top of page

Carpal Laxity Syndrome aka Knuckling over.

What is it?

The Flexor and extensor muscles are known to be weaker which causes hyperextension and Hyperflexion. Bone growth is quicker than required, therefore muscles are shorter causing the curved structure the forelegs. Usually only seen the forelegs but has been noted the hind can also be subject to the temporary deformation.

What Causes it?

The underlying cause of carpal laxity has not been definitively determined, but many theories have been proposed. Potential causes include nutritional factors (specifically excessive caloric intake and/or excessive calcium intake), genetic factors, and being raised on slippery flooring surfaces”. Carpal Laxity in Puppies | VCA Animal Hospital (

Who is at risk?

Large breed puppies are more susceptible, however many puppies going into rescue and those who have not had a balanced age-appropriate feeding regime will then find themselves on a better-quality diet and then often can show signs. Signs begin a week or 2 of being in rescue / new home from my observations as a professional. This lending to a theory that the sudden change in diet triggers a “Over-Nutrition” type response within the canine body and creating unbalanced growth. However, these pups are likely just receiving a better balance in nutrition.

Diagnosis and treatment:

Your vet will Diagnose your puppy with Carpal Laxity syndrome by performing a Physical Exam. They may also Suggest x-rays to rule out any fractures or further damage. You pup may receive a Blood screening to look for further causes and also to assess the nutrition status. In extreme cases support wrapping and splints may be recommended.

Nutritional Changes, Massage and passive range of motion exercises may be suggested.

Holistic Treatments

Nutritional examination:

Raw Feeding and additives

You will likely need to keep your pup on the lighter side of weight but without adding unnecessary calcium and use natural calcium sources such as Raw meaty bones like Chicken and duck necks, wings and wing tips (Breed and eating style needs to be considered) you will need healthy proteins such as Lamb, Pork, Turkey, Beef, Kangaroo and/or Heart to feed the muscles and uncooked fats often organ fats are a good choice for the energy source.

Vit D.

Vitamin D for dogs cannot be absorbed by the sun. This means that availability is strictly food based, to be able to absorb calcium and deposit it correctly throughout the body a dog will need a healthy balance of vit D and Calcium in its meals. Vit D can be toxic in very large doses to dogs as it is not easily expelled and accumulates in the fat cells, so do not use Synthetic supplements without veterinary advice. Foods that are high in Vit D are: Salmon, Herring, Pork loin, Anchovy, Eggs, Raw goat milk, Mussels.


Augments the stored Calcium release from the Sarcoplasmic reticulum (Sack like membranes within the muscle cells that controls the balance between storage, release and reuptake). This action improves skeletal muscle performance. Great sources of Selenium are green Lipped Mussels, Oysters, Pork kidneys, Lamb Liver are all high in selenium.

Vit C-

Vitamin C helps Vitamin D to be more absorbable in the gut. Vitamin C also plays a role in collagen production and slows bone and cartilage, degradation and atrophy of muscles, tendon and ligaments and also aids the absorption of Iron. Options for Vitamin C are, Kakadu plum, Parsley, Rosehips, Lung, Spleen and Brain.


Methyl Sulphonyl Methane can support by allowing permeability of the cells, thus allowing all nutrients and minerals to be absorbed and also for toxins and build up to be expelled more easily. MSM also helps with any pain and Inflammation while working on a cellular level to repair any scar tissue caused by the deformation. Be sure to not use MSM mixed with product such a Glucosamine or Chondroitin as that means the calcium content will likely be due to the bone sources used.

Massage Therapy –

Ideally undertaken by a professional to begin with to ensure correct strokes and pressure are laid. Massage can help to increase flexibility and release muscle tension beginning in the forelegs, shoulders, neck and along the back, the hind legs and hip may be affected due to deferring pain and from extra usage.

Massage also helps with circulation of blood and removal of toxins and lymphatic drainage. Certain strokes can also help muscle retraction and encourage growth and decrease any atrophy due to minimal use by manipulating the muscles. Your therapist can also show you how to gently stretch your Dogs legs and assess ROM (Range of Motion), which is important to keep all muscles relaxed and supple whilst flexible during repairing time. You want these to happen multiple times per day just to ensure maximum benefits are available.

Canine Conditioning and training

You will want to avoid any excessive exercise or training with your dog until you notice it fixing itself. You can still continue basic training and ensure they are on non-slippery and softer surfaces to minimize impact, are limited to rough play or intense interactions with siblings or mates. If they are old enough, you can introduce them to water as swimming and wading in shallow water can reduce any pressure and allow free movement and usage of muscles and unique muscles that dogs on land do not actively use.

Chevelle Williams, CMFT, HCN, DipCanCom, DipAniRei, DipMBSR.


This information is not intended to replace veterinary treatment and I recommend all modifications, additions and subtractions to dogs and cats’ diet are to be mentioned or discuss with to your treating Vet especially when already on medications.

Recent Posts

See All

Spondylosis Deformans in dogs and cats

What is it? Spondylosis is where bone spurs or osteophytes that are calcium deposits and attempted new bone growth grow from the spine. This is due to the abnormal movement and wear to the Thoracic ve

Canines and Cushings

Cushing’s and dogs Cushing’s Syndrome is a disorder caused by the body’s high expression or exposure to the hormone cortisol also known as the stress hormone. Causes for triggering Cushing’s are often


bottom of page