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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Group,

I have some concerns about my Niko's front left leg. I read that some of them have very bow legs. I took him to the vet a couple of months ago about it and the vet says that it isn't broken, but look at it, it looks like it's broken. He's not limping and he runs and plays like normal, but every once in a while he does stumble. I'm thinking I should take him to see an Orthopedic specialist for further evaluation. Does anyone else see this deformity with your Havanese?
 

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Metrowest, MA
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Hello Group,

I have some concerns about my Niko's front left leg. I read that some of them have very bow legs. I took him to the vet a couple of months ago about it and the vet says that it isn't broken, but look at it, it looks like it's broken. He's not limping and he runs and plays like normal, but every once in a while he does stumble. I'm thinking I should take him to see an Orthopedic specialist for further evaluation. Does anyone else see this deformity with your Havanese?
Well, that is certainly not a normal front leg. However, if it is not painful, the vet may simply be telling you that there isn't anything that can or should be done about it currently. You can certainly consult an orthopedic vet, but even the consult will be an expense. Fixing a leg in this condition would be very expensive, VERY long and painful for the dog, and I am sure there would be no guarantee of a functionally improved outcome for the dog if he is currently not having a problem.

You might want to read this LONG thread about Perry's twisted leg surgery to see what Perry and his owner have been going through trying to fix his leg. In his case it was necessary, because both his hind legs have problems too.

 

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Hello Group,

I have some concerns about my Niko's front left leg. I read that some of them have very bow legs. I took him to the vet a couple of months ago about it and the vet says that it isn't broken, but look at it, it looks like it's broken. He's not limping and he runs and plays like normal, but every once in a while he does stumble. I'm thinking I should take him to see an Orthopedic specialist for further evaluation. Does anyone else see this deformity with your Havanese?
As Perry's owner, especially if you have insurance, I would definitely consider taking him to a ortho vet for a consultation - even if it's just to document where the leg is right now and see if they think it's worth monitoring over time. It's not likely that it was broken at any point - I thought the same - but it looks like it has the double twist (I know there's a more technical name for it) - the turning to the side and the bowing. Perry has the same. The vet said that it usually just stays that way, but Perry's continued to twist and get worse.

Unless there are other leg issues, I do not recommend going down the path we did with getting the twist fixed (and if that's the first thing your ortho vet jumps to, I would consider a different one) - as you will see in our thread it's been a long, painful, and complicated process (though my vet says that Perry is not the typical reaction to the surgery). As you will read in the twisted leg thread, our decision to do the surgery was based on the fact that he already had problems with his back leg (CCL surgery and a continuing issue with a luxating patella and, we believe, a lesser patella issue with his other back leg) and another (lesser) twist on his right front leg as well. The vet told us that the way it was going (his twist was getting worse and the arthritis it was causing was getting worse) it would likely result in becoming completely lame on the front leg - and that with other less than sound legs we didn't want to risk him being lame on multiple legs so made us decide to do the very complicated surgery on his left front.

However, as I said, the ortho consult would be useful as it could give you a baseline so you can monitor to see if it gets worse going forward. They can also let you know and monitor the arthritis that is very likely to form because of the twist and recommend mitigating measures (joint supplements, arthritis treatments, etc.)
 

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I asked about Toffee’s front legs in an earlier post as I was concerned about them being bowed. Here’s a ’soaped’ photo when he was about 7-8 months. I asked my vets opinion and she felt that surgery to straighten them was not the way to go as it would be long and painful, not to say very expensive. They don’t appear to bother him, he’s agile and run at great speed when doing zoomies round the garden 🌻🌞
Dog Cabinetry Dog breed Water dog Carnivore
 

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I asked about Toffee’s front legs in an earlier post as I was concerned about them being bowed. Here’s a ’soaped’ photo when he was about 7-8 months. I asked my vets opinion and she felt that surgery to straighten them was not the way to go as it would be long and painful, not to say very expensive. They don’t appear to bother him, he’s agile and run at great speed when doing zoomies round the garden 🌻🌞 View attachment 178033
Yes, although Toffee's legs are pretty symmetrical, and don't have the strange "backward bend" that Niko's leg has. I don't think what is going on with his leg is quite the same. Toffee's legs, while not "show/breeding" quality, are not THAT unusual in the Havanese world.
 
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I asked about Toffee’s front legs in an earlier post as I was concerned about them being bowed. Here’s a ’soaped’ photo when he was about 7-8 months. I asked my vets opinion and she felt that surgery to straighten them was not the way to go as it would be long and painful, not to say very expensive. They don’t appear to bother him, he’s agile and run at great speed when doing zoomies round the garden 🌻🌞 View attachment 178033
Our first Havanese Sparky legs were exactly like Toffee's. He lived to be 15 and never had any problem running! 😁
 

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I asked about Toffee’s front legs in an earlier post as I was concerned about them being bowed. Here’s a ’soaped’ photo when he was about 7-8 months. I asked my vets opinion and she felt that surgery to straighten them was not the way to go as it would be long and painful, not to say very expensive. They don’t appear to bother him, he’s agile and run at great speed when doing zoomies round the garden 🌻🌞 View attachment 178033
It's good you have a soaped picture because you can then monitor it over the years.

