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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16303
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My dog became suddenly ill over night. Its been 2 days and

Customer Question

Hi there. My dog became suddenly ill over night. Its been 2 days and he appears to have lost all strength in his hind legs. Also he cannot control his blatter.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before.Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner. If you would still like assistance, can you tell me:

Can Cujo move his legs on his own at all? Can he feel them if you touch or pinch his toes?

Do you mean he is just dribbling urine?

When did he start the steroids and pain medication?

Did his vet see him since this started? What tests were done?

Has he responded to the medication at all?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi there. He is dribbling urine. He had a follow up and the vet said because of his age, possible causes were not good. He was given x rays, tramadol, prednisolone. He is more responsive than before. He is dragging his hind legs behind him though. He appears to have no sensation.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The meds were started on saturday.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also he is a rescued animal. I picked him up and started the first set of shots. I was told he was about 9 mths old. He is due for his second set but the vet did not want to give him his second set due to his illness
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

That is reasonable to hold off on his injections with what is currently going on.

Now if he has no sensation and is dribbling urine, I am quite concerned about Cujo. The reason is because these signs along with loss of back leg use raises major worries of spinal issues. Common causes involving the spine that could appear this way is spinal trauma (less likely unless he had a serious fall or was hit by a car prior to this), disc disease (ie rupture, protrusion from vertebrae) causing spinal compression, or masses (ie abscesses, tumors, etc) compressing the spine. We could potentially also see this with brain based infections, but usually they won't have just hind leg and bladder signs.

In this case, we really need to tread with care and be proactive. If he has no feeling in those back legs, that tends to be an urgent sign. Especially if he hasn't responded to the steroids (which should be reducing inflammation). In cases like these, we tend to need to get a veterinary neurologist involved and have an MRI +/- spinal tap. This would allow us to see what was affecting the spinal cord and whether it was something we could treat (ie discs can be surgically addressed, infections treated with antibiotics, etc). Further to this, I would note that if he has lost bladder function and is dribbling, we at the very least need to have his local vet show you how to express his bladder (since leaving it to fill to the point of dribbling could also be overstretching and damaging the bladder).

Overall, this is a serious situation for poor Cujo. If you have just adopted him, you may want to speak to the local shelter about what to do (ie will they help with costs, have a vet that would see him, etc) but with his signs we are looking at a serious spinal issue and need to consider seeing a neurologist if he isn't responding to the steroids and has loss of sensation already.

Please take care,

Dr.B.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He seems to be in pain but is eating and drinking. Ive been reading on distemper. Do u think that might be a possible cause. I have other dogs that i am concerned about and would hate for them to suffer like this little guy.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

If he is painful, then that does again fit with disc issues especially (they are often painful and then loose sensation). That said, we cannot rule out distemper at his age and with his background. Though it doesn't quite fit with the characteristics of that disease. Yet, it would be a concern, something to test for, and enough of a reason that we'd want to isolate this poor lad from any other dogs (and use good hygiene after handling him to reduce any risk of spread).

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My funds are rath e r limited. I do take care of my animals and am very good as far as thier vaccinations. But i think the tr reatment he requires is out of my scope. In ur professional expierience, would it be better to put him down or try and keep the meds going. I hate seeing him in the pain that he is in. :(
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much. It is very appreciated. I just had nowhere else to turn.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

I appreciate that and really this isn't the kind of situation one would want to face just after adopting on a dog. This is why I did mention contacting the rescue (as some will cover costs for conditions that appear suddenly post-adoption). Otherwise, we can give the medication a few more days (but we'd need his vet to show you how to express his bladder for the meantime) but otherwise if he didn't respond, while I hate to even have to say it, we'd have to consider euthanasia under the circumstances.

Best wishes for Cujo,

Dr. B.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

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