Advice on Looking for Orthopedist/What to Do with Corgi with Excessively Bowed Legs

A few weeks back  I posted asking for advice on what to do with Stanley, my 1 year old Cardigan Corgi, because he suddenly became VERY protective over his paws.  After all the great advice, I decided to listen and take him to the vet incase it was something related to his joints, hurting his paws, etc.  This became especially urgent when he kept limping on and off.


The vet did an exam, didn't find any obvious wounds but thought it was a good idea to do x-rays.  The x-rays came back and the radiologist told us that the problem is actually that due to some abnormalities in the growing period of his bones, his front legs are excessively bowed.  This has made the joint less stable so it's creating more strain (and probably pain) in his paws, legs and body.  On top of potentially starting a glucosamine regiment soon so we can try to mitigate the effects that way, they've suggested we see an orthopedist to consult about surgery.


Has anyone had to deal with this issue before?  Anything to watch for in orthopedists or generally about this condition?  Any advice for what questions to ask?  I'm really out of my depth in this case so any advice is appreciated.



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I don't have experience with surgery on it, but I know the vet said Jackson's legs are like that, and when he was a puppy they probably would have done surgery.  (if he had been with a responsible owner--he was in a puppy mill). 
Hi Natalie & Stanley!  Stanley is adorable.  Sorry to hear he's having a hard time.  If you got Stanley from a breeder, are they in your area? You may want to talk to them and see if they have any recommendations. (I would also think they would want to know about any health issues that have developed--if they are good breeders.)  I hope everything turns out OK.

Hi Sandy!


Excellent idea.  We did get Stanley from a breeder.  I sent them an email to let them know, especially since they just had another litter a couple months ago.  We also let my in-laws know since they have Stanley's litter mate.  We're hoping that we'll find that the surgeon will tell us there's no reason for surgery and to just put him on glucosamine or something and watch his weight.  Keeping our fingers crossed.

I agree, I would speak to the breeder if at all possible. I personally would get a second opinion from a corgi-savvy specialist too before I went to surgery. I have heard multiple stories of vets suggesting surgery to correct corgi hips and legs and then having it turn out that the vet was just not used to seeing typical corgi bone structure. In the mean time I would try to keep him thin and definitely start with the glucosamine. Do you have any pics by chance?
Best place to go for an orthopedist would be a veterinary school if they have any in your area. They usually have the newest, best options and world class surgeons on staff. I too would probably seek a second opinion as well with somebody who is familiar with corgi bone structure. You can usually "borrow" the x-rays from your vet and take them to another and not have to repay for a full set of x-rays. With orthpedists however, you likely will have to pay for a whole new set of diagnostics because they can get REALLY picky. I had a radiologist tell me Frankin's heart was enlarged and after having an ultrasound done and talking to a corgi familiar vet, we came to find that corgi hearts tend to look enlarged because of how they are built, but in reality it is normal for a corgi. Luckily at the time I worked somewhere where I got the ultrasound for free, otherwise it would have been about $500+ down the drain.

Hi Natalie, I personally would go for an orthopedist who's also PennHIP certified. I am not a big fan of relying on supplements, purity and it's lack of FDA regulation is a big concern for me, dealing with the root of the problem is my first choice, then resolve it with lifestyle and diet change, surgery is my last choice. I've worked with a human ortho surgeon 10 years ago, the question have always been "quality of life VS surgery", my belief is "don't cut open anything unless its absolutely necessary". If the pain is unbearable and a corrective surgery will take care of that, then by all means proceed.


Several years ago I've met a corgi at the FL picnic who've had corrective surgery, the dog kept up with the rest of the corgis and shown no signs of surgery. I've also met a cardi who has bow legs, opt to have no surgery and still doing just fine.

The thing is with these little cutie pies is that we love them so much that we don't want them  to be in pain and they are such happy little things that us humans sometimes can't tell.


Oh no, little Stanley the puppy I met at Cloud City Coffee?

Talk to Joanna Kimball -- she's a cardi breeder out east, she's on MyCorgi, has an extensive blog ('Ruffly Speaking' or something like that).

You might also ask Shepdog on MyCorgi -- she has 3 cardies and owns a pet store.

My point is that Cardi people may know more about Cardigans than some vets.  The Pem and Cardi wrist structure is a bit different, because of the dwarfing gene, and I believe that the Cardi wrist is notably different from the Pem.

Make sure you end up dealing with a vet who has some expertise with this breed.

I've heard from 2 independent sources that if you show a healthy Pem's hip X-rays to a typical vet/radiologist, they'll say, "hip dysplasia", because all Pems are borderline hip dysplastic and it doesn't matter.

I'm hoping you'll hear something like, "Wait a bit.  He'll grow out of it."


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