Is your dog standing or walking on its hind legs rather than its paws? This is known as knuckling, and it can indicate a variety of conditions. Today, our Winston-Salem veterinarians explain what knuckling is in dogs and how to stop it.
What Does it Mean When a Dog is Knuckling Over?
Knuckling is when dogs or puppies walk on the top of their feet instead of their paws. Pups can knuckle on just one leg or all of them, and they might not do this for every step they take. Your dog could be knuckling under, on a front paw, or back paw. This condition can be caused for many different reasons that could be minor or severe such as neurological disorders, nerve damage, and sore paws. If you notice your dog knuckling you should call your vet because the reason for it could be a serious condition that may be fatal.
When your dog knuckles, their feet tuck under and drag them onto the ground, which can cause physical injury to any part of their foot. If your dog is knuckling, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
How Can I Tell if My Dog is Knuckling?
When walking to and away from you, look for an uneven gait or unsteadiness to see if your dog is knuckling. Then ask your dog to stand. Lift one paw at a time and place it on the ground with the knuckle under. Your dog is most likely knuckling if it does not correct the position of its paw and leaves its knuckle tucked under.
If your dog is knuckling call your vet immediately to schedule an appointment so they can diagnose and treat the underlying cause.
What Causes Knuckling in Dogs?
Here is a list of some of the most common causes of knuckling in dogs:
- Sore or Injured Paws
- Intervertebral Disc Disease
- Fibrocartilaginous Embolism ( spinal stroke)
- Carpal Flexural Deformity
- Muscles, tendons, or ligaments can't support the dog's weight
Can Knuckling in Dogs be Cured or Stopped?
The cause of your dog's knuckling can influence how this condition is treated; some causes may be treated with supportive care, while others may necessitate surgery, and some cannot be treated at all and must be managed.
If your dog is knuckling as a result of an injury or sore paw, cleaning, bandaging, and treating the wound can help. However, if your dog has an injured paw, you should contact your veterinarian so that they can treat the wound or advise you on what steps to take.
Other causes of knuckling may require one or more of the following management or treatment methods:
- Cage Rest
- Anti-inflammatory Medications
- Laser Therapy
- Toe Grips
- Mobility Aids
- A Foot Brace (designed for knuckling dogs)
- Physical Therapy
If your dog is knuckling the best thing you can do is to contact your vet to have them diagnose the underlying cause and provide your pooch with the best possible treatment plan.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.