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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24396
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My Beagle that's 11 years old is having trouble getting up

Customer Question

Customer: My Beagle that's 11 years old is having trouble getting up after lying down. He's been not himself for months but was always able to get up. He eventually does get up but, is very slow and the paws drag a little when walking. If he stands in one spot he sort of starts to buckle his hind legs a little and doesn't want to move. He' eating drinking and going to the bathroom as normal as possible. He also has a little twitching going on, most noticeably with his head. The vet has said he has some type of neurological damage, but they've always said that about him from when he was young. What are your thoughts
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Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

I think he has more neurologic damage. Both encephalopathy (brain disorder) and myelopathy (spinal cord disorder) need to be considered but head twitching tells us that his brain is involved in the disease process. Degenerative myelopathy - a Lou Gehrig type of neurologic disorder - can first manifest in the spinal cord and then ascend up into the brain. Beagles aren't reocgnized as an at risk breed for this type of myelopathy, however, and so another type of ascending neuropathy such as polyradiculoneuritis or neoplasia (cancer) that has metastasized needs to be considered. In general, such a presentation can be a challenge to diagnose accurately without sophisticated testing in the form of MRI and perhaps cerebrospinal fluid analysis. This is performed by a specialist veterinary neurologist whom can be found here: www.acvim.org/ The prognosis for dogs such as he must necessarily be very guarded. The symptoms you've described are quite worrisome and progression of those symptoms is likely.

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