Q: My sister just got a beautiful five-month-old Weimaraner puppy. The puppy plays very hard, and after a short time of playing and running her back begins to arch into a large hump, then her body appears to start going into slow motion. Then her back legs don’t work right. It seems that she loses all control of her hind legs. She does yip when this happens like she is hurting, and tries to bite at her back legs.
The vet said he has never heard of anything like this and that the puppy is too young for X-rays. We need to know if this is common, genetic, or if the puppy has been injured. She came from a local breeder who said she had never heard of this either. Can this be fixed? Will the puppy outgrow it? Please help.
A: Your sister’s Weimaraner’s problems sound very unusual. The veterinarian who said it was too soon to take X-Rays was correct, in regards to possible hip dysplasia, which cannot be diagnosed definitively until about two years of age. Ideally, you would videotape one of these episodes so your veterinarian could see what they look like.
However, there could be other bone-related problems that could be picked up on X-rays, including malformed vertebrae, a defect in the cartilage, or a developmental deformity in the comparative growth of the leg bones. I would recommend asking for X-rays and possibly a consultation with a veterinary surgeon. In addition, a radiologist could look at the X-rays in case there are subtle changes
Until that time, I would restrict your puppy’s activity enough so that she does not have these painful episodes. Avoid adding any vitamin or mineral supplements, because they can make any growth deformities worse.
Jon Geller, DVM