I have a female toy poodle, 10 pounds, and 14 yrs old. Recently, she has started to slip and fall on wood and bathroom floors and yesterday she slipped down the last two stairs and fell. She is mostly deaf and her sight is fair I think, but otherwise, she seems to be in relatively good health. She still eats well, plays and is very loving. Is the slipping, just a natural part of her aging process or is it sign of possibly something more? Is there anything I can do to help her be more "sure footed"?
Type of Animal: poodle
Hello. It sounds like you're seeing some early signs of degenerative joint disease, arthritis, in the back legs. This will lead to decreased muscle mass and weakness in the back legs over time. It could be a neurologic condition (disc herniation in the back, tumor pressing on spinal cord, nerve degeneration), but those usually also present with knuckling over of the back feet and spinal pain/ reluctance to jump up. A good neurologic exam and orthopedic exam will sort this out. I would have your vet do that next time you are in for an appointment. If signs are worsening quickly, then I would get her in sooner rather than later. X-rays of the hips/ knees can also show arthritic changes in the joints. Treatment is usually with anti-inflammatory meds, joint supplements and low impact exercise as needed. A great form of low impact exercise is swimming as it's great for the muscles and puts no pressure on the joints. Keeping rugs/ carpets in areas where she is walking also helps as opposed to walking on wood/ tile. Getting some throw rugs can really help these older dogs get around. I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.
DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