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Dr. Drew
Dr. Drew, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16846
Experience:  Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
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My dog's back legs shake at rest and when standing.

Resolved Question:

What could cause my dogs back legs shake at rest and when standing. although she can walk fine and run a bit. What is this from.

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 5 years ago.

Hello, welcome to JustAnswer! I am a licensed veterinarian, and I'll be happy to help you in any way I can. Shaking of the back legs, in an elderly dog, is most likely to be associated with one of a few possible issues.

Arthritis, or any other type of joint pain, is a common cause of shaking in the hind legs. The glucosamine you're giving may help, but often more is needed, including anti-inflammatory medicines and other joint supplements such as Dasuquin.

Neurologic disease, such as compression or degeneration of the spinal cord, is also common in elderly dogs. This can cause shaking and weakness. Typically, if there's neurologic dysfunction as the cause for shaking, then when a hind paw is flipped upside down, so that the dog is putting weight on the top or "knuckle" of the paw, the paw will remain in such an inverted position for a few seconds before being flipped back to normal. If she doesn't even allow the knuckle to touch the ground before returning the foot to normal, then a neurological condition is less likely.

The third possibility is an internal problem like a metabolic disorder (electrolyte imbalances, low blood sugar), or a heart problem (abnormal rhythm, low blood pressure). A physical exam, and blood tests, plus an ECG, would likely be needed to rule in or out such issues.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Could it be from lead? She doesn't have any other symptoms. I will look into the explanations you gave.

Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 5 years ago.
Lead poisoning isn't a common cause for such issues, since lead poisoning isn't all that common nowadays, but it can cause neurological signs. Typically, lead poisoning would also cause depression, behavioral changes, and some characteristic changes noted in the red blood cells when a blood sample was examined. Blood lead levels can be tested, if there's been any suspected exposure to lead paint or other sources of lead.
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