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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 32871
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My 4 week old puppy legs have become bowed, I am very worried

Customer Question

My 4 week old puppy legs have become bowed, I am very worried and would be very grateful for advice.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry that your question wasn't anwered in a timely fashion. You've described an angular limb deformity in your puppy. This occurs secondary to premature closure of a physis (growth plate) - most commonly in the forelimb, with radial or ulnar physeal closure(s). Premature closure of the distal ulnar physis is the most common physeal injury. Because of the paired bone system (radius and ulna), cessation of growth in the ulna causes cranial (toward the front) bowing, external rotation, and valgus deformity (a valgus deformity is a condition in which a bone or joint is twisted outward from the center of the body) of the radius. Elbow and carpal incongruities can also occur.

The diagnosis of premature closure of a physis leading to an angular limb deformity is suspected in a young dog with a shortened or angularly deformed limb and confirmed on radiographs when compared to the normal limb (if present). Treatment with surgery in immature dogs is performed to restore unrestricted growth, maximize limb length, and to correct angular deformities and joint incongruity. The prognosis is good after definitive corrective surgery if the amount of correction is adequate. The timing of surgery should be predicated upon findings in radiographs by a specialist surgeon.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.