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Dr. Matt
Dr. Matt, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  DVM - 11 years experience in canine medicine and surgery.
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My dogs back legs are not working well, she seems scared and

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My dog's back legs are not working well, she seems scared and can barely walk. Her eyes are twitching back and forth and she just vomitted a little food and mostly stomach acids. She wants to wander but really can't keep herself up, both back legs failing and almost falling sideways. was breathing heavy.

She is a 11ish (we adopted her when she was two-ish, they did not know for sure), Sheltie/Shepherd mix.
She has had a slight limp in her front leg for a while and shakes generally when resting. She is now on a pillow wrapped in a blanket next to me, breathing more shallowly now.

She does not seem to be in pain. A few years ago she was injured and she recovered but she cries easily when in pain.

I can't afford to take her to emergency vet after hours and when I have done that in the past they just ran a bunch of test and did not know.

It sounds neurological to me. She is a lot slower than she used to be and isn't able to follow verbal directions as much any more.

How do I know if she is dying?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 2 years ago.
Hello - I am Dr. Matt - I would be glad to help you with your question.

Is she tilting her head to one side?

Does she ever have ear infections?

Has she ever had any other medical problems recently?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No, I don't think she was tilting her head.
She does not have an ear infection, but her ears have always bothered her even though checked.
Only recent helath issues were limping in her front right paw past few months. shaking legs when lying down.
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information.

The most common disorder that can cause the symptoms you are describing is called Geriatric Vestibular Disease. This is a fairly common disorder in older dogs similar to vertigo in people. This is very scary to see in dogs though the good news is that almost all dogs have a very good prognosis of returning back to normal after about 7-10 days. The eye movements and the vomiting are the signs that tell me that this is not a stroke. Vestibular disease in older dogs does not have an exact known cause though an inner ear problem is suspected. The eye movements or nystagmus and the vomiting typically resolve in 1-2 days.

The trouble walking and regaining balance will take a little longer to improve though should be back to normal within 7 days at the most. Bloodwork is always recommended to make sure there is not any other problems that exist though this is not absolutely necessary. At this point supportive care is going to be the most important way to help her. Make sure that you have padding where she lays and make sure she is brought or hand fed food for a couple of days until she can eat and drink on her own.


Overall this is very scary but has a good prognosis. Hang in their and next week she should be better.

Hope this helps - please reply if you have any other questions.
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 2 years ago.
Did you have any other questions that I can help you with? I want to make sure that your question is answered completely. If I have provided a helpful answer please do not hesitate to click on the accept, as this is the only way I am compensated for my time. Thank you so much in advance!
Dr. Matt, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5345
Experience: DVM - 11 years experience in canine medicine and surgery.
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