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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24454
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Her back legs are weak & she is panting, No, I don't see

Customer Question

Her back legs are weak & she is panting
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: No, I don't see anything
JA: The Veterinarian will ask you more detailed questions to find out what is causing this. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Fifi and she is 3 years old
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Fifi?
Customer: She is a Shih Tzu and her stomach feels warm and she is panting like she is thirsty.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Please let me know if you still need help. Fifi's symptoms of hind leg weakness and panting aren't pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular disorder but I would be concerned with the pain associated with degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk") in a 3 year old Shih Tzu.

Supportive evidence of a disk may include vocalizing when approached or lifted, having trouble jumping up or down and navigating steps, ataxia (“drunken sailor”), trembling/shaking (pain responses), a change in posture such as the neck held rigidly and head lower to the ground or a"hunch" in his back, and a change in behavior - a normally social dog becoming aloof or, conversely, a normally aloof dog becoming "clingy". Fifi's vet will want to carefully palpate (feel) about your Fifi's spine looking for areas of hyperpathia (increased sensitivity) suggestive of a disk. Conservative care involves the use of a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as carprofen or meloxicam, a narcotic analgesic such as tramadol, and a skeletal muscle relaxant such as methocarbamol or diazepam. These drugs are usually administered for at least ten days. Most simple disks will remiss within a few weeks. It's important to keep these dogs as quiet as possible lest they hurt themselves further.

Should paresis (weakness) or paralysis arise in any limb(s), she'll need the attention of his vet at your earliest convenience. Such dogs are then surgical candidates for spinal cord decompression. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.