How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ola Barrett Your Own Question
Ola Barrett
Ola Barrett,
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 271
Experience:  Veterinarian at Lake Chatuge Animal Hospital
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Ola Barrett is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a 7-8 puppy, that is the only survivor of 8 puppies.

Customer Question

I have a 7-8 puppy, that is the only survivor of 8 puppies. He laid flat on his stomach for several weeks on heat pad b/c of cold weather & his mom being so young and not knowing how to care for him. And, I think that there was an accident of cross breeding??? not a 100% sure on that. Just wondering what I can do to strengthen his back legs to get him walking. He's tries but his hind legs are very week and I have to put them straight for him.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the puppy. What is the puppy's name?
Customer: ACE
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about ace?
Customer: he's eating, drinking lots of water, alert, wags his tail, doesn't wine except when I'm out of sight; but, calms down after a few seconds he is smart enough to do his business off his mat in the crate and then scoots back on his mat too
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Ola Barrett replied 4 months ago.

Hello, I am Dr. Ola and I would be happy to address your question about Ace. The condition that you are describing is likely "swimmer's syndrome" or "swimmer puppy syndrome." It is called this when a puppy's leg muscles are weak from birth and do not develop enough to allow enough strength for standing/walking. Furthermore, the chest will become flat from weakness as well as from laying on a flat position continuously. In order to get Ace up on his feet you will need to work closely with him for several weeks to develop his muscles and give him supportive care.

First of all, make sure his bedding has enough cushion that he keeps his chest off of the ground. This will protect his skin from pressure sores and keep him more comfortable. The best kind of bedding is an egg crate mattress cover that has lots of cushion and comfort. Keep him clean and dry to prevent and urine scalding to his skin as well.

As far as strengthening his muscles, he will need to have several sessions during the day in which you practice range of motion on all four limbs. Simply move his legs in a slow "running motion" for short sessions of about 5 minutes increasing up to 15 minutes. Swim therapy is the absolute BEST way to strengthen his muscles in addition to this. The bath tube or small kid pool will suffice but only fill enough water to reach his chin and allow his legs paddles. Purchase a harness or life vest with handles so you can be there to help him if he needs any help or tires too easily. Also start with 5 minutes and increase the time as his legs strengthen. Give him several weeks of therapy and he should start bearing weight and walking on his own. Some swimmer pups retain a slight limp but is is variable and not all do.

I hope this advice was helpful to you. Please let me know if you need clarification on anything or have other questions about this. Also, please do not forget to rate my answer which I hope you found to be "excellent." You may do this by clicking "rate our conversation" below (Your rating is the only means of compensation I receive for answering your question). Again, let me know if I can help you further:)

Expert:  Ola Barrett replied 4 months ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Ola Barrett
Expert:  Ola Barrett replied 4 months ago.

Hello, I was just checking in to see if you need any other help with your puppy or have additional questions?

Please do not forget to rate my answer - I hope you found it to be excellent. If there’s more I can do, please use the reply tab and let me know. It’s my goal to provide you with excellent service." Thank you for your business and I hope to work with you again soon!