My dog seems to be losing control in his back legs.. our vet wasn't very helpful, does anybody have an idea?
My dog is a 9 year old pure bred pug, no inbreeding as far as anybody knows. He has had no health issues up until this point, and this set in very quickly. Usually during the winter he slows down a little bit since we can't walk him as far in -30 degree weather, but lately he has been very tired. I noticed he was sleeping a lot, and just thought maybe he had caught a dog cold or something. But now he can hardly lift his back legs! I carried him down stairs so he could go outside and pee, but when he tried to lift his leg he barely could do it, and put it right back down. Once I saw this, I took him into his vet. They checked him for a slipped disk, and in the end noticed he has arthritis in his spine. They attributed everything to that, but didn't seem too certain. The pain meds they prescribed him don't seem to be helping, and tonight he was slipping and tripping over his left hind leg! He has always walked with a slight waddle, but now when he leans to his left leg he falls onto his side.. He was totally fine a couple of weeks ago! They also noticed one of his kidneys is enlarged, so we're going to take him back in and get that checked over, but I'm just really scared because now he is having a really difficult time walking. I think it is a slipped disk, but I'm not a vet so I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this and maybe thinks it might be something else.
- BootsLv 75 years agoFavorite Answer
You have an older dog. Arthritis was a reasonable first diagnosis. Your vet did the right thing by going with the most likely diagnosis and conservative treatment.
Since the arthritis meds have not helped, that means there may be something else going on.
You need to make another appointment with your vet and take your dog back. This time, your vet may want to do more expensive testing such as blood work or x rays.
Since dogs can't talk and tell us what is going on with them, sometimes a condition has to be diagnosed by process of elimination. A good vet will start with the most common conditions and be mindful of your budget. It sounds like you have a good vet. You've given the pain meds time to work and are seeing no improvement. That means, you need to go back and be prepared to pay for more expensive testing.
A couple of weeks ago I took my 12.5 year old boy to the vet because he was favoring his back leg. I figured it was arthritis and best to check it out. The vet agreed and we put him on anti-inflammatory medication. After 4 days on the meds, he was not better and was even worse, feeling lethargic. I took him back and the vet suggested blood work. Based on the blood work at that visit, the vet recommended an abdominal x-ray. When that was done, it was determined he had end stage cancer and his body was failing. I don't tell you this to scare you. But merely to illustrate how a good vet works. The first vet visit cost me $24 office visit. The second $245. Had it just been arthritis, there was no need to incur the blood work and xray when an office visit and a course of meds would have solved the problem. When that did not work, we knew we needed to look deeper and do additional testing.
- Anonymous5 years ago
When arthritis sets in they can have sudden onset flares that makes it darn near impossible for me to move about. I'm surprised if the vet thought it was all due to arthritis they didn't put the dog on any steroids at all. Pain meds will help with the pain but not the mobility.
If you think it's a slipped disk and don't agree with the vet, get a second opinion, vets are only human and occasionally they can make a mistake or not catch something when they look. With a second opinion. Let the vet know what your vet did and ask them if they have any other options such as rest or something to help with the arthritis besides straight pain meds. Who knows it could be just a punched nerve in the spine also. When dogs get older they do get degenerative arthritis in the joints and in ear hips and spine, it's a good possibility your dog has that but I'm not a vet and cannot tell just by your description sorry.
- Karen LLv 75 years ago
Another possibility is degenerative myelopathy. My last dog had it. Pugs aren't a breed that are prone to it at all, but neither was mine.
It's when the spinal cord degenerates so it no longer passes messages on to the back legs, and eventually to the rest of the dog. It is, unfortunately, impossible to diagnose by any test that can be done on a living dog. Diagnosing it is a process of eliminating other possibilities. It was some months before the vet and I decided that it must be what my dog had. I passed on doing all the expensive scans and X-rays, because it didn't look to me like my dog was suffering at all, and in time it became clear what was wrong. We tried Tramadol and we tried Metacam, to see if pain or inflammation was the problem, and neither made any difference.
One test my vet did was to turn under the toes of one hind foot so they faced backwards, while the dog was standing. A dog with full feeling in its toes may not even let you do that at all, or will resist. A dog with lack of feeling will not only easily let you do it but may keep standing with its toes turned backwards. My dog was female so she didn't have to lift a leg to pee, but she did start to have trouble balancing when squatting to pee or poop.
She lost co-ordination so she didn't run very well when she tried, and one leg was worse than the other. That one would give out if she tried to turn a corner on it. It gave her an odd gait, because the front legs were moving normally but the back legs didn't co-ordinate with the front legs.
The bad news about this problem is that there simply is no fix for it. The good news is that it doesn't hurt. My dog was in good spirits until the very very last minute. I had her put to sleep when things just got too difficult for her.
- O ManLv 65 years ago
There is no way we could tell based on what info youve given us. ZUnfortunately without having training in vet medicine, and having the tools to do tests etcx we can only take wild guesses that could be right or wrong. Maybe get a second opinion from another vet. Not all vets are equally good. Regardly this animal needs to be diagnosed by a qualified vet, not someone off yahoo answers who cannot do the necessary physical exam/tests over the net.
- How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
- ?Lv 75 years ago
if you do not trust your vet .........then find another to give your dog health care