Bow Legged Puppy Front Legs Knuckling Over

Have you noticed your puppy is walking or standing on the tops of its feet instead of its paws? This condition is referred to as knuckling and can point to various health issues. Today, our vets in Austin explain what knuckling is in puppies and how it can be stopped.

What Causes Bowed Legs in Puppies?

Is it normal for puppies to be bow legged? Breeders tend to think that bowing of the legs is genetic, but except for the genetics built in these breeds to grow fast, genetics is seldom the cause. Fast-growing puppies, especially the heavy breeds, have considerable pressure on the long bones of the legs while they are growing. The scaffolding of protein and cartilage is laid down at the growth plate and that frame work is soft and will bow to pressure. Behind that frame, calcium and phosphorus with other minor minerals use vitamins to make solid bone. Vitamin D gets calcium and phosphorus from the gut into the body, and Vitamin C gets calcium and phosphorus into the bone. If the diet is short on any of these needed vitamins, minor minerals, calcium or phosphorus, the puppy is slow to calcify while the frame is still being built; soft bones are the result.

Unless you are very keen, some of the symptoms will pass you by.The minute you notice that something is off with the dog, err on the side of caution. Call the vet and have him do checks on the dog.If the deformity is caught early enough, it can be treated permanently.

Most issues start within five to 12 weeks of age as this is when babies are going through their fast growth stage. Often the breeder reports that the legs look okay in the morning, but by the end of the day, they can see bowing on the front legs. The pressure of romping and jumping all day causes the long bone to bow. With early detection, you can correct this issue with the right vitamin/mineral supplement.

A puppy is meant to grow gradually to give her bones and cartilage enough time to develop.When the process is hurried, the fast-growing body may exert too much pressure on the limbs causing leg deformities. This is especially true for heavy breeds.Essentially, the cartilage and protein of the bone are framed at the growth plate. This happens to be a very soft area that can succumb to pressure easily.As the young dog puts on weight in her body, it may exceed the limit of the growth plate resulting in curved or brandy legs.

While most young dogs suffer from bowed legs, some carry the condition into adulthood.If yours shows any signs of having leg deformities, don’t panic. There are several treatment options you can consider.Changing the dog’s diet can take care of the problem once and for all.Other treatment options include putting braces on the dog, doing massage therapy, and removing a certain part of the plate or bone.In very rare circumstances, the limb may need complete removal.However, surgery is the best route for straightening the legs and giving the dog a new lease of life. It has a high success rate compared to other treatment options.

The Bowed legs can be a serious problem in puppies and adult dogs. Bowed legs in dogs are an abnormality that is noticed when a leg grows curved or bowed instead of appearing straight as it normally should. This type of abnormality is most likely to be seen in young, growing due to problems in their development, but can also be seen as an aftermath to traumatic injuries sometimes even in older dogs.Canine leg deformities come in their shapes and sizes. One of the most common ones is bow legs—a condition that is common among French bulldogs, Corgis, and Dachshunds.In simple terms, bowing out is a leg deformity that causes the legs to appear curved or bowed out rather than straight.It is mostly a puppy problem but adult dogs can also suffer from it.

How Can I Tell if My Puppy is Knuckling?

You can tell if knuckling is an issue for your puppy if you notice an unsteadiness or uneven gait when they are walking toward you or away from you. Have your dog stand. Lift one paw up at a time and put it down with the knuckle under. If your puppy doesnt correct their paws position and leaves their knuckle tucked under, they are likely knuckling.

If your puppy is knuckling, call your vet immediately to book an appointment for an exam. Our veterinarians in Austin treat and diagnose internal medical conditions in pets.

While the cause of knuckling is not known, it may be related to:

  • Sore or Injured Paws
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Weakness between the flexor and extensor muscle groups
  • Improper exercise
  • Poor footing (slippery surfaces)
  • Inappropriate nutrition
  • Genetics
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Carpal Flexural Deformity
  • Unbalanced growth
  • Muscles, tendons, or ligaments cant support the puppys weight
  • Some breeds, including Dobermans and Shar Peis, appear to be predisposed to this condition. Due to their rapid growth, male puppies may be affected more. The condition usually presents itself between the ages of 6 to 16 weeks. While all breeds can be impacted, large breeds tend to be more susceptible to knuckling than small breeds. If a puppy has come into care suffering from malnutrition, this condition may be an issue, since receiving quality nutrition can lead to rapid growth, which can trigger knuckling.

    Therefore, its recommended not to overfeed rescue pups so they do not become overfed and put un too much weight. Knuckling is sometimes unavoidable in malnourished puppies as the processes have already started when they come into care.


    How do you fix knuckling in puppies?

    Treating Knuckling in Puppies & Dogs
    1. A Foot Brace (designed for knuckling dogs)
    2. Toe Grips.
    3. Anti-inflammatory Medications.
    4. Physical Therapy.
    5. Avoiding walks or physical play.
    6. Keeping your Puppy in a Warm Environment (cold weather can worsen the condition)

    Can you fix bow legs in puppies?

    Some may resolve with supportive care and time while others may require surgery. And still others may never go away. There are many ways you can support your dog after he or she is diagnosed with a condition that causes knuckling.

    Why do my dogs front legs look bowed?

    There are several treatment options you can consider. Changing the dog’s diet can take care of the problem once and for all. Other treatment options include putting braces on the dog, doing massage therapy, and removing a certain part of the plate or bone.In very rare circumstances, the limb may need complete removal.