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 Dr. Kara Your Own Question

Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 9985
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience treating dogs, cats, mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, & iguanas
49838867
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Kara is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

my shih tzu is walking funny. he is arching his back, going

Resolved Question:

my shih tzu is walking funny. he is arching his back, going sideways some and crying
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I am so sorry to hear about Louie. I do need a little more information from you, no further charge but it will help me define better what is going on with your fellow.

Is he eating and drinking normally?
Is he eliminating normally? Any straining to pass stool or urine?
Is he hesistant to jump or go up or down stairs?

Did this seem to happen suddenly?

Any scooting on his bottom?
Thanks I appreciate your patience with my questions and I'll get back to you with recommendations once I've read your responses. It may take a few minutes so please be patient, Dr Kara

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I just got home so... as far as I know he's eating and drinking okay. haven't noticed a problem.


 


I haven't seen him go potty.


he is hesitant to jump.


no scooting.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Thanks very much for the response.

I am sorry to hear that you came home to find him this way, not a great way to start the weekend.

Because his appetite has been normal and he isn't scooting but is hesistant to jump I highly suspect that we are dealing with back pain.

Unfortunately Shih tzus as a breed are prone to a problem with their intervertebral discs which are the spongy cushions between the bones of the back. These spongy discs can move or rupture and place pressure upon the spinal cord which can lead to pain, and in severe cases paralysis.

Radiographs can sometimes be diagnostic but often early on in the disease process, because the discs are soft tissue not bone, everything will look normal. An MRI is the best way of diagnosing disc disease.

If the dog is painful but has no evidence of paralysis we can try strict rest, anti-inflammatories and pain medications for several weeks to allow healing.

If there is evidence or weakness or paralysis then surgery by a board certified veterinary neurologist, as soon as possible, is indicated.

Ideally he would see a veterinarian for an examination and some prescription medications, usually an anti-inflammatory, like Metacam, Rimadyl or Deramaxx but I highly recommend something for pain too, such as Tramadol. And if he is having painful muscle spasms then a muscle relaxant such as methocarbamol.

I understand that may not be possible tonight.

Starting now he should be closely confined. No stairs, running or jumping. If you have a crate for him I highly recommend using it. The less he moves around the more comfortable he will be and the faster he will heal. He should go out on a leash to relieve himself. You will need to confine him for several weeks, even as he starts to feel better or he may reinjure himself. When you take him out to eliminate make sure he is able to pass urine and stool without any problems.

You can also use a heating pad set on low to medium on his back for 5 to 10 minutes a few times tonight. This will help decrease the painful muscle spasms that go along with back pain.

Then I highly recommend that you have him examined tomorrow.

I also recommend using a harness rather than a collar in dogs with a history of back pain as they distribute forces more evenly and are less likely to lead to neck pain as well.

Keeping him on the thin side is recommended to decrease stress on his back.

If you are interested in reading more here is a link to an excellent article about intervertebral disc disease, its causes and therapy: http://www.petwave.com/Dogs/Dog-Health-Center/Bone-Joint-Muscle-Disorders/Intervertebral-Disk-Disease/Symptoms.aspx

There are other less common causes of back pain such as infections, tumors of the vertebrae or the spinal cord itself or fibrocartilagenous emboli but far and away disc disease if the most common cause of back pain in dogs.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok.


 


I forgot to answer two of your questions.


 


about two weeks ago he yelped out from just being touched on the right side of his head and then again last night. then the change in walking today and crying. it seems to come and go. in my lap, he twisted and pressed the side of his head against me. he seems to trying to be still as well.


 


does this help any?

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX

It tells me that it is likely he has been dealing with neck and back pain for a while. It wasn't really bad so it wasn't affecting him every day, all the time. That's very normal with disc disease in that if you have one bad disc you are likely to get more as time goes on. The pain can be very inconsistent at least initially; it can seem to come on very suddenly. You have to move just the right (or wrong) way for the pressure/pain to be felt so it makes sense that he would cry out with just the wrong pressure on his head/neck/back.

If he will sit quietly on your lap tonight that is fine too. But I really recommend strict rest tonight and an examination tomorrow.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok. I will take him. thank you

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome. Please let me know how things go for your fellow. You can reply back to me by coming back to this question by going to your "my questions" section of your account, clicking on this question and typing in the reply box. Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 9985
Experience: Over 20 years of experience treating dogs, cats, mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, & iguanas
Dr. Kara and 5 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


So, my vet agreed with you that it was a disk problem in his neck. He gave him two shots and a pill to give at home. all to help with the pain and swelling. Louie has been resting a lot. not really wanting to be active. he has stopping yelping and crying as of Monday night. I'm attaching a picture so you can see who he is. his buddy is our 12 yr old pom Trinity.


Attachments are only available to registered users.

Register Here

Attachments are only available to registered users.

Register Here

Attachments are only available to registered users.

Register Here
View Full Image

Attachments are only available to registered users.

Register Here

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the update on Louie and the great news that he's feeling more comfortable.

I'm glad to hear he's taking his instructions to rest seriously and it looks like his nurse Trinity is doing a great job supervising.

Best of luck with your pups, thanks again for taking the time to update me, Dr Kara.

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.
 
 
 

Related Dog Veterinary Questions