Abnormal Gait Average Cost

From 499 quotes ranging from $500 - 10,000

Average Cost

$2,500

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What is Abnormal Gait?

An abnormal gait can be due to a wide array of underlying problems or conditions. These can be as simple as a recent trauma or an infection in the spinal cord, to issues stemming from the central nervous system, musculoskeletal system and even cancers. Often the problem starts small and is not noticed, but progresses to the point of muscle and joint damage. Pain can cause a dog to adjust its gait to put less pressure on the trouble area to relieve the pain, but this can lead to further orthopedic problems.

A gait is the pattern of repetitive limb motions that a dog uses to walk, trot, run and gallop. When that gait begins to look abnormal, with the dog limping, staggering, favoring a side, and showing signs of weakness and difficulties in walking, it is often a sign of a more serious issue that cannot be seen. An abnormal gait should be a signal to schedule an appointment at your veterinary clinic.

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Symptoms of Abnormal Gait in Dogs

Symptoms of an abnormal gait can include:

  • Inability to walk
  • Knuckling
  • Limb incoordination
  • Lameness
  • Unsteadiness 
  • Painful walking
  • Limping while walking
  • Arching of the back
  • Lowering of the neck and head
  • Shift in weight
  • Weakness
  • Staggering walk
  • Swaying on feet
  • Standing in a wide stance with limbs spread far apart
  • Inability to extend legs during gait
  • Crouched gait
  • Skipping a stride
  • Shortened stride
  • Shuffling gait
  • Goose stepping gait
  • Loss of balance
  • Stumbling
  • Paw scuffing
  • Loss of movement control
  • Carrying a limb
  • Limb paralysis

Causes of Abnormal Gait in Dogs

There are many reasons why your dog could develop an abnormal gait. These include:

  • Pain
  • Orthopedic condition
  • Musculoskeletal condition
  • Neurological condition
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Intervertebral disk disease
  • Cervical cord disease
  • Joint abnormalities
  • Ruptured cruciate ligament
  • Knee instability
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Osteochondritis dissecans
  • Elbow disease
  • Chronic muscle injury
  • Muscle overuse
  • Viral, parasitic, bacterial or protozoan infection that affects the central nervous system
  • Cancers and growths
  • Trauma

Diagnosis of Abnormal Gait in Dogs

Your veterinarian will begin by observing your dog’s gait. This observation will give your vet valuable information about the area causing the abnormal gait. It is important to observe your dog on a flat surface, from multiple angles, engaging in any tasks if your dog is a working animal, and observing both walking and trotting. A gallop and trot can often cause a change in the angulation of certain joints, and can narrow down a cause. Then, an orthopedic and neurological examination are performed. Diagnosis is based on these observations, but the underlying issue causing the gait need to be discovered.

Due to the wide range of conditions that can cause an abnormal gait, your veterinarian will need any and all information you can provide, such as any other symptoms noticed, medical history, any history of trauma, and travel history. Tests to help narrow down the true cause can include a urine test, blood test, serum testing, biopsies, EMG, X-ray, myelography, ultrasound, endoscopy, CT scan, and an MRI. If a specific disease is suspected, more specialized tests can be performed.

Treatment of Abnormal Gait in Dogs

Once it has been determined what is causing the abnormal gait, treatment will be appropriate to the condition. Only a few will be mentioned here.

Muscle diseases may be treated with corticosteroids, or other immune suppressing drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and can often use supportive therapies, such as fluid administration, body cooling, and rest. Surgery can sometimes help, and can improve joint and limb functions, section or resection muscles, or repair and reattach tendons. External splints can be used after surgery to help recovery. The rate of recovery is dependent on the severity of the case and the success of treatments.

In the case of tumors, chemotherapy, radiation and surgical removal can be used in treatment. Bacterial, viral, parasitic and protozoan infections can be treated with appropriate medications. Often, your dog will need to be retested to ensure the success of therapy.

