View Full Version : stiffness in back legs when excited - so confused ! help please
3rd February 2010, 02:28 PM
hey all i have posted on this site before. we got our little ruby stanley in september and fell in love with him immediately, although he has not been without his health problems. He had a consistent nasal problem which cleared up eventually after a course of antibiotics. the vet said he periodically may happen as he is growing up. He is currently back on a ten day course.
My main concern is his back legs. when he gets excited or when we bring him for a walk, his back legs go completely stiff and he finds it difficult to walk and as a result we have not been walking him and we try to keep him at home with littel excitement apart from play times with us. when he is at home with just me he can fly around the place ,either one of his back legs may hop up but this doesnt seem to bother him at all.
we have brought him to the vet and the vet has seem him in a play environment. He is a bit confused, he says he has never seen SM present like this. He doesnt seem to think its EFS. he thought the hopping of the back leg was similar to stringholt in horses and is just a result of inbreeding. he says he is reluctant to do anything to invasive at the moment as Stanley appears to be so happy and is thriving and is still very young and growing up.
Stanley does not appear to be bothered at all by his leg situation and is a very happy dog. if his legs go stiff we pick him up and when we put him back down he appears to be fine.
I think i am just more concerned about it and want an answer, but i suppose i am wondering has anyone any opinions or experienced this. I keep saying to myself that i wont worry until STanley appears distressed or in pain but each time i see his legs stiffen ... i begin to worry again.
your thoughts are much appreciated....
3rd February 2010, 03:40 PM
... we have brought him to the vet and the vet has seem him in a play environment. He is a bit confused, he says he has never seen SM present like this. He doesnt seem to think its EFS. he thought the hopping of the back leg was similar to stringholt in horses and is just a result of inbreeding. he says he is reluctant to do anything to invasive at the moment as Stanley appears to be so happy and is thriving and is still very young and growing up. ...
I would like to know why your veterinarian does not think it is EFS. It sounds like EFS to me.
Consider this quote from the Symptoms section of http://www.cavalierhealth.org/episodic_falling.htm :
"Symptoms of EFS vary, but they all are attributed to the dog’s muscles being unable to relax. Typical signs include the Cavalier engaged in exercise or being excited or stressed, and then suddenly develop a rigid gait in the rear limbs, extending and retracting in an exaggerated, stiff manner, like that of a hopping rabbit."
3rd February 2010, 09:10 PM
I'd agree with Rod. I would try to get this stiffness captured on a couple of videos, and then get a referral to a vet neurologist perhaps. Although, has your vet eliminated patellas as a problem as well? Hips? EFS is a specialist condition and pretty rare so I would think a vet would have a hard time identifying it anyway. Sm can also present in many different ways; leg stiffness is indeed one of the ways.
Your puppy really needs to get regular walks and activities and an opportunity to socialise with other dogs and people, etc or you risk ending up with a dog with behaviour problems -- plus only being in the house/garden is a very limited life for such a social animal as a dog - so continuing in the same way really is not a good choice and you'll want to get to the bottom of the problem. The window for socialising passes in the coming months and it can be very challenging to rehablitate an unsocialised dog so do take him out. Once you get a handle on what is going on, I'd also recommend getting him to a positive methods obedience class so that he starts to learn how to be calm and some restraint which will likely be of some help as well. There's lots of good advice on managing EFS sessions on the EFS website.
Going from earlier posts and your IP address, I think you may be Dublin based and if so, I'd recommend seeing Fintan at Anicare Blanchardstown asap for a second opinion as he is very good on EFS and SM. He is also very good on patellas and hip problems. I really think you need a vet with a good knowledge of these issues and will likely need a referral to a specialist to start eliminating what it is not. I'd say it is just as likely a problem like hip dysplasia as this sounds as if it could be orthopedic and not neurological. Has your vet done an xray to consider these choices? That would seem a more obvious first step actually... I must say I have never heard a vet attribute this type of issue to an inbreeding problem and I think you are right to want a better answer.
I am of the growing opinion that EFS seems to appear a lot more frequently in rubies -- almost every single dog I have heard of with EFS has been a ruby so I wonder if this is perhaps carried on a coat colour gene.
3rd February 2010, 09:38 PM
thank you so much for your responses and help... i have always thought that it is efs as i have researched it alot on the internet.
i so appreciate the name of a vet to go see. we had brought him to a vet in rathfarnham for a second opinion and they seemd to think it might be luxating patella but to keep an eye on it. again in researching that i am no so sure as he has no problem jumping up and down or going up the stairs, but again i could be wrong.
we brought him out on sat for a short walk but his legs got stiff after a few minutes.
in this situation i just pick him up or stand still for a bit and then keep going. i was not sure if i was doing the right thing or not as in alot of the research and information that i have read on efs says to note the triggers and avoid these situations. i will try and bring him again tomorrow and keep you updated on his progress.
We had been bringing him to puppy training but had to stop as they were not sure if his nasal problem was a the viral component of kennel cough.
i greatly appreciate your help.
