off!)

I probably jumped too far ahead of myself with the worry and thoughts of Fleet potentially having something horrible.    Wouldn't care if we ended up a three legged, deaf and one eyed wonky dog anyway - as long as they're here, healthy / not ever in pain or discomfort and are happy that will do just fine for me :D 

My old Collies / crosses were rescued from a scrap yard lived 18yrs with us and the third for 16yrs.  One was completely blind and another had only three legs after being hit by a car as a puppy.  Lived perfectly happy productive lives all of them and three-legged "Ticky" worked right up until the last few months of his life keeping those pesky chickens in line because that was a speed better suited to him.

It's just always purebred fully tippy-top registered dogs we lost before their time.   

I will let you know how he gets on and what the vets says on Thursday though thanks again! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, "...landed on his feet with your family, though, he deserves a nice life..." sums it up. 

I'm not excusing the neglect but, as a farmer for several decades along with being a mother of four, I know how easy it is to let some things slide when other things are apparently more pressing. At least the farmer seemed to have a decent heart and is glad for Fleet to have gotten in what seems to be a very good home with you. 

Very best wishes!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He is a good bloke really we still keep in touch and I do think he felt guilty for having not let Fleet go sooner but he was the second puppy he'd bought in as many years that turned out to be a non-worker so I think he probably hoped if he tried that bit harder or longer something might show itself but trust me - I'm neither a farmer, breeder or expert in the world of sheepdogs but Fleet could not be any further from sheepdog if you actually made him up.  He's like that big flying friendly dog from Never-ending Story just bouncing happily around chasing butterflies and playing with daisies :P

Farmer's wife is a good egg too and did whisper quietly that Fleet was definitely a lady's dog and I was unlikely to have much problem.  He wouldn't walk on the lead for the farmer just pulled and fought and was a real toe-rag which seems weird now looking back because he's a doddle and an absolute pleasure to go wandering with anywhere and anytime just tootles happily and never runs off or even gets out of sight he's great.   His wife said to me "Not just saying it to try and make you buy him but I never even take a lead just tap my leg, ask him to walk with me and he's perfect.  Just does not like (husband) shouting and bawling"

Again and to his credit, he did acknowledge that Fleet's nature is such he would always do better with a calmer, gentler handler really which is why he turned the agility people down and let us take him. 

Anyway thanks again and I will definitely let you know how we get on! 

?ui=2&ik=796de1049a&view=fimg&th=164f01866dc99a41&attid=0.6&disp=emb&realattid=ii_jk9mblhj0_164f017943859b25&attbid=ANGjdJ-1LoDehptqA1kMnSFF3zoA9HwY_rdv0xzg5lp6yheooRJfvl_EnS2rJJKABKgoBeqAz9cB7KvJZ2pxVYrh577vAVH-qlAE3vrg98fw6etz-vGJs_ubBbm_T-4&sz=w710-h472&ats=1534286507516&rm=164f01866dc99a41&zw&atsh=1

?ui=2&ik=796de1049a&view=fimg&th=164f01866dc99a41&attid=0.3&disp=emb&realattid=ii_jk9mbli91_164f017943859b25&attbid=ANGjdJ-Q5mjnBmizQmZ2bX03brtLVR51zcYOJJdRGyNji-wlajN4djbQ_jbmd-vJJlfXBVVKzzEWj3YtX6BWLF98F5u_CcM8rXoDGWi0dWNeNFOoIn4IEZkH7o-waRE&sz=w574-h1020&ats=1534286507516&rm=164f01866dc99a41&zw&atsh=1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like he's a sensitive dog who was rather harshly handled and perhaps pushed too hard, too fast. It's not terribly uncommon for a working dog not to turn on till close to a year old, though many farmers may not feel they have time to wait that long.

He's definitely better of with you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love this story.  Thanks for giving Fleet the home and care he deserves, and please keep us updated on your journey with him.

 

Best wishes!

Amy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×