Why Does My West Highland Terrier's Hind Leg Skip When He Runs?

I have a16 month old west highland terrier. When he runs his hind leg is lifting like a skip. It is cute, but I want to know if something is wrong?

Westies are very suseptible to luxating patellas, or kneecaps that slide from side to side. This is common in many small and toy breeds, regardless of age or body condition. It is a congential defect, not usually painful (more uncomfortable) but does wear on the joint and stress the cruciate ligaments. Your vet can examine the dog, feel for laxity in the patella and in the joint, and make reccomendations. Surgery for this condition is common, although some dogs do well with targeted strengthing exercises or working out on an underwater treadmill designed for pets. All depends on the severity of the problem.

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  • msucvm04

    Could be a luxating patella. They have a little skip, jump wher ethey won't put that leg down. Then the patella falls back into place and they use the leg normally.
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  • mrtequus

    Westies are very suseptible to luxating patellas, or kneecaps that slide from side to side. This is common in many small and toy breeds, regardless of age or body condition. It is a congential defect, not usually painful (more uncomfortable) but does wear on the joint and stress the cruciate ligaments. Your vet can examine the dog, feel for laxity in the patella and in the joint, and make reccomendations. Surgery for this condition is common, although some dogs do well with targeted strengthing exercises or working out on an underwater treadmill designed for pets. All depends on the severity of the problem.
    References :
    I am a vet tech with 17 years in emergency medicine and canine rehabilitation.

  • CINDI T

    Many terriers, toys, small breed dogs and/or dogs with little angulation have issues with their stifles (patellas or knees in our vernacular). The skipping occurs, sometimes, if the knee gets out of position and locks out or the tendon on either side slips out of position and it *wangs* (my term for twanging – probably painful as it moves). By holding up his leg he is adjusting the situation.

    You should ask your vet to evaluate his knees (they are only called *knees* in the back legs) and see if he needs an orthopedic evaluation. As a groomer, many of my client dogs have knees that pop in and out of position while they are standing on the table and it doesn't seem to bother the dog BUT it would not hurt to get him evaluated. Some dogs are so bad that they do need surgery to tighten up the knee situation so that the problem is alleviated and the dog is out of pain. Even dogs whose knees pop in and out do not necessarily need to have the surgery either. It is all depending on how they handle the problem, how serious the problem is and exactly WHAT the problem is.

    Good luck.

    Cindi
    Breeder of wirehair dachshunds
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  • pom_handler06

    He needs to have his knee and hip checked. It could be a luxated patella or hip dysplasia. Or maybe a strained muscle. Have the vet check him out. He needs an xray.
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  • anne freakley

    my four year old westie harry has had a problem limping on right hind leg and arched back droop for 3 months seen by vet on plt tablets, he has been referred to ortho surgeon who think its crucial ligamnet problem and will need surgery on right leg and may be left in the future.they want to see him again in 2 weeks after stopping plt tablets , iam very unsure i want to put him through this procedure recovery is long and he will need to be caged for six weeks poor thing.i do want to do what is best for him.