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Vet help
Vet help, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2736
Experience:  12 yrs experience as a small animal veterinarian; 21 yrs exp. in the animal care field
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my dog has lost mobility and strength in his back right leg.

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my dog has lost mobility and strength in his back right leg. he does have a tumor on inside of that leg that is the size of a golf ball. His inability to walk on that right leg came on sudden what do you think it is??
Thank you for your question. I would like to help with Champ's health issue but will need some additional information.

How long has the tumor been present on that leg?

Has your vet assessed the tumor, and if so, what did he say what the mass most likely was?

What was your boy doing right before he came up lame in the leg?

Aside from the lameness, how is Champ doing?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have not taking him to the vet yet. The tumor has been growing for several years. He was laying down outside., I called him tocome in and he was alot slower than usual and then I noticed he was very wobblely on both back legs. he made it into the house and immeediately (sp) sat down. His nose is wet he is eating his treats. And when I palpated his hind quarters no signs of pain I also ran my hand along his lower back no pain ( no crying or whimpering ) When he tries to get up from a sitting position he is straining then when he gets up his right leg and somewhat of his left are very weak and unstable.
Thank you for the additional information.

If the tumor has been growing for years, it is likely not related to the issues you are seeing tonight. My guess would be that it is a lipoma- a fatty tumor that does not cause any problems other than to look a little unpleasant.

Given that the issue seems to be affecting both hindlegs, but the right to a greater extent, this is likely either a hip issue or a spinal cord issue.
American Bulldogs are a breed predisposed to Canine Hip Dysplasia. In general, acute exacerbations of hip issues occur when the dog is more active than usual or is active for a longer period of time than usual. Somewhat similar to the first time at the gym after you haven't worked out for a long time.

There are a few spinal cord-related causes of sudden onset of difficulty with the hind legs.

1. Intervertebral disk disease- These are the "shock absorbers" between the bones of the spine.
Sometimes they will slip or explosively move upwards impacting the spinal cord and causing inflammation. The inflammation interferes with nerve signals to the legs. If only his hindlegs are affected, then usually the problem lies between the 3rd thoracic (beginning of rib cage) and 3rd lumbar (just beyond rib cage) vertebra.
Depending upon the severity of the spinal cord compression, the dog may be partially lame or could be completely paralyzed.
Paralysis of the hindlegs indicates that the inflammation is severe and the longer it is left unaddressed, the more damage will be done to the spinal cord.
Intervertebral disk disease is common in the American Bulldog.

2. Diskospondylitis- this is the result of an infection (bacteria or fungus) within the vertebra and/or intervertebral disk. These dogs are very painful, and usually have a fever. Large breed dogs, like American Bulldogs, are most often affected. Antibiotics, pain medication, and intensive supportive care are required.

3. Fibrocartilaginous emboli- a piece of material (usually disk) breaks off and causes injury to the spinal cord. These dogs often will improve on their own with appropriate supportive care.
Some dogs are also suspectible to a condition called lumbosacral stenosis, which results in a narrowing of the spinal column and compression of the nerves of the lower back.

A tumor pressing against the spinal column would cause a similar issue.

It's also important to rule out toxins, such as antifreeze toxicity, since these can result in an ataxic (wobbly, drunken) gait in the initial stages.

Ideally, an emergency vet visit is recommended in order to figure out what is wrong and trying to get him up again.
The vet will likely take x-rays, and then discuss treatment options based on the diagnosis. The sooner you have him seen, the better chance he will have.

If there is absolutely no way that you can take him to a vet, then providing supportive care and waiting is really all that can be done. He needs a large amount of padding to help prevent rub sores on pressure points like the hips and knees.
His hind end should be rotated every couple of hours so as to avoid too much pressure on one side of his body for an extended period of time.
He will need to be kept clean with pee pads to collect urine and stool, and spot washing as need to prevent urine scalding or fecal material build-up.
His food and water will need to be brought to him.
If he is not too painful, you can do some physical therapy to prevent muscle and joint contracture (inability to bend). Passive range of motion exercises to gently flex and extend each joint to promote joint fluid production and keep the joints limber.
Lifting him up with a sling is ill-advised at the moment, since we don't know the cause of the problem. If it is a disk, this could result in worsening of the condition.

Any insult to the spinal cord is best addressed immediately to enhance the chances of a favorable prognosis. If possible, Champ should be seen on an emergency basis.

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