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Dr. Gene
Dr. Gene, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2680
Experience:  DVM degree from Ontario Veterinary College
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I came home two days ago to let my dogs out to relieve

Customer Question

I came home two days ago to let my dogs out to relieve themselves during lunch, to find my almost 8 yr old black russian terrier lying at the back door. This is unusual for him, though this time he was sruggling to stand with his back legs. Later that evening I noticed him slipping and he fell a few times. The next day more of the same but more frequent. We took him to his vet who said arthritis and prescribed glucosamine, chondroitin and rimadyl. Today it's worse with constant difficulty standing and falling. I think there's more to this than arthritis. Vestibular or Neuro? He is eating, drinking fine and has no difficulty peeing or pooping. He was even playing with the new puppy.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gene replied 1 year ago.

Hi there!

Few questions:

1. When you talk about him slipping, do you mean just the rear legs or all four?
2. What kind of testing did Codie have, x-rays, etc?
3. Does he knuckle or scuff his rear feet on the floor when he walks?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Rear feet only.ocational scuffing. He only had a physical exam, no imaging.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
One nail on left rear paw is down to the quick and that nail and adjacent are tender to touch.
Expert:  Dr. Gene replied 1 year ago.

Got it, thank you.

I agree that it's probably more than arthritis, especially given we don't have any proof that it is (meaning X-rays) and that it came about so acutely. It sounds like he might have some neurologic deficits - the scuffing of the feet typically indicates loss of superficial sensation and delay in motor function of the feet, which points to spinal cord compression in the middle of the spine. This happens with herniated discs (most commonly) but also with spinal infections, blood clots and other neurologic conditions.

I would recommend not waiting too long (no later than tomorrow) and taking him in for another evaluation, neurologic exam and x-rays. I would take him the nearest vet ER asap if he loses bowel/urine control, the back end becomes so weak that he looks like he's drunk or if he collapses and can't use the back legs at all.

Vestibular disease is not as likely because there is usually more problems with the head (than just the rear limbs), such as a head tilt, nystagmus (rapid motion of the eyes back and forth) and more of a generalized ataxia (weakness and loss of coordination).

Hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you! We will be taking him in first thing in the am. I'm a RN and knew this was more than arthritis! Much appriciated!
Expert:  Dr. Gene replied 1 year ago.

You're welcome! Best of luck!