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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28935
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Today, I noticed my 5 lbs female yorkie walking sideways.

Customer Question

Today, I noticed my 5 lbs female yorkie walking sideways. Only her hind legs walk sideways. She is 10
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
You've described an ataxic ("drunken sailor") dog. This can occur with an general weakness from profound anemia or advanced metabolic disorders but most commonly appears secondary to spinal cord compression due to degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk") or perhaps a tumor in or around the spinal cord. Certain encephalopathies (brain disorders) can manifest similarly.
Please check her gum and tongue color. They should be nicely pink - not whitish (indicative of anemia) or bluish-greyish (indicative of cyanosis/lack of oxygen to her tissues). If she's nicely pink, her vet should perform a thorough physical exam including a neurologic exam centered on her spine. X-rays may be recommended although many of us will treat suspected spinal cord compression with a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as the prescription carprofen or meloxicam plus a skeletal muscle relaxer such as methocarbamol or diazepam plus a narcotic analgesic such as tramadol.
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.