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I am sorry to hear about Olive's difficulty. The lack of ability of using the leg, given the history of back problems, may be a herniated or "slipped" disc. The spine is made up of bones that have discs between them to be shock absorbers and allow it to be flexible at the same time. When this material becomes degenerative, it can become stiff and be prone to herniation. This herniation causes it to move into the spine column and can put pressure on the spinal cord causing deficit or inability to use the leg. When this occurs, surgery is the best option to remove the material and allow the spinal cord to be decompressed. If the herniation is minor, then medical management involves pain medication and strict rest to allow a scar to from over the site of herniation preventing further pressure on the spine. Unfortunately, however inability to use a leg is not a minor deficit and surgery may be the best hing to restore function for your dog. Other concerns we have in a dog of her age include cancer, meningitis or an infection of the vertebrae called discospondylitis. X-rays and other testing is required to determine which of these is going on and what needs to be done about it.
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