How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lisa Your Own Question
Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16474
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Lisa is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We have a four and a half year old boxer mix that had a sudden

This answer was rated:

We have a four and a half year old boxer mix that had a sudden onset of ataxia. I began to notice some ever so slight off-balance moves, then began to notice "Willie" dragging his front paw on occasion. Our vet performed tests for Valley Fever and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever with negative results. We went to a neurosurgeon vet specialist who ran a gambit of tests, MRI, CT, spinal tap, blood and urine tests, etc. - all tests were negative with no unusual results. Willie has gotten his appetite back after 3 days of a pain patch and continued medication of Prednisone. But the ataxia is not improving. We see his spine sagging, he drags all four feet, stumbles more and is much weaker. He has not barked in over 2 months. He has been such an incredible member of our family and was highly active. We are disheartened and don't know if we should seek further treatment, allow him to live this way, or consider putting him down....
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

Although the only person who can really make the decision to euthanize your pet is you, I think the biggest thing you can factor in is quality of life. If your pup is in pain that you cannot control or alleviate, if your pup no longer does any of the things he likes to do, then that is the point in time where you must consider that not forcing the animal to linger on is a kinder choice.

I think that it comes down to is trying to put the dog's comfort above your own pain of loss. From your description, it doesn't sound like Willie is improving at all, actually quite the sounds like he may be getting worse. Having an honest conversation with your vet about whether there are other treatment options.

At some point you may find the website and the rainbow bridge story some comfort. Hardest thing in the world about pets is that no matter how long they live its really never long enough, but making this decision for your beloved pet is the ultimate act of end their suffering in spite of the pain and hurt it will cause you to lose him.

Hope this helps you!
Lisa and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is there anything to offer cure or treatment for Ataxia? Particularly since many other causes were ruled out?

Hi again Valerie...

Unfortunately no. Because Ataxia isn't the name of an illness, rather just the name of the symptom...ataxia essentially means trouble ambulating...and since we don't know exactly what is causing this problem, it's hard to know if it's something that can be cured.

Because of how it's getting worse, I can't help but think that there's something like a degenerative disc disorder that was missed by the neurologist, but it's unlikely that it would be completely missed with such thorough exams.