How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Vet help Your Own Question

Vet help
Vet help, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2597
Experience:  9 yrs experience as a small animal veterinarian; 19 yrs exp. in the animal care field
883989
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Vet help is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

can ataxia in dogs be treated with b vitamins at what strength

Resolved Question:

can ataxia in dogs be treated with b vitamins?
at what strength for a 7 lb Shih Tzu?
Submitted: 4 years ago via lowchenaustralia.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Vet help replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your post. I'd like to try to help but will need some additional information first.

 

When did Squeaki develop the ataxia?

 

Are all four limbs affected or just the rear?

 

Does she exhibit head tremors or intention tremors (head shaking when trying to eat/drink or focus on something)?

 

When sitting up, does she sway back and forth, or are the signs absent?

 

Has your vet perfomed a physical exam or any diagnostic testing? If so, what were the results?

 

The additional information will be most helpful in allowing us to answer your question more completely.

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

she started getting very noticeable within the last 3 months.

 

All 4 limbs are affected but the rear legs are worse

 

I haven't noticed head tremors yet

 

I don't think she sways when sitting normally

I haven't tried to get her siitting up on her hind quarters.

 

what he did was hold her dangling and try to get her to place her feet on the table.

She acts like she doesn't feel the touch of the table and doesn't react at all. Front feet and back feet

 

 

Expert:  Vet help replied 4 years ago.

In general, there are 3 different types of ataxia. Since you are not seeing head tremors, intention tremors, or a truncal sway, it is less likely that a vestibular or cerebellar ataxia is the cause of Squeaki's problem.

This means that it is probably a sensory or proprioceptive ataxia. In this condition, the spinal cord is being compressed and the nerve signals sent from the spinal cord are not reaching the limbs as they should. The result of the placing exercise that your vet performed is consistent with this type of ataxia. Proprioceptive deficits (inability to know where the limbs are in space due to disruption of nerve signals from the peripheral nerves in the limbs to the spinal cord) are one of the earliest signs we see with progressive compression of the spinal cord. Weakness of the limbs may also be seen.

Since all 4 legs are affected, the problem is most likely involving the cervical vertebrae (the ones higher up in her neck, before the start of the rib cage).

 

Possible causes of Squeaki's problem include:

1. Hemivertebrae- these are abnormally shaped vertebral bodies that can result in kyphosis (dorsal deviation of the spinal column) or lordosis (ventral deviation of the spinal column). These can often be detected with careful palpation of the spinal column. The abnormal deviation can cause compression of the spinal cord, thereby impeding nerve signals. Hemivertebrae are most common in chondrodysplastic breeds (smoosh- faced, twisty legged dogs such as your Shih-Tzu). These dogs can start off normally, then as they are developing/growing the hemivertebrae causes a progressive compression of the cord and subsequent neurologic signs.

 

2. Intervertebral disk disease- a disk between the vertebrae butts up into the spinal column and causes inflammation of the spinal cord. This is a condition more commonly seen in dogs with elongated backs; chondrodystrophic breeds like Shih Tzus are also pre-disposed.

 

3. Atlanto-axial subluxation- absence or underdevelopment of the dens, a structure on the 2nd cervical vertebra, causes instability between the 1st and 2nd cervical vertebrae resulting in spinal cord compression. More common in small breed dogs.

 

4. Infectious problems such as discospondylitis or myelitis. These animals are typically sick, however. Fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, and significant pain are common signs. If Squeaki is not experiencing this, it would be less likely in her case.

 

5. Tumors- pretty rare overall, and very rare in young dogs.

 

As to your question, B vitamins won't hurt, but unfortunately I don't think they are going to help in this case.

Your very best bet is to be referred to a veterinary radiologist who can perform a myelogram. This involves injecting dye into the spinal column to outline the area of compression of the spinal cord. Surgical correction of the problem is the best fix.

Plain radiographs, that can be done at your local vet, would help to rule out abnormally shaped vertebrae, lordosis or kyphosis.

 

I hope this information was helpful and that you are able to find help for Squeaki.

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Could it have been caused by an injury as other dogs roughing her up. When I noticed there was a problem, a couple of more aggressive dogs were picking on her. I no longer let her out with any dogs except very laid back individuals.
Expert:  Vet help replied 4 years ago.

Yes, trauma can cause instability of an intervertebral disk or exacerbate an existing issue in the cervical spine, such as a disk problem or atlanto-axial subluxation.

 

Vet help, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2597
Experience: 9 yrs experience as a small animal veterinarian; 19 yrs exp. in the animal care field
Vet help and other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
< Last | Next >
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Debbie

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    902
    Companion animal veterinarian practicing for over 10 years.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DE/debkatreyn/2011-11-28_33650_682e.64x64.jpg Dr. Debbie's Avatar

    Dr. Debbie

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    902
    Companion animal veterinarian practicing for over 10 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    13796
    UC Davis graduate, emphasis in dermatology, internal medicine, pain management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/doggfone1/2009-07-16_133633_vet_pic.jpg Dr. Scott's Avatar

    Dr. Scott

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    9550
    12 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet medicine and surgery.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    7758
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AN/andrewDVM/2012-4-27_12585_iStock000011751407XSmall.64x64.jpg Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    6598
    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    6377
    13 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BI/bigislandvet/2013-2-21_214244_IMG0357.64x64.JPG Dr. Michael Salkin's Avatar

    Dr. Michael Salkin

    Big Island Vet

    Satisfied Customers:

    6049
    University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 41 yrs. of experience.