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VetTechErin, Licensed Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 681
Experience:  Published author in veterinary medical journals and on the Veterinary Information Network with a focus in toxicology
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My dog seem in pain and cant go downstairs on the steps.

Resolved Question:

My dog seem in pain and can't go downstairs on the steps. this is the first time it ever happened. She always runs and now she can't seem to go down the stairs suddenly. She's at least 9 years old.. we adopted her when she was about 4, she's part Pitbull and Ridgeback. She's a bit overweight. but this nerver happened to her before. She always runs up and down and we walk on these hilly streets. Is she having arthritis suddenly. The food she eats has some glucosamine, Nutrof ro Seniors. Can I give her aspirin for dogs?
Thanks for your response.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 5 years ago.

VetTechErin :

Hi there! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I would be happy to help you with your question! I'm sorry to hear Pua is in pain!

VetTechErin :

It sounds like your girl may be having some back issues! Sometimes if there is an injury to the back, a muscle spasm, or even inter-vertebral disc disease, it can cause dogs to be unable to travel down the stairs or get up and down on furniture.

VetTechErin :

This is something that you would need to have evaluated by a vet. You can get her in to have x-rays and have a physical exam, so they can determine from where her pain is originating.

VetTechErin :

At this point, it is probably not a good idea to give her any aspirin, as one of the main treatments they use to help with back and disc issues are steroids, and aspirin can have bad drug interactions with certain steroids.

VetTechErin :

There are also better medications to help treat the pain, such as Rimadyl or Previcox that your vet can prescribe to help her feel more comfortable.

VetTechErin :

Since she is in pain, you will likely want to get her in sooner rather than later, and you can locate a 24-hour clinic in your area with this website here if you do not already know of one.

VetTechErin :

If you have any follow-up questions or concerns, please hit "reply", and I would be glad to address them for you. Otherwise, good luck with poor Pua, and I hope she gets to feeling better soon!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your answer.. She squeeks or make a little sound when I touch her back legs. How did she get that back pain, a muscle spasm or disc disease? She loves to walk w/ me every night if I let her.. I couldn't keep up with her and suddenly she can't go down the stairs. Walking level doesn't seem to bother her, altho slowly. I will get her checked if she definitely doesn't get any better soon. Does that affect his eating when she's in pain?
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 5 years ago.
It's possible she could have injured herself while playing, or pulled a muscle. IVDD could be genetic (here is a site with a little more info on disc disease). Some breeds are more prone to it than other breeds.

Sudden jarring motions (like jumping down from furniture, down stairs, etc.) can cause a hardened disc to break, and swell against the spinal cord which can lead to issues in the back, and can affect the front or rear limbs, including pain and weakness.

This can also affect her appetite, as if she's in a lot of pain, she may have less desire to eat. Until you can get her into a vet, you can keep her on cage rest, as a lot of activity can make her worse. She should be limited to her kennel, and taken outside on a leash to go potty. Don't let her run around or play like she normally does so she doesn't exacerbate her problem.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi again,
She's walking good, and is now eating better. But like you said I dont want to take her out. If she has the IVDD, will she be able to walk at all? She doesn't seem to show any abnormality in walking on level areas except going down the stairs. To go out, we'll have to go thru stairs. She's sleeping and staying in one place. I will take her to the vet soon. Meanwhile, what can I give or do for her to relieve her pain?

Expert:  VetTechErin replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for the update! :)

I'm glad to hear she's walking well, and that her appetite has increased. If she's feeling a bit better it may continue to help her appetite.

And yes! :) If she has a slipped disc or IVDD, once the pressure is relieved from her spine (either through surgical intervention or through cage rest and anti-inflammatory medications), she will still be able to walk and hopefully will also show signs of improvement when confronted with stairs. (If you have someone to help you carry her down the stairs when she has to go down them, that might help).

Cage rest and keeping her calm is probably the best thing you can do for her and her pain right now. While people can use aspirin in dogs to help reduce pain (You can read about the different types of pain medication used in dogs here), it does have bad interactions with steroids, which is the main treatment they use to help back and spine issues. If you intend on getting her into the vet very soon, the aspirin might not be the best choice!

I hope her appetite continues to improve and that the vet is able to help her with her pain on the stairs!