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Dr. K
Dr. K, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 7544
Experience:  13 years experience as Veterinarian
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My dog hurt his left back leg two weeks ago. Sprained it and

Resolved Question:

My dog hurt his left back leg two weeks ago. Sprained it and we've given him Aspirin and Hip and Joint snacks. He seemed to be getting better. Now he can't walk because both back legs seem to not be working. Whats wrong with my dog?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. K replied 6 years ago.

Dr. K :

How old is your dog?

Dr. K :

How did he sprain it two weeks ago?

Dr. K :

When did his other back leg start to become affected?

Customer:

Bolo is 10. I think he was chasing something in the backyard. Both his legs gave out today.

Customer:

why did it take over an hour to get notification of a response to my question? Now the expert is offline?

Dr. K :

No, I am not offline..I am right here...I am not sure why it said I am offline.

Dr. K :

Also...the time stamp on my view of the site says that you placed your question at 9:17 p.m. I responded at 9:32.

Dr. K :

Before today, he had absolutely no problem at all with his right hind leg?

Customer:

My time here is 5:32 p.m. - I just received text notification at 6:32 p.m.

Customer:

I notice his right hind leg not moving today.

Dr. K :

That is really strange....at the top of the window I am looking at...it says that this question was asked today at 9:17 p.m..... Anyway, can he move his legs at all, or are they both completely paralyzed?

Customer:

He can't move both his back legs. But he can get up using his front legs.

Dr. K :

If you squeeze his toes on his back legs...does he respond at all...or does he not seem to have any sensation?

Customer:

He's outside but he doesn't seem to be in pain. He's just dragging them.

Dr. K :

Yes...I understand that he can't move them at all. What I want to know is, if he can feel in them when you touch him. Are you able to get to him now, or will he not allow you to handle him?

Customer:

Give me a few minutes. He's over 85 lbs. and I can't move him. Let me squeeze his toes.

Dr. K :

Sure...

Customer:

He will not let me touch his toes

Customer:

But his left toes, I was able to squeeze with no problems. When I tried to touch his right, he did not want me to get near it.

Dr. K :

It sounds like he probably didn't sprain his leg last week. What most likely happened, is that he is having a primary problem in his spinal cord. This would cause complete paralysis in both hind legs.

Dr. K :

There are a few different things that can damage the spinal cord in this way.

Dr. K :

The first, would be a traumatic incident like being hit by a car or falling off of something very high.

Dr. K :

I am assuming that if something like this had happened, you would have mentioned it.

Dr. K :

The second, and most likely, is a problem called intervertebral disk disease.

Dr. K :

This is when one of the disks inbetween the vertebral bones of the back, suddenly herniates and impinges on the spinal cord. It can manifest at first as pain, but then can progress to cause mild disuse, and then completel paralysis. The worst case is when complete loss of sensation has occurred.

Customer:

He chases squirrels and possums outside and probably hurt his left back leg from some law furniture. He seemed to be healing and actually started to walk and play a few days ago. Today, he didn't leave his dog house.

Dr. K :

The third possibility is, some type of clot that is throne to the spinal cord vessels, causing lack of blood and oxygen to the spinal cord and damaging it.

Customer:

If it's his spinal cord, why can he still get up with his front legs?

Dr. K :

What I am saying is......it may have appeared like a sprain two weeks ago...but it would be unlikely for him to have sustained two separate events. The disk may have herniated partially at first causing only the injurious symptoms in one leg...and then progressed to involve the entire area of spinal cord so now both legs are affected.

Dr. K :

Because the affected area is in his back...behind his front legs, and in front of his back legs.

Dr. K :

Because of this, his back legs would be the only ones affected.

Dr. K :

The fourth possibility is a tumor that has slowly been growing in the spinal cord.

Customer:

we are not financially stable, so what will be the cost of bringing him to see a vet via emergency visit?

Dr. K :

Either way....acute hind limb paralysis is serious, and he really should be taken to animal emergency clinic right away. The sooner he is treated with steroids to try to stop the inflammation in his cord, the better chance he will have in the long run of getting through this.

Dr. K :

It really depends on where you go.

Dr. K :

It likely will be somewhere between $80 and $125 for the visit...and then whatever they charge to administer medications, and/or do tests.

Dr. K :

If finances are a concern, you should ask them if they accept Care Credit.

Customer:

Hind Limb Paralysis - is that what you think has happened to him?

Dr. K :

This is special credit card that you can apply for right there, and can be approved right away. It is only for charging veterinary care.

Dr. K :

Well...you are saying that he is dragging both of his hind legs behind him. You said he can't move them at all. This is what hind limb paralysis is. Complete lack of movement in the hindquarters.

Dr. K :

Hind Limb Paralysis is his symptom...not his diagnosis. To diagnose him, more tests would need to be done.

Customer:

so bringing him in would be the best to do right now?

Dr. K :

Absolutely. That is what I would if he were mine.

Dr. K :

Remember to ask them about applying for Care Credit.

Dr. K :

You can charge the care to that card, and then you would have three months to pay it off with no interest.

Dr. K :

After that three months, that company starts charging an interest rate similar to that of most major credit cards.

Customer:

I'm just afraid that it will be overwhelming expensive .....our credit is not at a good state right now..

Dr. K :

I know....this situation is certainly never an easy one....I am just trying to give you the best medical advise that I can...

Dr. K :

If he is having an acute spinal problem...then the longer you wait, the worse it will get.

Customer:

I understand....we will bring him in tomorrow. thank you.

Dr. K :

You are very welcome. I wish you the best of luck with him.

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