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Dr. Gabby
Dr. Gabby, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 12396
Experience:  DVM for 19 years. Compassionate, Caring, Experienced.
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my dog just started to limp and drag her back R paw turned

Customer Question

my dog just started to limp and drag her back R paw turned under. She was fine at noon when I came home from word on lunch so this is really recent. to my knowledge she has not hurt herself but then I wouldnt know for sure as I was not home the rest of the day.
she is an 11 year old golden retriever/shar pae mix. no previous injuries etc. she is eating, drinking urinating and defecating. thoughts?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Gabby replied 5 years ago.

Hello and thank you for asking your question on just answer. My name isXXXXX will try to help.

Was she just dragging her right back paw this morning and then she was completely normal by lunchtime when you checked her? Is this the first time this has happened?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
she appeared just fine this morning but then I was getting ready for work so cannot be 100%. I come home every day at lunch to let my dogs out then return to work. she was fine at noon.
Expert:  Dr. Gabby replied 5 years ago.

Ok, so she is doing it now if I understand you correctly.

There is problem with the nerve signals going to her foot. The nerve signal originates in her brain and travels down her spinal cord. Since she is acting otherwise normal, I do not believe her brain is involved. It is common for older dogs to have degenerative changes in the vertebrae of the spinal column. One twist, or misplaced jump, and the vertebrae can become unstable putting abnormal pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves going to her hind legs. The spongy material between her bony spinal vertebrae, are called "discs." The discs can become damaged, and wear out, as well. This when the disc material goes out of its normal position, this puts abnormal pressure on the nerves, and spinal cord, as well. This is known as a "bulging disc" or "slipped disc" or "herniated disc."

It can sometimes be diagnosed with plain x-rays. Sometimes an MRI is needed. Often, the MRI is too expensive for the owners so we just treat the disc, or nerve swelling, with high short term doses of steroids a long with rest.

If she has arthritis in her hips, that could affect the nerves to her hind legs as well.

I am pretty sure the problem is in her back though.

The only other thing it could be is a blood clot, in a major vessel, that supplies that leg. Check the temperature of that foot. If that foot feels very cold, there is a problem with the blood flow and she needs to go to the emergency vet right now.

Otherwise, I would try to restrict her activity tonight. Take her to her regular vet first thing in the morning.

I hope this helps.

Dr. Gabby and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
will do! and thank you very much. Her foot is not cold at all.
Expert:  Dr. Gabby replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for checking her foot. I do not want you to worry either. Usually with a strong dose of steroids, they greatly improve. It is very common.