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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 28551
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My wife, myself and our little dog Cloe have returned from a

Customer Question

Good morning, my wife, myself and our little dog Cloe have returned from a three week holiday with family and friends on the Gold Coast. On our return home Chloe has refused to do almost anything including walking. We have been to our local Vet and had her examined and tested and nothing to alarm us. On a couple of occasions she appears to be just "crying" when we coax her to come out of her hiding place.
She is a Maltese/Poodle 3yrs old and weighs just 6kg. Our home is clean neat and tidy at all times and she is fed nothing but healthy foods at all times. She is an athlete in the park but currently moves like a very old dog with no apparent motivation to do anything.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

While this is necessarily conjecture because I can't examine Chloe hands-on, her behavior and vocalizing when approached ("coaxed") worries me for back pain. Degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk") should be an important differential diagnosis in such a 3 year old miniature dog. Supportive evidence of a disk may include vocalizing when approached or lifted, having trouble jumping up or down and navigating steps, ataxia (“drunken sailor”), trembling/shaking (pain responses), a change in posture such as the neck held rigidly and head lower to the ground or a "hunch" in Chloe's back, and a change in behavior - a normally social dog becoming aloof or, conversely, a normally aloof dog becoming "clingy". Chloe's vet will want to carefully palpate (feel) about Chloe's spine looking for areas of hyperpathia (increased sensitivity) suggestive of a disk. Conservative care involves the use of a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as carprofen or meloxicam, a narcotic analgesic such as tramadol, and a skeletal muscle relaxant such as methocarbamol or diazepam. These drugs are usually administered for at least ten days. Most simple disks will remiss within a few weeks. It's important to keep these dogs as quiet as possible lest they hurt themselves further.

Should paresis (weakness) or paralysis arise in any limb(s), Chloe would need the attention of her vet at your earliest convenience. Such dogs are then surgical candidates for spinal cord decompression. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.