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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19778
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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We have 10 and half years old cockapoo who suddenly seems to

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We have 10 and half years old cockapoo who suddenly seems to have no power in her back legs and cannot stand and walk well, though she limps in a very limited way. Given her age what is the advice?
Hello, I'm Dr Gary. I've been practicing veterinary medicine since 2007. I look forward to helping with your questions/ concerns.

I'm sorry for the long wait.

Given the signs, this is most likely IVDD (intervertebral disc disease). This is where a disc ruptures or herniates in the back pressing on the spinal cord which causes weakness and nerve roots which causes pain. Signs can be as mild as reluctance to walk/ climb stairs to as severe as full paralysis.

Diagnosis is made on neuro exam and then can be confirmed with advanced imaging like MRI, CT or myelogram.

Treatment is based on the stage of the disease:
> Mild weakness/ pain can be treated with strict exercise restriction and anti-inflammatory meds (Rimadyl, Deramaxx) + other pain meds (Gabapentin, Tramadol). Crate confinement for the majority of the day with only short leash walks outside is key, and I like to do this for 1-3 weeks.
> Severe neurologic deficits and paralysis require back decompressive surgery to correct.

It sounds like your dog is in the grey area. I would see a neurologist to localize it and get an idea of the severity. If needed, they can go forward with an MRI. If fixable with surgery, then go that route. If meds/ rest/ physical therapy are all that is needed, then they'll go over that with you.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for a very good answer. Our dog has very limited movement and seems to be getting a bit better. We took her to Dr. Now they say that she needs MRI which will cost $1500.00! The question is what happens after surgery? How much care does she need on an ongoing basis? We are not home most of the time and very busy and difficult to adjust our work schedule to for long term care. My specific question is this: If this is a surgery and requires long term care, how long would it be and what does the long term care involve?


That's pretty standard for an MRI.

After surgery, they usually have some type of physical therapy for 1-2 months. Most dogs will regain full function once the compression on the spinal cord is removed.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks and here is my final two questions;

1) Some people say you should wait a few days because many dogs regain strength on their own and become normal again. What do you think?

2) What are the chances that surgery will not resolve the problem give that our dog is nearly 11 years old?



I usually give them 1-2 weeks with crate confinement and pain meds first as long as they are still able to walk in the rear legs. If down in the rear, I'll immediately refer to a neurologist.

The age does not really affect the chances of recovery with surgery. The bigger issue is whether it's a disc compression or tumor. She's older, but she's not that old where I would think this is a tumor. I think it's probably a disc.
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