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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24422
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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i just noticed my dog is having trouble using his back legs.

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i just noticed my dog is having trouble using his back legs. he is approx 6 months old and is shitzu x XXXXX XXXXX. he doesnt show signs of pain when i pick him up or touch his legs or back. it started since this morning.
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Hi - Six months of age is quite young for our dogs to suffer from serious spinal disease (degenerative disk disease, e.g.) which would manifest as an ataxic (drunken walk) dog or a paretic (weak limbed) dog. A congenital (present at birth) spinal defect could should up at this age, however. Could you tell me, please, what you're seeing that makes you say "having trouble using his back legs"?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
at first i thought it might have been broken because it seemed he was avoiding stepping with his back right leg but when he tried to climb a step he got his front legs up but when he tried to jump off his back legs it was like they just gave way and he fell onto his bum. when he sits its directly on his bottom and his legs arent beneath him. he is usually extremely active and always running around. now he is slowly limping when he does move and its only the back legs that seems affected. its kind of like when your leg falls asleep and you cant keep stable.
Thank you! Do you happen to have the ticks that cause tick paralysis in your part of Australia?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
no. they are extremely rare to find where i am and i havent found one on him.
I almost hoped that you were looking at a tick paralysis. It's cured simply by removing the tick. Other than a congenital defect in his spinal cord we would consider the rare polyradiculoneuritis (a widespread neuropathy), the early stages of botulism (also quite rare) and fulminant myasthenia gravis (rather unlikely). Winnie is going to have to see his vet ASAP. If this is an inflammatory problem - if pressure is being placed on his spinal cord by disk material or a spinal deformity - he'll need potent antiinflammatory medication promptly. I would suspect that his vet will want to take X-rays of his pelvis/hips and spine prior to treatment. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
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