English Bulldog Puppy Wobbly Loose Joints Question

Hello Dr. Kraemer,

I am concerned about my 18-week old puppy loose joints. In these videos, you can see that his rear legs look loose and wobbly.

English bulldog puppy loose joints

We have put rugs down since he arrived, but our floors are slippery and I wonder if sliding around on them while he was 10 and 11 weeks old created problems.

I also wonder if our play was too vigorous for him; we have suspended those games and any walks (which were not lengthy but did involve a somewhat steep incline).

Can you tell me what you see — is there a problem here?

We live on the island of Madeira, Portugal. At this point, I think our puppy is too heavy to travel under an airplane seat, and he cannot travel in cargo… So unless we charter him a flight, or fly a surgeon here, we are limited in remediation efforts.

Thank you for your help.

1 Answers
Dr. Roy Kraemer Staff answered 2 years ago

Answer for English Bulldog Puppy Wobbly Loose Joints

Dear Michele, I regret learning about your puppy’s loose joints and unsteady gait. The beautiful surroundings of Madeira must surely provide a wonderful life for him.

English Bulldog Puppy Wobbly Loose Joints FRONT LIMP

The first video you sent me goes by too fast, but there is a noticeable limp (lameness).

From that video, I suspect a front leg(s) problem in addition to what you described as a hind leg “loose joint.”.

English Bulldog Puppy LOOSE JOINTS BONE OSIFICATION

When a bulldog puppy is born, his bones and joints are incomplete; they are mostly cartilage that has yet to mineralize or ossify.

BONE GROWTH PLATES

Your puppy’s axial bones, forming the hip, knees, and hock joints, have growth plates that only fuse at the age of one.

These open growth plates facilitate growth and bone lengthening throughout the puppy’s maturation process.

Therefore, it is not uncommon to notice “loose joints” during this growth phase.

Wobbly Loose Joint Bulldog Puppy / NEUROLOGICAL

Bulldog puppy wobbliness can also be associated with neurological problems, the most common of which are various forms of bulldog and French bulldog vertebral malformation such as

  • spinal Bifida
  • hemivertebra

severe kyphosis vertebral malformation in French bulldog

Limping Bulldog Puppy

NEUROLOGICAL DRAGGING:

Dragging, wobbling, or misplacement of the legs is often linked to nerve damage.

PAINFUL LIMP

Limping is typically an expression of pain, commonly regarded as an orthopedic issue.

English Bulldog Puppy Wobbly Loose Joints ORTHOPEDIC PROBLEMS

Many bulldog puppies suffer from orthopedic problems, even at a very young age.

Examples are:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Hip Subluxation
  • Medial Patella luxation
  • ACL Injuries
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Panosteitis
  • OCD

BULLDOG PUPPY ELBOW DYSPLASIA:

Bulldog elbow dysplasia is the most common underlying orthopedic problem for front leg limping in English bulldog puppies.

Pain & Limping as well as disuse muscle atrophy and joint effusion is usually associated  with bulldog elbow dysplasia

BULLDOG PUPPY FRONT LEG LIMPING:

The common causes for puppy front leg limping are:

BULLDOG PUPPY PANOSTEITIS:

seen in growing bulldog puppies, it can present in one or more legs during growth, pain is usually associated with the bond diaphysis, and often the puppy also exhibits flu-like behavior (fever, lack of appetite)

BULLDOG PUPPY OCD:

Osteochondritis dissecans is a bone inflammation due to bone ossification problems with an avascular cartilage residue. The shoulder is a common sight for bulldog OCD, but it can be found in other joints such as the hips and knees

BULLDOG PUPPY TRAUMA:

Bruise or fracture including fractures to the growth plate (there are 5 types named salter fractures.

BULLDOG PUPPY HIND LEG LIMPING

Common causes of puppy hind leg limps are:

BULLDOG PUPPY HIP DYSPLASIA:

Though hip dysplasia is common in bulldogs it usually will not be associated with pain, nevertheless, hip dysplasia and hip luxation can present as “loose joints” and wobbliness.

BULLDOG PUPPY MPL:

Bulldog and French bulldog medial patella luxation are very common; they can present early in life as a mild degree (grade 1-2) but also a more severe degree (grade 3 and even 4). The mild degree is often subclinical and the sesamoid bone luxation could be viewed by the owners as a “loose joint” or wobbliness.

A more severe case of bulldog puppy MPL can be painful, leading to a noticeable limp.

BULLDOG PUPPY ACL:

Bulldog and French bulldog anterior cruciate ligament injury, tears, and raptures can present in various forms of abnormal gate or walk depending on severity and degree of pain.

BULLDOG PUPPY OTHER HIND LEG LIMPING

  • Bulldog panosteitis
  • OCD
  • Trauma: like above bulldog’s front legs limp

Answer for English Bulldog Puppy Wobbly Loose Joints DIAGNOSIS

NEUROLOGICAL EXAM

You should see a veterinarian for a full physical, lameness assessment, neurological soundness, pain analysis, range of motion, palpation, etc.

BULLDOG PUPPY ORTHOPEDIC & NEUROLOGICAL IMAGING

  • Radiographs
  • MRI
  • CT Scan
  • Arthroscopy

LOOSE JOINTS AND WOBBLINESS RADIOGRAPHS:

Radiographs should be taken for bulldogs exhibiting loose joints, wobbliness, limping, dragging, etc.

X-rays are critical, many of the wobbly loose joint bulldog conditions described above can be diagnosed with simple radiographs.

BULLDOG PUPPY LAB SCREENING TESTS:

Includes

  • CBC
  • Chemistries
  • Fecal
  • Urine Analysis

BULLDOG PUPPY GATE ANALYSIS

A  gate analysis that can provide empirical data on your bulldog puppy’s weight-bearing of each of the puppy’s four limbs (see video).

English Bulldog Puppy Wobbly Loose Joint  PREVENTIVE CARE

WEIGHT

Keep your bulldog lean, obesity can exasperate both orthopedics and neurological conditions

DIET

Adhere to nutritious and balanced puppy dog food.

Bulldog puppy multivitamin supplement formula

Bulldog Puppy Healthy Supplements: 

Bulldog puppy supplements provide the ultimate preventive health and therapeutic care.

Example are:

See our economic bulldog puppy therapeutic bundles HERE

Bulldog Puppy Loose Joints Ultimate Therapeutic Bundle

Bulldog Puppy NSAID: 

You could try a short course of doggy non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (“doggy aspirin”), if the symptoms dramatically improve then the puppy’s condition is likely associated with inflammation and pain. I don’t recommend using OTC aspirin.

You should get a prescription from your vet for a an NSAID that is formulated for dogs.

Bulldog Puppy Stem Cell Therapy:

I have treated and therapeutically implemented stem cell therapy for various bulldog orthopedic and neurological conditions, For more information, please read the respective pages HERE

You are welcome to send me more videos, diagnostic imaging, lab tests, and Dr. notes

Best of luck

Dr. Kraemer, Vet4Bulldog

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The information provided on this platform is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding any medical condition. It's important to always consider professional medical advice promptly and not to delay seeking it based on information you've read on this platform. Any reliance on the information provided here is entirely at your discretion.

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