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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19598
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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Our 2 year old Airedale suddenly refuses to walk up our stairs.

Customer Question

Our 2 year old Airedale suddenly refuses to walk up our stairs. This happened one Sunday 2 weeks ago. It was late so I said "Come on Louie, time to go ni nights!" and I started up the stairs but he did not follow like he normally does.
My husband had gone out of town the day before and he was fine that night. He is Louies buddy and I know Louie hates it when he leaves but he has done it periodically throughout Louies life as it is part of his job.
I have had a hard time convincing my husband that nothing traumatic happened to him while he was gone because it is so weird. He wants to go up the stairs too. He will stand at the bottom and make noises and whine but he won't come up.
My son has carried him up a couple of times and he is fine once he's up. He is not injured and has no hip issues. We are at a total loss on this one. I hope you can help!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi Sir or Madam,
My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.
Is he jumping like he normally does?
Are these the only stairs he is avoiding?
Have you seen a vet yet?
Has he been to a groomer or played with any other dogs recently?
Has he slipped or fallen any time recently?
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
JaCsutomer,
I was hoping to get the information back from my request for more information before giving you an answer, but I also don't want you to be left without one either.
Often when a dog avoids stairs it is a sign there is a problem with the back or a problem with an invertebral disc. An intervertebral disc that has slipped or ruptured up into the spinal canal causes inflammation of the spinal cord, which in severe cases causes paralyses of the rear legs. This would be in the beginning stages right now You can read about this here:
http://www.petplace.com/dogs/intervertebral-disc-disease-thoracolumbar-area-in-dogs/page1.aspx
http://www.petplace.com/dogs/intervertebral-disc-disease-cervical-area/page1.aspx
Large dog breeds sometimes suffer from a condition called degenerative myelopathy which can also cause problems with the rear legs and paralyses. This is seen in your breed. You can read about this here:
http://www.petplace.com/dogs/degenerative-myelopathy/page1.aspx
Buffered aspirin can be given to a dog with a dosage of up to 5-10 mg per pound every 12 hours. Keep in mind that a dog's body does not metabolize aspirin in the same way as a human and thus should not be given more than a day or two without contacting your Vet. The aspirin may need to clear your dog’s system before other medications can be given, so keep that in mind if you decide to give aspirin and be sure and tell your vet when your dog is seen. Read side effects and precautions here.
http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/acetylsalicylic-acid-aspirin/page1.aspx
If you can get him into your vet, I'd hold off on the aspirin until he can be seen. If he is back to climbing the stairs, I'd still get him checked out as the earlier treatment is started, the better his chances of a full recovery. imaging will likely be required and usually more than x-rays as they don't always show up issues with the discs. CT scans are better.
I hope this information is helpful to you. If you need more information or clarification, please reply and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. If you are satisfied, please take the opportunity to rate.