Intervertebral disk disease can be treated with pain or anti-inflammatory drugs, or surgery if neurological signs are severe or drugs do not help. Successful recovery often depends on how quickly treatment is performed in relation to a loss of pain perception. Recovery is good if treatment is given while your dog can still feel pain.

Degenerative myelopathy is often the last condition looked for, and is diagnosed by elimination of other issues. Since there are no known treatments available for this disease, efforts are focused on the dog’s quality of life, and can include supportive care, rehabilitation, monitoring for urinary infections, pressure sore prevention, and the use of harnesses and carts to increase mobility.

Recovery of Abnormal Gait in Dogs

Due to the wide range of conditions that can cause an abnormal gait in your dog, the rate of recovery is on a case by case basis. Many conditions can be treated for a full recovery, while others may need continuing treatments or supplementary care. There are also conditions that are progressive with very little treatment available. Your veterinarian will advise you on treatment plans, supportive care at home, and the prognosis for your dog’s specific situation.

Abnormal Gait Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Lilly
Weimaraner
10 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

shuffling of left paw

My dog, a female Weimaraner 11.5 years old, started having her tail twisted to one side, the Vet treated her for urinary infection. Following months she appeared with an abnormal gait, did not want to walk longer distances after being a very active pet. two days ago, came from work and found her with the posterior legs unable to keep it standing, weakness, dragging of left leg when trying to walk, staggering gait.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2520 Recommendations
You should return to your Veterinarian for an examination and an x-ray to help determine the underlying cause for this level of leg weakness, there isn’t anything I can recommend for you to do without examining Lilly first. Once your Veterinarian has examined Lilly and possibly done an x-ray they will be able to advise a course of treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Joaquin
German Shepherd
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Abnormal gait
Lethargy

My dog as shown signs of a front nail injury due to length in the past and normally is better in a few days. I was not alarmed when this began again, but now he has changed from holding up his left paw only to sometimes shifting from one front paw to the other. When he walks he seems to be putting weight on the paw, but now he is holding himself very awkwardly when walking and I noticed while he was eating that he is arching his back. I cannot find anything wrong with any of his feet. He hasn't thrown up, has a fairly normal appetite, goes to the bathroom normally, but is very lethargic tending to curl up on the couch or lay down on his side. He will sometimes cry very slightly if I keep messing with him like I normally would. My home vet is coming out on Monday, but I am pretty worried in the meantime.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2520 Recommendations
Without Joaquin it is difficult to say what the specific cause of these symptoms are, a thorough examination is required and I cannot say whether the issue with the nail has had an effect elsewhere (change in gait putting pressure on spine). Keep Joaquin rested for today until your Veterinarian visits on Monday, only taking him outside on a lead to do his business then straight back to rest. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Pebbles
Pomeranian
9 Weeks
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

back legs turned out

My 9 week old Pomeranian weighting 1.8 pounds stands with her back legs turned out ( like duck feet or the look of a queen Ann chair legs), is this because of her age and size? Is this normal or should her back legs be straight like her front legs. She also stands with her back legs spread far apart. I do not observe this when she is walking or running so much, but it difficult to observe her gait since she is usually coming towards me instead of away. When she sits, her back legs are turned out. Thanks

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1103 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. WIthout being able to assess Pebbles' gait and stance, and conformation, I can't comment on whether she has a problem or is normal, unfortunately. It would be best to have her examined by a veterinarian, as they will be able to see her and comment on whether she is normal for a 9 week old puppy, or whether she does have some problems.

