Down Pasterns (Photos)

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I got a question. I noticed the last few days that Andre is developing down pasterns in the front and it concerns me. His pasterns used to be upright and strong and he used to walk up on his toes. Now his pasterns are getting weak and he is starting to walk more flat footed. It is wosre on the right side. What is causing this? I have heard that this can be caused by too high of a protein content. I have Andre on a large breed puppy food. Should I maybe start switching to adult food? He is 6 months old. I have called the vet and I'm waiting for a call back. Will probably be scheduling an appointment. In the mean time I wondered if anyone else has experienced this with their dog(s) and what causes it and how to treat it.

Thanks guys :)

Here are some pics:

This is Andre's pasterns standing. Taken from the right side.

This one is from the front toward the left side while standing.

Rear view from left side while standing.

Left side while sitting.

Right side while sitting.

Lady Kate's picture
Joined: 2009-10-28

Pet Profiles

Just off the top of my head, I'm wondering if his long toe nails are causing pain. Try giving them a clip or a dremel and see if it helps his 'posture' You should not be able to hear the tick tick tick of those nails..

Thanks Lady Kate. His toe nails do not touch the ground. I clip them every week to 10 days.  Even on the kitchen floor (linoleum) we don't hear that click, click, click--which means he has stealth mode and can go in the kitchen and walk around silent as a cat and do things he's not suppose to and I don't hear him, lol! Sneaky little Doberdevil :)

It doesn't seem to bother him at all and he is active and runs and plays like normal. I bothers me though cuz I know his pasterns are suppose to be that way. I have an appointment with the vet tomorrow. I will be sure to post an update when we get home. 

talisin's picture
Joined: 2011-02-25

Here's hoping it's not anything serious and just a phase that will pass, :)) it does look uncomfortable in the photos though.....

Have you talked with your breeder yet. If I remember correctly he was purchased from a reputable breeder. They will know their lines and should be more than happy to go over information and offer appropriate suggestions. That should always be the first place to turn in most cases.

What is the protein level with the brand you are feeding? I would switch him over to the adult. Are you doing any supplements?

We just got back from the vet. He said Andre's growth plates are mildly inflamed as he is in a rapid growth phase. The vet said that sometimes this can cause "growing pains" and Andre is most likely altering  his stance in an effort to alieviate the pain. He prescribed a non-steroidal pain medication. He said if Andre is not showing improvement by tues or wed I need to get him right back in for further testing. If it is pain related, Andre should show improvement quite quickly. The vet wants to see Andre back regardless next Saturday to evaluate his condition. I talked to the vet about switching Andre over to adult food and he said at this point he doesn't feel it is nutrition related especially since Andre has been eating a large breed puppy food which has a lower protien content than regular puppy food. The vet also does not feel it is a genetic issue. So, we will wait and see how Andre does. Hopefully all will be well in a few days. I'm praying it is.

The breeder said she has not noted this in any of the lines she uses. She said she will not breed from lines that display weak or down pasterns because it is a physical fault/defect which causes a deviation from the standard, and judges penalize it in the show ring. I've seen pics of several of Andre's ancestors; sire, dam, aunts, uncles, cousins, and littermates and none of them had weak pasterns. They were all nice and straight and strong with those wonderful cat feet. That is how Andre was up until a few days ago. No, I am not currently giving any suppliments. My vet feels that the nutritional content of Andre's food is more than adequate for his growing needs and doesn't feel a suppliment such as calcium or magnesium is necessary yet. He wants to wait and see if the issue is pain related before we venture down the suppliment road or switch over to adult food and I agree. The protein content of Andre's food is 27.0%     

Kim's picture
Joined: 2012-02-05

I JUST read an article about puppy foods and large breed puppy foods as well on Dr. Becker's site. She believes it isn't the protein level that can cause the growth spurt problems, but the extra minerals added. Which makes sense to me - I had a horse that had epiphysitis (sp?) while he was growing - basically the joint starts overlapping, and when serious, it can break off edges and surgery is required. His knees were swollen. Thank goodness my vet at the time raised horses and was familiar with it - we changed his diet, adding minerals he needed, and in a week, he was fine with no bone chipping.

So...just food for thought. ('Scuse the!)

I DO hope the pain relievers do the trick, and that's all he needs!  It does look like it would be uncomfortable.

What are you feeding him?  Sometimes something as simple as changing food CAN make a difference. 

He is eating a chicken based large breed puppy food. He was getting a lamb based LB puppy food but started having really soft stools. Since we have switch proteins his stools have firmed right up with no problems and he likes the chicken based food better anyway.

I spoke with my breeder again yesterday and she said she always takes her dogs off puppy food at 4 months. She also said a vitamin C and calcium suppliment would help too. She thinks it is growth and nutrition related and said that once he is close to finishing his current bag of puppy food to gradually switch him to adult. She thinks the issue will correct itself with the calcium and vitamin C suppliments and food change. So, we are going to start the suppliments and change food when the time comes.