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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 30054
Experience:  UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
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My 13 year old cocker spaniel is suddenly, within the last

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My 13 year old cocker spaniel is suddenly, within the last week, having periodic episodes where his back legs shake, he walks funny and only for a short distance and he drags himself across the ground. My vet expressed his anal glands two days ago. Do you have any clues as to what might be wrong?
Welcome! My name isXXXXX am a 2003 graduate from UC Davis, and currently a Medical Director of a veterinary hospital.

I am sorry to hear about this concern for him.

A few points, because I think there are two unrelated problems.

I will be preparing an answer and will get back to you in just a few minutes.

Dr. Andy
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok, thanks.

Okay Debbie,
Let's start with the scooting. You were very much correct to suspect allergies, either or both, environmental allergies (atopy) or food allergies.
Of course, anal glands, are notorious for scooting problems. But, keep in mind, even after an anal gland expression, scooting can persist for a few days because of the inflammation in the rectal area.

My previous dog was a Cocker. Suffered from allergy issues, and was a chronic scooter (limited by allergy management).

Here's the problem: Benadryl, or any other antihistamine, will only help about 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 dogs to really control their allergies.
So, I am still very very suspicious that there is a allergy problem.

Now, the periodic episodes of back leg shaking is not at all consistent with allergy symptoms. But, at his age, I absolutely cannot rule-out age-related weakness, muscle atrophy, and absolutely, include some hip/lower back/knee arthritis.

So, I would ask your vet about just doing a low dose trial with a steroid. The steroid may actually be able to help the arthritis as well as the allergies!

Normally! A vet would prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory for arthritis. But, in this case, if your vet agrees, and they want to maybe help the allergies a bit, giving a regular steroid is a better option.

Also, definitely time to start some joint support therapy, as well know at this age, some degree of joint problems is hiding in that body!

A few common medications prescribed by vets (not all options,but many of the most common choices):
Pain Control

Currently, one of my favorite joint support supplements on the market is Dasuquin or Cosequin. Here is some more information about it. Many veterinarians and clients have observed that after a few months on a quality joint support product, they can often reduce the dose of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications there pets may already be taking. A supplement can take several weeks to observe benefit, so it is important additional anti-inflammatory or pain medications are used in the meantime.
Product Information about Dasuquin / Cosequin
Also, an incredible clinically tested food to help with joint problems is J/D.
J/D Diet
Another supplement to review would be Adequan injections for joint health. These injections are also quite popular and have helped many pets with arthritic disease.
Adequan injections

Notice, I included the two most common pain medications!
I would also ask for some Tramadol. I am concerned that the intermittent shake you see is also a symptom of discomfort. So, do a little trial. See how he responds to some pain medication.

Hope that information has been helpful.
Please remember to select Reply to Expert, if for any reason you need further clarification, have more questions, or were expecting a different type of answer. Prior to leaving a feedback rating, which I greatly appreciate, my goal is to provide you the best answer possible.
Dr. Andy

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

If it's arthritis, would those symptoms come upon him suddenly? I haven't seen anything like this before from him. Also, his symptoms are periodic. Is that consistent with arthritis or could there be something else going on?

happens a lot. Some pets simply manage with arthritis for a long time the best they can. But eventually, they start to manifest subtle symptoms.

But, Yes, it could still be something else internal causing it. Even Addison's disease (a endocrine condition where the body is not making enough steorids in the body), can cause intermittent tremors. Doubtful explanation in this case and at this age.

Another thought is hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone), which is very common, and can be treated. It is diagnosed with a basic blood test including a thyroid level.

Hope that additional information helps. Definitely, reply to me if there is any other way I may assist you.
Dr. Andy
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He's actually on medication for his thyroid already. Maybe it needs to be adjusted. Thanks for the info. I'll talk to my vet about getting him some pain medication.

Good to know. yes, possibly.
Once regulated, a thyroid level should be recheck, ideally, every 6 months.

But, make sure to do the blood test 4 to 6 hours after the morning thyroid pill. Makes the test level most accurate.

Good Luck!

Hope that additional information helps. Definitely, reply to me if there is any other way I may assist you.
Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Debbie,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Andy