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Dr. Gabby
Dr. Gabby, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11518
Experience:  Enjoys Surgery, Internal medicine, and Dermatology.
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My shihtzu has v suddenly started dragging s back legs and

Customer Question

My shihtzu has v suddenly started dragging his back legs and keeps falling over when trying to walk .. He is nearly 12 and has been fine until 4 hours ago ..
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. Gabby replied 9 months ago.

Hi, this is Dr. Gabby. I am sorry to hear about Joey. Is he attitude and mental state still normal? Is he alert and responsive? Are his hind feet the same temperature as his front feet? What color are his gums?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
He is grouchy if touched near his legs, back or hip. He is alert Altho beftime here now so sleeping. Yes re feet - same temp ..and his gums are a pale pink
Expert:  Dr. Gabby replied 9 months ago.

Thank you,

I believe he may have a bulging disc or herniated disc in his back.

The discs are spongy material between each bony vertebrae for shock absorption.

With injury or degeneration the discs can bilge out or herniate out.

Then the disc material puts abnormal pressure on the spinal cord and surrounding nerves.

That is why he can not use his hind legs. Because the nerve signals are not going through.

Expert:  Dr. Gabby replied 9 months ago.

Treatment includes high doses of steriods (cortisone) and cage rest.

Severe cases need surgery to remove the disc material. A vet would have to examine him and determine how severe it is.

Ideally he should go to the emergency clinic right now. The sooner he gets started on the steroids the better the prognosis.

If there is no way that is going to happen then put him in a crate or a small bathroom so he does not try to walk.

Does that help? Do you have any additional questions?

You can read more about it here Intervertebral Disc

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
What could be the risks of waiting till morning as it's midnight here now? He is asleep and does not seem to be I'm pain ..
Expert:  Dr. Gabby replied 9 months ago.

If you take him now, he will have a better chance of returning to normal function or walking again.

I would go now if possible.

They will do an exam and make sure they think it is a disc issue. Then they will probably hospitalize him and give him iv cortisone for 24 hours.

If you can not go now then keep him very very still.