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Dr. L
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Why Can't My Dog Jump?

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My dog is a youthful 10 year Shih Tzu. My dog is typically active, jumping up and down on the sofa, etc. I fear something is wrong with her internally, because she can't jump up on the sofa anymore. She assumes the jumping position but acts like it is too high to jump. Even when I tempt her with a treat on the sofa, she won't jump. She pads her front feet on the floor up and down, trying her hardest, but can't seem to jump. She also has a hard time lifting her body to my knee when I am squatting down. She seems to walk normally for short distances, but can't walk as far as she used to. Her appetite is good. She was fine a few hours ago.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. L replied 8 years ago.

So is this a really recent development? Does she show any discomfort if you press on her belly or back?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Yes, this is a recent development. Last evening she jumped up on our bed to sleep. Two hours later she jumped off the bed onto the carpet, and a few minutes later she wanted to go back up onto our bed, but couldn't jump up. All day today I tempted her with treats and she still refuses to jump.

I have checked for soreness in her belly, and there is none.

Expert:  Dr. L replied 8 years ago.

A couple more questions then. Can you find any discomfort, or have you seen any limping in any of her legs? Is she showing any other symptoms (poor appetite, lethargy in general, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, or other)?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

She has no visible signs of discomfort and she doesn't limp. She is rather lethargic, and her temperature (rectal) is 100 degrees farenheit.

When I took her out for a walk tonight she walked normal for 1 1/2 city blocks and then she stopped and begged me to carry her. (She normally walks 6 blocks). As soon as I picked her up she started shivering. I put her under my winter coat and carried her all the way home. She shivered the whole way. She was wearing her doggy coat and it is around 35 today. She should have been warm enough.

Expert:  Dr. L replied 8 years ago.

Excellent job with the temp:)
The major problems I would worry about are very different, so I will go through each separately.
The first would be a disc problem. Many dogs have spinal discs that slowly herniate, cause discomfort, and aren't causing any visible limping yet. They are painful, and trembling can be a sign of pain as well as cold or fear. Sometimes signs of a disc problem can be found on exam with special neurological tests, and/or pressing upward on the belly, as the discs usually herniate downward.
A heart problem would also be on the list, given her age and breed. Heart problems cause lower body temperatures (she is borderline low), as well as lethargy. Leaky valves due to degeneration as the pup ages is the most common problem in this breed, but other factors may also be at work. Often times the heart compensates to a certain point, and can no longer do so. This is when changes are noted by mom and dad.
Hormonal problems certainly do seem to come on suddenly at around this age. Hypothyroidism, or Cushing's disease can both cause lethargy, exercise intolerance, and coldness.
It is possible that she has some other condition, but it does not sound like it, based on her temperature and signs.
I would recommend getting her to her regular vet this week, but as long as she continues to eat well, maintains her temp between 100 and 102, and all else is okay, it doesn't sound like you need to get to an ER. Another thing to watch out for would be her breathing, in case it is a heart problem. Rapid breathing when she hasn't been exercising, coughing, or effort as seen by "belly breathing" would be things to watch for.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thanks for your help tonight.

If she damaged a disc when she jumped off the bed last night, will she recover from this type of injury? Will she experience any problems with bodily functions (constipation, etc.) if she cannot walk her normal 6 blocks to do her business?

We have noticed that at rest, her breathing is very shallow. At times, it appears she quits breathing for awhile. You indicated rapid breathing was a sign of heart problems. What does shallow breathing indicate?

Expert:  Dr. L replied 8 years ago.

It could indicate the same thing, fluid build up in the chest not allowing full inhalation or exhalation. If there is further suspicion of heart problems on exam, an ultrasound would reveal the type of heart disease and guide the medicines used to help it.
If it is a disc, medical and surgical options are available. Surgery is more of a permanent fix, but of course carries anesthetic risks. It would depend on the radiology findings. Medical options relieve symptoms, but yes, it could potentially interfere with bm's and urinating, as well as back leg function.

Dr. L,
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