My Shih Tzu Gladys is Limping

by Linda Bodo
(Springfield, VT)



My Shih tzu Gladys has been limping when I take her out the last two days. She was fine before that. There seems to be a problem with her back right leg. She not making any noise like she's in pain. Could this be arthritis or something else? Temps. here have been in low 30s(day)& low 20s at night.

Anonymous Answers:

if it keeps up for a week or more, I would take her to the vet. My Tzu has bad legs, I even had his knee done and it didn’t take. He is 9.

Ed A New Jersey Answers:

You didn't say how old she is, but I keep my dogs on glucosamene and codroiten it help to keep their joints nice and lubricated. That never hurt.

If it stays for any length of time a trip to the vet and a Xray will go a long way. My Shih-Tzu are all young but my service dog ( a 165 pound great Pyrenees) is 8 years old and I have been giving it to him since he was two. My vet says his hips and legs are great.

Of course genetics play a big part but I'm sure the two things help him a lot. These things are all natural and come in many snacks and beef trakia (moo tubes) are great for them, also help keep teeth clean. Beau gets a 12" three times a week. They come in 3 6 and 12 inch. Good luck with her she is a cutie for sure.

Our Answer

Linda, we’re sorry to hear that adorable furbaby is having trouble walking. You’re right to be concerned. All human companions should remember that just because a dog isn’t making noises to indicate pain, doesn’t mean it’s not experiencing pain.

Our little Tzu’s want to please us more than anything, even if that means limping through some discomfort at walk time.

As Ed pointed out, you didn’t share this doll’s age with us (we know a lady never tells) but if she’s getting on in years the problem could be arthritis. Of course, only your vet will know for sure so we recommend getting Gladys in for a checkup if the problem is persisting.

Canine Degenerative Joint Disease

Just as in humans, arthritis in dogs attacks the joints, causing swelling or even infection that results in pain and stiffness.

Because of their long spines, Shih Tzus are at risk for arthritis in the back and at the hip joints, but arthritis can develop in any joint, especially in older dogs. The cold temperatures you mentioned, Linda, may be making a mild case of arthritis more troublesome.

Degenerative arthritis is progressive and incurable, but there are many treatments to slow the progression and restore a dog’s quality of life. Dogs with untreated arthritis are doomed to an existence of pain that increases with each passing year. The earlier the condition is caught, the more treatment options will be available, and the more effective they will be.

CDJD is diagnosed with a simple x-ray which is not terribly expensive or stressful on the dog.

Treatment Options

Depending on the severity and location of arthritis, a vet may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Supplements such as glucosamine chondroitin
  • Weight loss
  • Prescription pain relievers such as analgesics and corticosteroids
  • Moderate exercise that does not stress the joints, such as swimming
  • Physical therapy
  • Complementary treatments such as acupuncture and canine massage therapy

Canine Massage Therapy

After supplements and weight loss, canine massage is one of the most helpful things you can do on your own to help ease the pain of mild arthritis. Providing massage to a younger dog may even prevent or prolong the onset of some types of arthritis.

There is a lot of information available about how to perform massage on your dog, but it’s really not that complicated. Gentle rubbing and stretching along the spine and hip and leg joints can decrease your Shih Tzu’s physical discomfort while increasing the emotional bond between you, even if you’re not an “expert.”

Just remember to use gentle pressure, as though you were massaging a baby, and limit sessions to about 5 minutes per day. Massaging too hard or too long can cause soreness in the dog’s muscles, similar to when you overdo it at the gym.

Canine degenerative joint disease can be debilitating if left untreated. But with proper care, a Shih Tzu with CDJD can enjoy many more happy years enjoying her rightful place in your lap.

Comments for My Shih Tzu Gladys is Limping

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Apr 29, 2014
Thank You
by: lildoggie

Thanks so much for the reply to my question about Gladys (shihtzu), she better now - she has arthritis. I'm going to buy the clocosimine- chondrotin treats for her and do the spine & hip massage like you suggested. She'll be 9 years old May 15th, so she's having arthritis now.

Thanks Again,

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