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Gen B.
Gen B., Retired Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2227
Experience:  Lhasa,Shih Tzu Breeder/ B.A.Neurophysiology & Animal Behavior/I use plain English!
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what would cause my dog not to be able to walk or stand for ...

Customer Question

what would cause my dog not to be able to walk or stand for long. he is an akita, about 9 years old. he was eating until recently, no bad stools or vomiting - and doesn't appear to be ill - he just cannot stand or walk anymore. It started back in late august, when he was listless and would not move, not the same dog - he has progressively gotten more withdrawn, but no illness symptoms other than not standing or walking. he sometimes acts as if he is in pain, and he will not put his right front leg down and his back legs seem to be very weak
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Gen B. replied 10 years ago.

Hello and thanks for researching this very important question!

"Wobblers syndrome" is a kind of catch-all term for a number of problems that cause symptoms from the nerves inside the vertebrae in the lower neck. These problems can be inherited, caused by trauma, infection, genetic malformation of vertebral bones, or age-related degeneration of the vertebrae (for example, arthritis, tumors of the spinal cord, or bone cancer).

Young dogs and older dogs can both be presented for examination of signs associated with this syndrome depending on the source of the nerve damage. Larger breeds are much more often seen for diagnosis and treatment.

Most often, one of the first signs seen at home is weakness of the hind legs, or even of all four limbs. This is a progressive illness, time is often of the essence.

Treatment depends on the cause of the syndrome; the diagnosis of a cause in many cases usually involves equipment found at a Veterinary Neurologist's office. If surgery is needed, a specialist should be the person to perform the procedure. The success of treatment(s) depends on the original source of the compression of the cervical (neck) nerves. A specialist would be best able to tell you what success treatment(s) would have in your dog's case.

***You may certainly seek a second opinion of another general physician when so much is at stake physically and financially. The amount of time you spend doing this depends on the severity of your dog's may wish to schedule a neuro-exam at the specialty hospital just to be sure there is no wait-time, and have a second opinion locally in the meantime. Since your dog is experiencing severe symptoms, since he cannot stand or walk easily, he should be re-evaluated immediately.***

If you have additional questions about this subject, please click "Reply".


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Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Gen B.'s Post: I will accept your advice, but I have one last question to clarify your answer. Is this something that for his age is worth getting the surgery if needed? and is it possible with successful treatment that he can regain a normal life, maybe not running or jumping but at least walking and movement
Expert:  Gen B. replied 10 years ago.

Good questions.

If he has Lyme Disease, for instance, and it is responsive to antibiotic therapy, then that is one favorable outcome scenario.

If he requires an MRI, then other more serious problems (tumor, ruptured disc, etc) are in play. The prognosis depends then on what is found. If a ruptured disc needs to be "cleaned up", then this can be very successful. An invasive tumor is another matter.

If severe arthritis is found, steroids and then other anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve compression of nerves.

The many possible root causes lead down many roads in terms of treatment and recovery.

Always write down your concerns ahead of time so that you don't forget to interview the doctors comprehensively. Be frank about your desire to have him live a comfortable and dignified life during testing and after treatment!

I am certainly happy to discuss any other concerns you have at this time.

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Gen B.'s Post: thank you. we live in a forrested area in pennsylvannia known for ticks, and i thought at frist he got bit by a tick. now i know where to take him thank you.