Skye Limp, also known as Puppy Limp, is most common in the Skye Terrier breed, hence the name. Skye Terriers are achondroplastic dogs, which means they are actually a full sized dog - just on dwarf limbs. The Skye Terrier is very long and rather sturdy and stocky throughout the body, but they do have the dwarf or very small legs. This means that the growing puppy has a lot of weight to carry on their short legs and often the distal radial growth plates close too soon, resulting in painful movement while the puppy is young and growing. The good news is that this condition is not life long and most puppies will grow out of Skye limp or puppy limp by the time they are 8 months to one year old. Other breeds of dogs, particularly large or giant breeds such as the Great Dane, St. Bernard, Mastiff, German Shepherd or even the Labrador may occasionally have the condition. Since this lameness is caused by lots of exercise and rapid weight gain, any puppy overfed or that is exercised very strenuously during its growth phase of 5-12 months is more prone to the condition than puppies from the same litter that have less strenuous exercise and a more balanced diet.
Puppy limp in general goes by several different names including long bone disease, pano, growing pains or the more medically correct term of Panosteitis. Both male and female puppies can develop puppy limp although it is usually more common in the heavier boned males. Puppies may develop the limp anytime around the four to five month range, and the conditions may come and go and shift from leg to leg. Both the front and back legs can be affected, either at the same time or at different times. Often the limp is much more pronounced after strenuous exercise.
For Skye Terriers the worse cause of puppy limp is jumping up and down and long bouts of high level exercise. For large and giant breeds it is often a combination of too high of a protein food that is allowing the puppies to grow too quickly as well as the added stress of high levels of exercise. Exercise is very important for puppies, but it must be low to moderate level for the most part, not high intensity types of activities. Running, rough playing and racing or jumping up should be minimal in the daily routine and walking, short, frequent amounts of playing and hiking should be the largest part of the daily routine. Puppies should not jump up and down off furniture, rather provide them with a ramp or puppy stairs to get up on the couch or bed, if you are going to allow them on the furniture at all!
Puppy limp or Skye limp can be confirmed through x-rays where the vet can see the closure of the growth plates. Pain management through aspirin or phenylbutazone drug treatments can be used to help the puppy, although limiting exercise and changing to a lower protein diet is often all that is needed. Puppies with a history of puppy limp should not be jogging companions for their owners until they are fully mature at one to two years or age, depending on the breed. Occasionally other serious bone conditions and muscle and neurological diseases can mimic puppy limp, so be sure to have your puppy examined by a vet at the first sign of a problem.