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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30360
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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He's having a hard time walking, dragging his back legs...17

Customer Question

He's having a hard time walking, dragging his back legs...17 years old
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: No wounder found, gradually getting worse
JA: What is the dog's name?
Customer: Bonsai
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the dog?
Customer: He's been whining, have an appointment with his vet tomorrow just wondering if I should take him to emergency
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 months ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 months ago.

Practically speaking, a slowly progressive ataxia ("drunken sailor") and loss of use of the hind legs doesn't indicate an ER visit as urgent care isn't expected to make a difference in the prognosis for recovery in such an aged dog. I need to consider advanced osteoarthritic changes and degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk") which might be addressed with an antiinflammatory drug in the hopes that inflammation causing spinal cord compression and then paresis (weakness)/paralysis in the hind legs can be reduced. You can dose Bonsai with aspirin at a dose of 10 mg per pound of body weight with food at 12 hour intervals until his vet can prescribe a more potent antiinflammatory drug. A tumor in or around his spinal cord, fibrocartilaginous embolism (an interruption in the blood supply to his spinal cord), and degenerative myelopathy (a Lou Gehrig-type of spinal cord disorder) won't respond to antiinflammatory drugs or any conservative therapy. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.