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Susan Chambers
Susan Chambers, Dog care specialist
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 283
Experience:  20+ yrs helping people care for their dogs, 10 yrs vet. office manager,5 yrs pet loss & bereavement
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My dog is having trouble going up stairs and seems to be having

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My dog is having trouble going up stairs and seems to be having some sort of muscle spasms in his abdominal area. Everything else seems fine with him other than he seems to feel a bit under the weather. Any thoughts on what may be wrong?
Hi, thanks for your question. You say he seems a bit under the weather.. If he is eating and drinking, with no vomiting or diarrhea.. it sounds like pain somewhere. I would be concerned with hips or knees (cruciate) problems. If it came on suddenly it could also be a back/neck disc problem. I'm quite sure what you mean by abdominal spasms.. if he is shivering, that could be in response to pain. trouble going upstairs make me think first cruciate.. is he on any medications for pain or have any history of hip problems.. is he a small dog or large dog. Could be a soft tissue injury if he has had a active weekend. Cruciate ligament tears can come out of the blue and be somewhat debilitating to them not wanting to bear weight on a rear leg.. depending on whether he is a small or large dog would sometimes determine whether surgery could be needed to correct this problem. A soft tissue injury would need strict confinement for at least two weeks, generally with anti-inflammatory drugs sent home.. leash walk for bathroom breaks only and keep him from any jumping - off furniture, beds, vehicles and using stairs by putting up ramps if at all possible. You can support him by putting a towel under his abdomen to help when he goes out for bathroom breaks. I would recommend a check up with his vet, he may need xrays - although soft tissue and ligament tears cannot be seen on xray, swelling in the area can be seen on xrays. Exam is normally done to check stability of the knee for cruciate tears. You can read more about this at: your vet may refer you to an orthopedic specialist if he suspects a cruciate injury. These are painful injuries and it is best to keep him as quiet as possible until you can see your vet. I would sometimes suggest aspirin but if your vet wants to send home anti-inflammatory drugs you dont' want to give them within 2 weeks of giving aspirin, so best to not give it at this time. once your dog is given a pain medication, it is even more important to keep him quiet, as he will feel better and think he can walk better, sometimes doing more damage. Dogs have different pain thresholds, in the wild, to show pain is a weakness, not a good thing, so most do not show pain if possible, another thing is at the vet's office they will sometimes show less pain due to adrenaline, but exam and/or xrays will help diagnose him and get him on track to healing. If you have more questions, please ask.. thanks for caring. Susan
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Ok, so another detail that I forgot to mention in the email is that he has just recovered from an infected anal gland. He took his last antibiotic yesterday. Could it have anything to do with that? It appears to be healed?

He is eating and drinking normally as well as walking with little or no pain. Also, he is a small/medium dog. He is a basenji.

Hi, not likely that anal glands would cause pain in climbing stairs. IF he is finishing his antibiotics that should also not have anything to do with it.. at most, antibiotics can cause gastric upset which doesnt' seem to be his main problem. they will sometimes walk normally as they can put more weight on the other legs more easily than going up stairs, which causes them to need to put pressure on legs differently. Basenji's are normally very stoic little dogs, but he should do well with strict rest if need be. The very best would be to have him checked by the vet unless he wakes up tomorrow not showing any signs of pain at all.. I would however try to keep him quiet and restrict his jumping up or down until this problem is diagnosed.. not an easy thing for a high energy little guy Im sure. thanks for caring.. Susan
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