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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5222
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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My 14 yr. old English Setter went to bed feeling fine and

Customer Question

my 14 yr. old English Setter went to bed feeling fine and frisky. At 3 a.m. when I got up he is now very weak and unstable on his feet. He got up, had a big drink of water,couldn't manage the doggie door, and had to be helped up and down the stairs. He was barely able to jump up on the low couch Breathing normal, capillary refill normal. I gave him some honey by putting it on my finger and rubbing it in his mouth. After a few times he was able to lick it off the plate. He has gone to sleep after 45 mins. from when we got up. Please advise.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the setter. What is the setter's name?
Customer: He is a rescue. He came with the name Rebel, but he is anything but a rebel! Kind, sweet, loving, gentle.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Rebel?
Customer: He is weak and wobbly on his feet, like one setter I had that got degenerative disc disease. Seems to be breathing normally now while sleeping. He didn't lift his head as high to nose me to keep petting him. Normally he will practically fold in half over his body to get you to keep petting.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Sarah Snow replied 8 months ago.


My name is***** and I can try to help you with Rebel. There could be a few things going on. You said his CRT was normal. Are his gums nice and pink? We want to determine if this is a systemic weakness vs. a musculoskeletal/neurologic problem.

One thing we think about in older dogs would be a vascular event (kind of like a stroke), and these can cause the symptoms you are describing. Its possible he had a vascular event or a disc rupture in the spine, causing neck or back pain.

How is he now?