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bruce
Staffy
12 Weeks
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
ulcers in mouth
stiffness in legs
co-ordination issues

hi my Staffy pup has abnormal gait symptoms. hes being treated for ulcers in his mouth and throat, i believe this was caused by chewing and eating Australian Razor fish shells.research ive read suggests Domoic acid in the razor fish can cause many problems including abnormal gait symptoms and other neurological issues.he is stiff in the legs, weight loss,co-ordination issues. could this be my dogs problem? is it treatable? thanks
he has been to the vet but they are confussed about the condition atm

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2520 Recommendations
I’m not familiar with razorfish but any shellfish has the potential to cause poisoning to dogs, humans and any other animals due to domoic acid and other toxins. I would recommend calling the Pet Poison Helpline in the USA as I am not aware of an animal poison helpline in Australia. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.petpoisonhelpline.com https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/how-a-neurotoxin-in-crabs-causes-brain-damage/ http://pir.sa.gov.au/fishing/fishing_limits/razorfish (for reference because I near saw one)

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Jimny
American Bulldog
3 years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

previous left leg weakness
Stifles deviate laterally when walk

I have a dog, 3 y/o, 8 mo. Shelter rescue, abnormal gait no lameness observed. No discomfort. Distal to hocks are deviated medically and stifles deviate laterally when walking... previous examination states legs used to be weak, r/o metabolic disease (hypothyroid), hip diplasia, arthiritis, patellar luxation.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2520 Recommendations
If other causes were already ruled out like hip dysplasia, patellar luxation etc… the I would start looking at the angle of the pelvic symphysis as this may have an effect on the position of the limbs other than that I would be looking at bone curvature or an angular deformity. If the gait is abnormal but there is no lameness I would just keep an eye on Jimny and make sure that he isn’t stressed with exercise. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Doc holliday
Labrador Retriever
15 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

My 15 month old lab/pit rescue seems to have a swaying gate. He’s had it since I can remember, and I always thought it was just his strut. He doesn’t seem to be in any pain, and still loves to play with my other one year old rescue. Is this always a sign of hip displation, or could it just be how he walks?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2520 Recommendations
Whilst a swaying gait isn’t always hip dysplasia it is always worth getting some x-rays to rule it out which may also show some other issue like spinal issues etc… Swaying gait may be due to spinal issues (particularly lumbar spine), ligament injuries, muscle injury, other trauma among other causes. If it isn’t causing much trouble, keep an eye on his gait and have your Veterinarian perform an x-ray at your next visit. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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sandie
Cockapoo
5 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Medication Used

Metacam

my 5 month old cockerpoo has been diagnosed with dislocated shoulder the vet said in his opinion my dog was dropped from 3 - 5 weeks old
she manages very well and is on painkillers although only if she has too much exercise does it seem to bother her and then after a few hours rest shes back to her lively self.
he said until she is fully grown they cannot do much and then maybe a helpful op to help her
if it turns out badly later for her ultimately amputation (this fills me with horror)
or she may just need painkillers and will have a gait

should i go for a second opinion on treatment or is it right we have to wait for her to fully grow before anything can be done

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2520 Recommendations
Typically a dislocated shoulder would cause significant pain for a dog; many times injuries similar to this are best addressed once a dog gets older. Each case is individual and there is no set path for treatment; a Veterinarian needs to use their judgement as to whether they operate now, operate now and later or to operate later. It wouldn’t hurt to have a second Veterinarian take a look or to visit an Orthopaedic Specialist. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Minni
Pomeranian
8 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Fever , stopped feeding , cloudy cornea

Medication Used

Cefopodoxime , tazobactum , paracetemol

Hi...
My dog is 8 years old pomeranian...
From 3-4 days it stopped feeding and is looking very sick...
Unable to walk...
Has staggering gait....
My dog had cataract in right eye since 8 months n all of a sudden from 2 days its having cloudy cornea and discharge in the same eye...
Its having bullae kind of superficial projections underneath its stomach from skin , not connected to abdominal cavity...
My dog is female n have not breeded even once....
Plz suggest me how to make it healthy once again...

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2520 Recommendations

This would be something to discuss with your Veterinarian as an unsteady gait, loss of appetite and the other symptoms you have described may be attributable to a severe infection, liver disease, kidney disease, poisoning or other internal diseases. Minni requires at a minimum a blood test to check blood counts as well as liver and kidney function. There is a risk if Minni was never spayed that pyometra has become a systemic infection also. This isn’t something to treat at home; please take her to see her Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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