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CriticalCareVet, ER/ICU Specialist
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 63982
Experience:  Emergency and Critical Care Specialist
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Came home and our Boston Terrier is very stiff. He wont lift

Resolved Question:

Came home and our Boston Terrier is very stiff. He wont lift his head, walks sideways and rotates in slow circles. He occasionally lets out small yelps but otherwise does not complain. We did just pick him up from a kennel today after our vacation and he seemed totally normal and fine at the time. He is 8 years old.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  CriticalCareVet replied 8 years ago.
Hi there,

In seeing him walk and move, can he move his neck? Does he have pain in the area of the neck?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
it looks like he can not look up or straight ahead. I notice he looks to the side before moving and this walks a little sideways. I am afraid to touch him to rough to check if he complains when I try to move his head.
Expert:  CriticalCareVet replied 8 years ago.
Hi there,

With the information from above...

I have several possible causes from your description:

1) Spinal cord disease - Based on the breed and age, I am most concerned this can be the start of a herniated disc in the area of the neck

Here is a link which I think will be very helpful with information and pictures about this process.


Another possible cause would be either infection or inflammation around the brain and spinal cord, such as an encephalitis or meningoencephalitis


A third possible cause would be a clot (or stroke) commonly called a FCE (fibrocartilagenous emboli). This is not very high on my list as this breed does not commonly get this.

This is definitely a history that I would recommend having a veterinarian perform a full examination. If your veterinarian is unable to find the cause, then an orthopedic surgeon or neurologist should be consulted as soon as possible. Based on their examination - if they agree with this assessment, they will probably start with bloodwork and x-rays to decide the next step, whether it is continued medical management or more testing such as a CSF tap and a MRI

I hope this information is helpful and guides you.

Please click "ACCEPT" if the information I have provided has been of help so I receive credit for my work. Bonuses are always welcome and appreciated. Thank you.

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would highly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.
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