Perry's has both types of bend in it, but when we first went to the ortho vet (we were there because he had torn his CCL in his left back leg), she checked out the front and said that she wouldn't recommend any surgery or anything with it, that they generally were fine for life. However, after a few years, Perry's ended up twisting further (which I gather is not usual) and while he was having no problem running and jumping, when he was sitting he had started to constantly reposition the left leg - picking it up, and putting it back down as if it were either hurting OR slipping. So the vet and I had a long discussion about it and decided, because of the other leg issues, we would do the long, painful, and yes, expensive (thank goodness for insurance!) surgery. We're still dealing with the fall out from that - over a year later and while he's running and jumping with no problem, he does still favor the leg (holding it up) at times, and we're still looking at possible further surgeries (had the leg surgery to fix the twist, a 2nd surgery to remove the pin - though only part because it had broken) to possibly remove the plate and pack the leg with stem cells to stimulate growth. I keep looking back and wonder, in hindsight, if I would do it again and honestly I don't know. The vet had said that the likely alternative, with the way the arthritis was going and the twist was getting worse, was that in a few years it would get to the point where he couldn't use it at all - which would have been ok if it was the only "bad" leg, but with problems with the other 3, it seemed better to do the surgery. But it is not to be done lightly - the pain he was in afterwards is not something I'd want to put any dog through!
 

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Yes, although Toffee's legs are pretty symmetrical, and don't have the strange "backward bend" that Niko's leg has. I don't think what is going on with his leg is quite the same. Toffee's legs, while not "show/breeding" quality, are not THAT unusual in the Havanese world.
You see, that’s the best thing about this forum for those of us whose only experience of the breed is their own pet, access to experienced eyes that can see differences we can’t 👍🌞
 

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It's good you have a soaped picture because you can then monitor it over the years.

Perry's has both types of bend in it, but when we first went to the ortho vet (we were there because he had torn his CCL in his left back leg), she checked out the front and said that she wouldn't recommend any surgery or anything with it, that they generally were fine for life. However, after a few years, Perry's ended up twisting further (which I gather is not usual) and while he was having no problem running and jumping, when he was sitting he had started to constantly reposition the left leg - picking it up, and putting it back down as if it were either hurting OR slipping. So the vet and I had a long discussion about it and decided, because of the other leg issues, we would do the long, painful, and yes, expensive (thank goodness for insurance!) surgery. We're still dealing with the fall out from that - over a year later and while he's running and jumping with no problem, he does still favor the leg (holding it up) at times, and we're still looking at possible further surgeries (had the leg surgery to fix the twist, a 2nd surgery to remove the pin - though only part because it had broken) to possibly remove the plate and pack the leg with stem cells to stimulate growth. I keep looking back and wonder, in hindsight, if I would do it again and honestly I don't know. The vet had said that the likely alternative, with the way the arthritis was going and the twist was getting worse, was that in a few years it would get to the point where he couldn't use it at all - which would have been ok if it was the only "bad" leg, but with problems with the other 3, it seemed better to do the surgery. But it is not to be done lightly - the pain he was in afterwards is not something I'd want to put any dog through!
Perry is so lucky to have your dedication and care for him 💖
 

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Niko's doesn't look quite like Perry's - but I'd have to see more of a front view to be sure...
Right. This single, odd view makes it awfully hard to see what's going on there...
 
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Pippin, our first Havanese had the same issue. The vets at Auburn University said that the fore leg bones (Radius and Ulna) were growing at different rates. It really had little effect on him. Pippin was a very happy, dog that had an 'excess of personality'.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
As Perry's owner, especially if you have insurance, I would definitely consider taking him to a ortho vet for a consultation - even if it's just to document where the leg is right now and see if they think it's worth monitoring over time. It's not likely that it was broken at any point - I thought the same - but it looks like it has the double twist (I know there's a more technical name for it) - the turning to the side and the bowing. Perry has the same. The vet said that it usually just stays that way, but Perry's continued to twist and get worse.

Unless there are other leg issues, I do not recommend going down the path we did with getting the twist fixed (and if that's the first thing your ortho vet jumps to, I would consider a different one) - as you will see in our thread it's been a long, painful, and complicated process (though my vet says that Perry is not the typical reaction to the surgery). As you will read in the twisted leg thread, our decision to do the surgery was based on the fact that he already had problems with his back leg (CCL surgery and a continuing issue with a luxating patella and, we believe, a lesser patella issue with his other back leg) and another (lesser) twist on his right front leg as well. The vet told us that the way it was going (his twist was getting worse and the arthritis it was causing was getting worse) it would likely result in becoming completely lame on the front leg - and that with other less than sound legs we didn't want to risk him being lame on multiple legs so made us decide to do the very complicated surgery on his left front.

However, as I said, the ortho consult would be useful as it could give you a baseline so you can monitor to see if it gets worse going forward. They can also let you know and monitor the arthritis that is very likely to form because of the twist and recommend mitigating measures (joint supplements, arthritis treatments, etc.)
Thank You very much for this important & insightful information. I'll definitely take Niko for a consult visit with an Ortho.
 
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