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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28532
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My 10 year old pug Winnie is having a lot of trouble with her

Customer Question

My 10 year old pug Winnie is having a lot of trouble with her back legs. She seems to be loosing control of them but does not seem to be in any pain. Her spine also seems to be more pronounced and curved. We have run tests but still don't have a diagnosis and it's getting worse. I
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We have seen a Neurologist and they thought it might be her disks so gave her cortisone tablets but these did not help at all. He said the next step is an MRI but it's over $2000 and we just can't afford it. Looking for some answers or ideas on what it could be so we can treat her. Our worst fear is she loose control of her legs and ability to go to the bathroom.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
When she stands her back legs start bending down until she eventually lies down or adjusts herself so she doesn't fall. It is also worth mentioning that she is a pug with a curly tail but it is now mostly straight and hangs down.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
It's reasonable to initially consider degenerative disk disease in a 10 year old Pug but when pain isn't a feature of ataxia ("drunken sailor") and spinal curvature, both FCE (fibrocartilaginous embolism) and degenerative myelopathy need to be considered. FCE defines an interruption of the vascular supply to the spinal cord which then necroses (dies). Many dogs will remiss quickly but some lose enough spinal cord tissue to preclude meaningful recovery. Degenerative myelopathy is a Lou-Gehrig disease type of spinal cord disorder and Pugs are one of the breeds we've found to be at risk by DNA testing. Has the neurologist discussed testing Winnie for degenerative myelopathy? Unfortunately, neither of these nonpainful myelopathies (spinal cord disorders) respond to treatment and so an MRI - while possibly informative - would be for academic reasons only. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.