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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19590
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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My 8 year old dog sometimes walks in a circle backwards.

Customer Question

My 8 year old dog sometimes walks in a circle backwards.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: yes..its almost like he is in a dizzy spell. But it lasts a second or two and everything else about him is fine.
JA: The Veterinarian will know what to do. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Fonzie...a chihuahua pom. mix
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Fonzie?
Customer: he has a heart condition and is on medication for it.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The medication is Enalapril 2.5 mg
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

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.

The most common cause for a dog to walk backwards and in a circle is anal gland issues. The anal glands are 2 sacs on either side of the anus at about the 4' o'clock and 8 o'clock positions. If your dog is continually licking their anus and dragging it, it could also indicate that they are full. This problem can usually be resolved by emptying out the glands. To empty them or express them, you will want to cover the area with a tissue and press your finger on the dog's anal glands with an upward motion. A foul smelling liquid should come out. If nothing comes out and your dog appears to be in pain, you should take him to the Vet. Your vet can do this easily, as he is experienced at it.

Excellent site on anal glands

http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_anal_sacs.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn2Zm-KwKy4

The other possibility is a partial or focal seizure. Conditions that lead to seizures can cause circling. Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar and can cause seizure activity especially in small breeds. Feeding your dog smaller meals more frequently can help. If you suspect your dog is having low blood sugar you can put a drop of pancake syrup on your dog's tongue which should raise the level.

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/hypoglycemia-in-dogs/page1.aspx

Seizures can manifest as circlling and a dog may not lose conscienceness. You can read more about seizures here:

http://www.marvistavet.com/seizure-disorder.pml

http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/partial_focal.htm

I'd have Fonzie's glands checked and if his glands are fine, have your vet check him over.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.