3rd February 2010, 11:55 PM
Luxating patellas are pretty easy to diagnose, usually. It is hard to know of course exactly what you are seeing, from reading a board post. :) But to me it sounds odd that only walks bring this on and not running around the house and playing.
If you can get a couple of videos on a walk, those would help. Have someone walk him while you video what he starts to do.
I'd talk to Fintan -- just ask to see him when you make an appointment - you can get the number from www.anicare.ie. You can tell him I suggested you talk to him. Please come back and let us know what he thinks.
As others say, EFS is pretty mysterious and sometimes dogs can have some episodes when young then they stop.
4th February 2010, 08:37 AM
Thanks again Karlin.
I have done so much research on this and my gut feeling is that it is ef as it seems to me like its a muscle stiffness brought on by excitement / stress.
In saying that he can run around at home and play with little problems.
I am going to ring anicare this am and make an appointment. i will get my husband to video him over weekend and we will bring this to fintan.
Its such a relief knowing a vet that is familar with the condition as the two vets we had brought him, didnt think that it was ef when i brought it up, but i think this is because they miay only be familar with ef when dogs present with the more severe symptoms.
Thanks again Karlin - will let you know how we get on.
4th February 2010, 09:08 AM
karlin, have an appointment to see fintan at 4pm on monday. Spoke to lovely girl stephanie. thanks again so much
4th February 2010, 10:52 AM
Stephanie is really nice - they are used to me trooping in with rescue dogs for check-ups. :)
Keep in mind it is a specialist condition and even neurologists are not too familiar with it as it seems to only occur in small numbers of cavaliers. I am impressed you went to vets who did actually know at least something about it - I think this is because the leading researcher on the subject gave a talk at the international vet congress that was held in Dublin last year.
Hope it turns out to be something that can be identified and resolved.
10th February 2010, 03:16 PM
well to keep you updated.
Stanley went to see fintan and he got a full work up of xrays etc... he stayed in the vets overnight.
They found that one of his lungs looks infected... so what the other vets though was his nose is his chest. They have sent all his xrays off the vet college in UCD, including the one of this lungs as they are not sure what it is. Also all his joints appear to be ok, They observed him and fintan feels is 99 % sure that its episodic falling syndrome.
While his seems to be mildly effected, he legs do go stiff on a daily basis. Most cases of EFS seems to have more chronic episodes but less frequently. When all the xrays go off to UCD and come back we will have another chat. For the moment its a case of monitoring him very closely. He doenst seem distressed by the episodes and as the disease is so unpredicatable its hard to know how it will pan out for stanley. He is still a very happy little puppy. I would like very much to get his chest sorted too> Thanks so much Karlin for putting me in touch with Fintan as they were so thourough with him and for the first time i think we know whats wrong will keep you posted thank again
14th February 2010, 12:34 AM
This is great to hear, that you are at least a bit further along. Fintan is one of my favourite vets. :) It is nice to work with someone who doesn't dismiss concerns when you go into him, and he is very good at spotting possible SM and EFS cases. It is frustrating working with a condition where you don't know what might happen but fingers crossed he will do fine. The EFS website is a wonderful resource.
Please let us know what they think about his lungs -- hope that isn't too much of a problem and can be cleared up quickly.
16th February 2010, 12:58 AM
They found that one of his lungs looks infected... so what the other vets though was his nose is his chest. They have sent all his xrays off the vet college in UCD, including the one of this lungs as they are not sure what it is.
Hi, just thought I might interject to share a similar situation with my Geordie when he was a pup. He coughed mainly at night, but it sounded more like he was sneezing. This didn't clear up after two courses of antibiotics, and our vet scoped him to take a look at his lungs and to get fluid samples from his lungs. The samples were sent to the lab to check for infection and to find which antibiotics would be most effective in clearing up the infection. Afterwards Geordie was given the antibiotic and he completely recovered.
The vet told us he suspected that Geordie started off with a viral form of kennel cough which then progressed into a bacterial infection. We were just grateful for his quick recovery after all of that.
I hope this might help you. Thinking of Stanley and hoping all goes well for him!
17th February 2010, 11:58 AM
just again to keep you updated. the specialist came back from ucd and thought that stanleys heart was slightly enlarged so he had a heart scan yesterday.
they detected an abnormality that one of the sides/arteries was leaking backwards but fintan feels that this is because is heart is working so hard to fight his lung infection. when his lung infection is cleared, his heart can be rescanned and fintan feels that it will have returned to normal. So its an abnormality but something that hopefully wont cause too much trouble at this stage. again its so unusual and proves how special stanley is !
His EFS is completely a seperate issue and we just have to monitor that closely. we had been bringing him out every day for 10/15 mins and he seemed to be getting better so just going to continue that to see how it improves. There is nothing really that can be done for it. when his infection etc clears up and neutering him might help it. That being said he is still a very happy puppy thanks again
17th February 2010, 12:56 PM
There are medications, but it sounds like you wouldn't really currently have any reason to use them --better to see how he does.
I was in with Fintan yesterday, with two of mine -- he mentioned seeing someone off the board so am sure that was you! :)
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