VIDEO: Canine Lameness

Sporting dogs are athletes that run the rigors of the training and hunting fields with gusto. Sometimes that gusto leads to ligament injuries and other problems.

Sometimes it's our own faults that our companions are lame. While usually avoidable, hip dysplasia puts an end to many dogs' careers at too young an age. Inattentive breeding practices and injuries/accidents can cause the hip issue, and often we, as owners, don't realize something is wrong until we see our pooch limping. But just as often we don't know what we're looking at either. Is Fido just sore from a workout? Getting old? Or is it hip dysplasia or did he blow a ligament? It's sometimes tough to tell. But here's a little tool that might help you diagnose whether or not you need to get to the vet ASAP or not.

I just found a great video that shows the gaits of a healthy dog, as well as one suffering from hip dysplasia and another with a cranial cruciate ligament rupture.

Both health issues plague sporting dogs and unless it's an obvious problem we sometimes miss it at first. If you pay attention to your pup and watch his gait, whether or not his head bobs up or down when he walks, if he favors a one leg over the other when walking, trotting, running or going up and down stairs, you can pick up a problem.

I've noticed Kona's head bob just slighlty while out in the field. I stopped him and check his feet and there was a "beggar's lice" seed deep in the webbing of his front pad. It wasn't causing him to stop working, but it was bothering him and if left unchecked would have rubbed at the softer tissue of his foot and could have caused a problem.

Check out this video by clicking here. It's pretty cool and shows you comparative gaits and body language of dogs from various angles and gives a spoken-word, as well as written, explanation of what's happening.

I especially like the hip dysplasia video of a dog going up some stairs. One possible sign is that the dog "bunny hops" up the stairs with its back legs. A healthy dog will alternate stepping forward with each upward step.

Of course, a dog might just be quirky, too, and like to bunny hop stairs, but if you have doubts or see other signs of hip issues at least you can feel a little more secure going to the vet.

Check it out, pretty cool stuff!