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Dr. Matt
Dr. Matt, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5798
Experience:  DVM - 13 years experience in canine medicine and surgery.
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1.5 year old Boston terrier has just stopped walking and not

Customer Question

1.5 year old Boston terrier has just stopped walking and not using his hind legs. He doesn't seem to have any pain, no broken bones or anything, he was fine all day
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 2 years ago.
Hello - I am Dr. Matt - I would be glad to help you with your question.
Is he dragging his hind legs on the floor behind him?
Is he urinating and defecating normally today?
Is he eating and drinking?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes this morning and today he was eating and drinking using bathroom 1 and 2. He just woke up from sleeping a couple hours and seems very tired and not his normal chirpy self, when I ask him does he want to go outside he doesn't get excited. Just lays on the couch. I've checked and felt and touched all over him and he doesn't yelp or cry out or anything like he would if he was injured or something.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He won't walk and he won't/can't stand on his hind quarters
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He doesn't drag his hind legs behind him because he isn't walking or standing.
Expert:  Dr. Matt replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information.
I am very sorry to hear that he is not able to stand on his hind legs and will not walk. These symptoms are quite concerning as loss of function to the hind legs is usually an indication of a neurologic disorder. Without examining him, giving you an exact cause to his symptoms is going to be difficult though I can tell you some of the disorders that could be causing his symptoms:
- IVDD - intervertebral disc disease - basically a bulging disc in the spine that causes some pressure on the spinal cord, back muscles. This can be mild enough to cause some pain or unfortunately more severe to where the disc material pushes on the spinal cord enough to cause paralysis to the back legs.
- An infection in his spine/spinal cord called discospondylitis. This can be caused by a tick borne disease or even brucella. This is not common and usually does cause quite a bit of pain though some dogs don't show pain.
- FCE - fibrocartilaginous emboli - this is where a piece of cartilage from the discs in the spine becomes loose and quickly moves into a blood vessel near the spinal cord. This can be painful immediately but within an hour to 24 hours most dogs do not show any pain yet still have paralysis of their hind legs.
- A spinal cord tumor pushing on his nerves causing loss of movement to the hind legs. Quite uncommon in younger dogs though.
- An injury to the spinal cord that causes paralysis similar to what happens to people.
At this point, I honestly would recommend having him examined by a vet as soon as possible. If he does have IVDD, then the sooner treatment is started the better chance he has at making a full recovery. The vet can determine from the examine where the potential disorder is. Based on this information, they will determine if he can be treated with medication such as anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxers, or if he needs a more extensive test such as an MRI to determine the exact cause.
Unfortunately at home treatments are not recommend once a dog loses control of the hind legs therefore I really would take him to a vet tonight if at all possible. If this is not possible tonight, then you could consider giving him an anti-inflammatory medication at home that is safe. The safest would be aspirin at a dose of 5 mg per pound every 12 hours. Even though this is safe some dogs can develop an upset stomach therefore if you see any vomiting or diarrhea then I would stop the aspirin.
Overall, I do think it is very worth while to have him examined tonight as loss of function to the hind legs is considered an emergency situation in dogs.
Hope this helps to answer your question - if not or if you have any more questions please feel free to reply by clicking on the "reply to" button. Thank you for your question.