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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16304
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian
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My dogs legs stopped working 4 days ago, she has lost 30% of

Customer Question

my dogs legs stopped working 4 days ago, she has lost 30% of her body weight in a month, she stopped eating 3 days ago, but still drinking, she no longer has faeces output, but incontinent of urine, unable/willing to leave her bed for 3 days, what do we do? no obvious signs of pain, we took her to vet 4 days ago he prescribed steroids and antibiotics but she refuses to take any medicine or food attall
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Tiffany has lost 30% of her body weight in a month, isn't walking for the past 4 days and refuses to eat at all for the past 3 days, and seems urine incontinent.
Her lack of stool is no surprise since she isn't eating. There is nothing to pass.
Is she dribbling urine constantly or is she just not getting up to urinate and thus urinating where she lays? If she is unable to get up and walk her loss of urine control could be more due to weakness and her inability to move than true incontinence, which implies she is unaware that she is urinating.
If you pinch her toes can she feel it?
Before she stopped walking was she uncoordinated and weak in the rear and did her weakness seem to progress slowly from her rear legs to her front legs?
Has she had some evidence of incoordination, lameness or weakness for a long time, or has this only been very recent?
Were any sort of diagnostic tests done? Blood tests? Radiographs?
Did she have a fever?
Was she eating well prior to her inability to get around the last 4 days?
If your girl has progressive ascending rear limb weakness (starting in rear legs and eventually progressing to affecting front legs too) and truly seems to have no pain that would make me concerned about a disease process called degenerative myelopathy (DM). These pups eventually become urine and stool incontinent.
While English Bull Terriers are not one of the top breeds (German Shepherd, Corgi, Boxer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chesapeake Bay Retriever) that we see DM in, any breed can have some incidences of the disease.
The length of time that she has had symptoms and the speed of degeneration will also help point toward DM as a cause or not. Most dogs with DM have significant progression of symptoms relatively quickly such that a year after initial symptoms are noticed they really cannot get around at all. Most owners choose humane euthanasia at that point. If she has had trouble for years with very slow progression DM is less likely.
If you want to test her for the disease there is a blood test available which is pretty accurate. Here is a link to a website which will give you information about how to get her tested:
In short most old dogs don't have DM, they have disc disease, spinal, hip or knee arthritis to the extent that they are stiff and don't want to move. These pups have had a slow progression of pain and symptoms, often intermittently over years so often don't complain, but that doesn't mean that they don't hurt.
Dogs with these diseases lose muscle mass and thus weight too, because of lack of use and lack of nerve stimulation but it is usually slower.
If your girl hasn't had any diagnostic testing done that is needed. If she wasn't running a fever then I'm not convinced that antibiotics are needed and they can interfere with her appetite.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.