Pet Questions? Ask a Vet and Get Answers ASAP
I am currently going through an with my 13 year old lab mix. Shek was fine yesterday and this morning, then all of a sudden her hind legs are weak, wobbly, she's falling, can't pull herself back up and is dragging her hind legs. I am grief stricken. Two months ago she had a full check up including blood work and the vet said her blood work came back great and she was very healthy. She is fully up to date on all shots including Lyme. I am completely mystified. Shek has never had any mis-haps or injuries. This is heartbreaking to watch. She can not get up with out my assistance and I have to walk beside her providing support. Although she is having difficulty crouching, she is going pee and poop normally and she has an appetite still. The only symptom is the inability to use her hind legs. When I rub the area she appears to be relieved. It does not hurt her. Has anyone had any luck with answers? JoyceXXX@XXXXXX.XXX
Hi, my name isXXXXX and I am here to help.
Hi Dr. Luke, thank you.
Has Shek been slow to rise in the mornings for a while or struggling to walk up/down steps or move around?
She has been slow to rise in the morning and takes her time with the stairs. She has shown signs of arthritis for the last several months, but has remained active. She came down the stairs this morning. Was fine all morning. Mid-afternoon, all of a sudden, she can't walk.
The most likely cause for her sudden loss of function of her back legs is likely to be a sudden worsening of her arthritis causing an impingement or pinching of the nerves that come off the spinal cord to the back legs.
This can be caused by a sudden movement a day or so ago, slipping or a small fall or often the cause is unknown.
Be assured this is not an uncommon occurence in a dog of Shek's age and breed.
Is she on any medication for her arthritis? Or any medication?
Is this something that will decrease (the inability to walk) or is there medication she can take? The only thing
I have had her take regularly is glucosamine.
Ok. The glucosamine can help with very mild arthritis. Her arthritis is now severe.
What can help at this stage?
She needs medication to decrease the swelling around the nerves and allow them to function again. She also probably will need some strong pain releif as this can be a component of it too.
When is your vet next open - how many hours - I am in a different time zone.
I just relocated to California in June from the East Coast. I do not have a Vet here yet. I made sure we did a full check up and shot updates, blood work and dental cleaning before we left the East Coast.
I have never had to have Shek at the Vet besides her routine exams and shots. This is a first occurrence of any type of emergency.
Ok. How upsetting. Shek really needs some strong anti-inflammatory medication and pain releif to give her the best chance to get function again in her back legs. Longer term she will need to be on anti-inflammatories to avoid it happening again in the future.
Is there a vet open nearby? Can you move her?
She is 72 lbs so she is a bit heavy for me to pick up completely, but she is walking with my assistance. I lightly cusp my hands beneath her abdomen and walk along side her. I do the same to help her get up. It is 12:30 midnight here now. The only Vet clinic I know of close by is at Pet Smart. Is that Vet okay to use? I have never used a Pet Smart Vet, only hometown Vets.
Pet Smart sounds excellent for this situation if they are open. To assist her to walk loop a large bath towel under the back of her abdomen and then you can hold her like in a sling and guide her.
That is an excellent idea, I never thought of that. I had actually though about using her harness and using a towel as a cushion between her harness and abdomen for more comfort.
Yes that sounds good too but a towel and a leash attached to her collar around her neck means you have 3 points to assist and 'control' her.
So, a strong anti-inflammatory long term and she should gain access to her hind legs again after a couple of days? Hopefully?
Sorry the towel under her abdomen as discussed I mean - not around her neck like a collar!!! Sorry if I confused you!
Yes hopefully within 24-48 hours. Warming up the area with towels from in the dryer can also help. As can warmed wheat bags - but not too hot!
If she does not improve within 48 hours on medication then the chances of her improving are guarded.
I am sorry to say that at this stage, if she is not mobile on her back legs, then you may have to consider other options.
The other option is euthanasia - I am sorry to say this.
No, I understood. She has a full harness I walk her with. I had thought of that to assist me in helping her move, but I was concerned on applying to much pressure on her chest while providing lifting support, hence the towel for cushion. I understood. Okay, I can also apply heat as I would for myself to the inflamed areas? I understand and I am not prepared for the E word. She's my best friend. I do understand and it is my genuine hope that anti-inflammatory will work.
But, yes, I acknowledge it may also be her time. She is so healthy otherwise and acting so normal.
Yes please try the heat. It is my hope and feeling that the anti-inflam will work. Best wishes.
Thank you so much. You have eased my mind for the time being. She is sleeping peacefully and I am camped out on the floor beside her for the night.
Try and get some sleep - and happy to help.
Thank you again.