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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19778
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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What would make a dog suddenly have trouble walking or standing

Resolved Question:

What would make a dog suddenly have trouble walking or standing up as if she were drunk?
Our cocker spaniel just started having a problem. I looked around to see if there was anything she could have ingested, but found nothing.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 7 years ago.

Is she having any difficulty going up stairs or jumping up on furniture?
Does she have her head tilted to the side?
Are her eyes moving back and forth rapidly?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
She managed to get up on the couch. No her head is not tilted, and her eyes seem ok. actually right now she acts like she just wnts to rest on the folded laundry as usuall.
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 7 years ago.
Ok thanks,

Given the signs and breed, this is most likely IVDD (intervertebral disc disease). This is where a disc ruptures or herniates in the back pressing on the spinal cord which causes weakness and nerve roots which causes pain. Signs can be as mild as reluctance to walk/ climb stairs to as severe as full paralysis.

Diagnosis is made on neuro exam and then can be confirmed with advanced imaging like MRI, CT or myelogram.

Treatment is based on the stage of the disease:

Mild weakness/ pain can be treated with strict exercise restriction and anti-inflammatory meds

Severe neurologic deficits and paralysis require back decompressive surgery to correct.

I would give her a few days of exercise restriction and see if the signs resolve. If any worsening or no improvement, then I'd get her examined.

I hope this helps.

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