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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 30308
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My 10 yr old Golden Lab was having some stiffness in his

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My 10 yr old Golden Lab was having some stiffness in his back when trying to get up after laying down for a long time. I took him to the Vet and they gave him something like predisone and a pain pill T.......... The next day he was able to get right up and run around like a young dog. That evening he jumped up on the fence to bark at someone on the other side he yelped and went down and could not get up. Took him to Vet and he said he thought he was suffering from DM. Pretty much the same pills and he could not stand on his back legs at all. Well after getting over feeling sorry for my self I noticed that he was happly scooting around everywhere he wanted to go. He figured out how to go to pee and poop. So after about 6 days he is trying to use his back legs but after getting himself almost upright he has to get his backend back down. I dont know if it hurts to stand up or if it is weekness. I cannot afford an MRI or anything like that but just wanted to know is the fact that he is trying to stand mean anything, like will he walk again or should I not let him try to do that. I don't want him making things worse. Terri

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Cujo, Terri. Please note that degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a chronic, slowly developing myelopathy exhibited by progressive ataxia ("drunken sailor") over many months. I suspect that Cujo suffered a "slipped disk" or perhaps fibrocartilaginous embolism - an interruption in the blood supply to his spinal cord. Conservative therapy involves 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. Keeping Cujo as quiet as possible at this time can avoid his hurting himself further. Most dogs will remiss from a simple disk within 3 weeks. If paresis (weakness) or paralysis arises - which is the case - he may be a surgical candidate for spinal decompression. To answer you directly, his trying to use his back legs and getting himself (almost) up are very positive signs that Cujo can recover. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 25 days ago.
One of the meds he is on is Tramidol. You spoke of surgery, from what I hear that is way out of my reach. Should I discourage him from trying to stand? Since I can't do surgery will the disc get worse.

Thank you for the additional information. I want him to try to stand and you can assist him in that endeavor. I don't want him to stumble around, however, during which he can hurt himself further. I want you to help him outside to eliminate. A towel under his abdomen held by two people - one on either side of him - should faciliate your taking him outside. Yes, these dogs can worsen rather than improve but his current progress is encouraging. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 25 days ago.
Should I pay you now even if I want to continue with you for a few more days?

My moderator requests that you rate if you leave our conversation at this time but you're welcome to return to our conversation at your convenience - even after rating. You can bookmark this page for ease of return. I'm alerted when you're back online.

Dr. Michael Salkin and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

Customer: replied 24 days ago.
Just thought I would Update you. Cujo stood up to pee and poop and then went back down. Other than the meds is there anything I can do to help him. I don't want him to move too fast and be right back where we started. I was going to get him a cart but I don't think he needs it. Thank you for your help. Terri

You can provide physical therapy by flexing and extending all of the joints of his hind limbs for 15 minutes twice daily. Swimming is ideal and often provided by dog rehabilitation centers found in major metropolitan areas. I don't see the value for additional drugs. You're welcome, Terri.

Customer: replied 22 days ago.
Dr. Salkin, I just wanted to give you the most recent update as of yesterday now when he is in the house in place of crawling to me or to go to bed he stands up and walks, I hollar at him to crawl dont walk, i am afraid he will hurt himself. when I yell at him he gets right down and crawls he is so cute. Thanks Terri

Don't be such a slave driver, Terri! I'm pleased to hear that he can stand up and walk. That's not going to hurt him. It's overdoing - running around, jumping up and down, and navigating steps which can be harmful.