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Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.
I am sorry to hear about the troubles Charlie is having, but I am sure we can come up with some options. I need a bit more information to be able to help you.
How long has he been lame? Have you already had him in to see his veterinarian, and if so, what testing was performed? If not, is he placing any weight on the leg at all, toe-touching, bearing a good amount of weight but obviously lamen? Did you observe a traumatic event after which he was lame?
There are many possible causes for what you describe. The most common injury is a cruciate ligament tear or complete rupture, which is in the knee. This can be very painful, and if confirmed by your vet on an x-ray will require surgery to fix. Other possible causes of a hind limb lameness in a dog of his age might include hip dysplasia/arthritis, hip or other joint dislocation, bone lesion (infection, tumor), and fracture.
The best next step for Charlie if this lameness has persisted beyond 24-48 hours is to have his veterinarian perform an exam (to isolate where he is painful) and then perform radiographs (xrays). Then appropriate pain medication can be prescribed for him and recommendations for therapy can be made. Until that testing is done it is tough to guess the location of the problem, and extent of the injury.
You are doing great at home. The best you can do is encourage him to rest and try to avoid stairs and excessive exercise. Good job. I am reluctant to recommend over-the-counter pain relief since there really are not any good, effective products that I would consider "safe" in a dog. You canNOT use acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen due to potential toxicity. Aspirin is possible to be used but is not a very good pain relief drug in dogs and has a high risk for stomach ulceration. The best medications are those you can get via prescription from your vet.
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Can cruciate ligament damage be determined by x-ray due to it being soft tissue?
How long can I leave it if it is this problem before he needs surgery?
I did not observe any traumatic event but he has been lame for about a month, he does put a little weight on it but he is very careful. He tries to jump onto the settee but fails and cries.