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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29808
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a 9 year old shih tzu went to walk her this evening

Customer Question

Hi I have a 9 year old shih tzu went to walk her this evening and she seemed to walk a little bit then stumble she won't jump off the sofa and is avoiding stairs
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

Lily is demonstrating the symptoms of myelopathy (spinal cord disorder) or, less commonly, encephalopathy (brain disorder). Her stumbling (ataxia/"drunken sailor"), reluctance to jump up or down, and difficulty navigating stairs are symptoms pathognomonic (particularly indicative) of spinal pain such as is seen with intervertebral disk disease (a "slipped disk") in a 9 year old miniature breed such as Lily. Supportive evidence of a disk includes vocalizing when approached or lifted, a "hunch" in her back and/or holding her neck rigidly and head lower to the ground, shaking/trembling (pain responses), and a change in behavior - a normally social dog becoming reclusive or, conversely, a normally aloof dog becoming "clingy".

For now, it's important that she be kept as quiet as possible - no jumping or using the stairs - until she can be attended to by her vet who needs to carefully palpate Lily's spine and is likely to prescribe a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as carprofen or meloxicam, a skeletal muscle relaxant such as methocarbamol or diazepam, and a narcotic analgesic such as tramadol. X-rays may be recommended although many of us will rely on the history and findings of our physical exam unless surgical intervention is considered.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This sounds exactly it can she be paralysed at all
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

Yes, these patients can become paretic (weak) or, indeed, paralyzed; hence, the need to keep her as quiet as possible at this time so she doesn't hurt herself further. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm just worried about her should I do something tonight
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

You can administer aspirin at a dose of 10 mg/lb with food and confine her to a small area - even a pet carrier if necessary - until she can be attended to. An ER visit would be indicated if she became paretic or, indeed, paralyzed.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am supposed to work tomorrow I am a nurse I'm so worried about her
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

You can have her boarded under medical supervision while you're working.