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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 29802
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Dr. Emily. My dog is a Japanese Chin and she is now 10

Customer Question

Hello Dr. Emily. My dog is a Japanese Chin and she is now 10 years old. This morning she did not want to really move and or wake up which is totally opposite of how she normally acts. When walking down the stairs she was very slow and walking funny. I then wanted to check out her legs and called her to come up on her back legs to be pet and she did not want to do this and just kept her head down and put her tail between her legs. I then went to pick her up and she was shaking and just very sensitive with her back legs and the back area. I am worried and do not know if this is possibly arthritis? hip dysplasure? or even luxating patella?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
Although osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia should be considered, Gizmo's reluctance to jump up or down or navigate steps, shaking/trembling (pain responses), ataxia ("drunken sailor"), vocalizing upon being approached or lifted, a change in posture - a "hunch" in her back or holding her neck rigidly and head lower to the ground, are all symptoms of back pain usually due to intervertebral disk disease (a "slipped disk") in a 10 year old miniature breed.
Gizmo's vet should carefully examine Gizmo paying particular attention to Gizmo's back. Palpation (feeling) for areas of hyperpathia (increased sensitivity) is important and if found is strongly suggestive of a disk which is usually initially addressed in a conservative fashion with a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as carprofen or meloxicam, a skeletal muscle relaxant such as methocarbamol or diazepam, and a narcotic analgesic such as tramadol.
Most simple disks will remiss within 3 weeks. Should paresis (weakness) or paralysis arise in any limb(s), Gizmo would need prompt attention from a vet and might have become a surgical candidate for decompression of her spinal cord. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.