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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mr. Crooked Leg

I realized yesterday while on my walk with Waldo that I never answered Fiona's question on why his leg is crooked. I thought I should post about it since it is a question we get all the time.

Basset hounds, as you can see from this stock photo on the left, tend to have "crooked" legs. In fact, they are bred to look this way even though the end result is that they have ankle and other leg joint problems as they age. It doesn't help that they also like to eat and tend to get fat, also putting more stress on their joints.

Waldo's left leg is more crooked than most, and his right leg is straighter than most. When side-by-side, it makes the left leg look even worse. People often ask us if he has broken his leg or sustained some kind of injury. No, as far as we know, he hasn't.

I asked our new vet this question and she said that maybe there was some damage to his left leg growth plate when he was young, or maybe he was born that way. It's hard to tell by a visual examination.

Judging by how quickly he runs and how high he can jump, the leg doesn't seem to bother him. We have noticed that when he sits for long periods (more than a minute), his leg will shake and he will shift weight to/from it. He doesn't seem to be in pain when he does this, more so that he feels unstable.

Dr. Karen says that what we are doing - keeping him slim and giving him joint supplements - is the right thing for now. He may have issues with the leg as he ages, but only time will tell.

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