Dog Has Stiffness in Back Legs
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Ruth and Brian Hancock
Posted on: October 31, 2005

Our Sheltie has been sort of stiff in his back legs while getting up. Someone told our daughter, whose dog has the same problem, to try Devil’s Claw, which she did with amazing results. Her dog seemed to act like a puppy after only a few doses (which she recommends to give about 4 or 5 drops in his dinner). We were just wondering if you have ever heard of this possible remedy?

Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a herb that is often used in humans for arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It also may be employed for arthritis in dogs (not cats) but bear in mind that this herb does not always work in every case. In addition, this herb should not be taken by animals who have diabetes nor by those who are pregnant. Should you decide to try Devil’s Claw for your dog, use the tincture form and add no more than five drops to his food once a day.

At the same time, you might want to look into why your dog’s legs are stiff on rising. Is the stiffness actually originating in the joints or might there be muscle strain or a bone-related condition? Is the stiffness due to an injury? Is it due to obesity or lack of exercise? Are there other mitigating factors that might have a bearing on hiis health in general? Many holistically minded pet stores sell a glucosamine sulfate supplement that works for some animals. Or, you could give him 500 mg of crushed vitamin C (not the chewable type) in his dinner as this will help to reduce inflammation. You also may want to look at his diet. Many arthritic complaints can be exacerbated by inadequate nutrition.

Your dog may also find relief through the homeopathic, Rhus toxicodendron or Rhus tox for short. This remedy is generally indicated for animals whose pain is aggravated on rising but seems to lessen on continued movement. The animal may also be restless as lying still makes the pain worse. They also may seek warmth as feeling cold or chilly increases the pain. Homeopathic pellets can be purchased at most health food stores. Buy the Rhus tox in a 6C potency and give it to the dog twice a day for three days. Homeopathics should be given away from food. The best way to get your dog to take it is to put three of the pellets in a teaspoon from your regular cutlery (do not touch the pellets but drop them directly from the container into the spoon) and place another teaspoon on top. Crush the pellets between the two spoons. Remove the top spoon and allow the crushed pellets to slide from the bottom spoon into your dog’s mouth. They are made from a lactose base so they will taste good and dissolve immediately on your dog’s tongue. After the initial three day dosing as mentioned above, observe if your dog’s stiffness has lessened. If so, do not give further Rhus tox unless the stiffness returns. Then repeat the dosing as stated above. If the remedy made no difference to your dog’s stiff legs, then he may need to see a qualified homeopathic practitioner who works with animals in order to take a full case history and prescribe the remedy that will suit your dog’s specific needs.

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