I asked a lot of these questions because there is a condition called vestibular disease that affects older dogs. She doesn't have all the symptoms of this but I want to mention it so you are aware that this condition exists. Symptoms include standing with legs spread out, swaying, head tilt, abnormal eye movement, walking sideways, falling over and may include vomiting. There are a few things that can cause this condition such as an ear infection, some medications and old age. Have your Vet check your dog for this condition. Here are some great sites on this condition:
The good news is that if this is the problem which I don't' think it is and it is due to old age, the condition normally resolves itself over a few weeks. Your vet will most likely prescribe dramamine or bonine to help with the symptoms. You can read about dramamine and bonine usage, precautions and dosage here:
Another possibility as you mentioned is a stroke though they are believed to be rare in dogs. Usually with a stroke you will start to see improvement within a week or so but some lingering symptoms may be permanent. Read about strokes here:
Now what I think is likely the cause for your dog's behavior is an injury to the back. An intervertebral disc that has slipped or ruptured up into the spinal canal causes inflammation of the spinal cord, which in severe cases causes paralyses of the rear legs. Many dogs will arch their backs with this injury and avoid stairs and jumping on things. You can read about this here:
Buffered aspirin can be given to a dog with a dosage of up to 5-10 mg per pound every 12 hours. Keep in mind that a dog's body does not metabolize aspirin in the same way as a human and thus should not be given more than a day or two without contacting your Vet. The aspirin may need to clear your dog’s system before other medications can be given, so keep that in mind if you decide to give aspirin and be sure and tell your vet when your dog is seen. Read side effects and precautions here.
Given that she was very active when she started displaying symptoms, I would lean toward a disc issue. If you can get her seen in the next day or so, then I would hold off on aspirin. Either way, you will want to keep her as inactive as possibe. I would recommend crating to give the injury time to heal. Use a leash to take her out to eliminate. You want to keep stress off her back as much as possible, so crating will help with that. If you have to lift her, be sure to scoop the rear legs up in one hand and place the other hand on her chest and lift up keep ing the back in the proper position.
I also want to mention that organ failure can lead to similar uncoordianted behavior, but I would think you would have seen other symptoms before this.
You will want to have your dog seen by your Vet to be evaluated and discuss treatment options.
I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
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Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/