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Dr. Stacy
Dr. Stacy, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1560
Experience:  10 years of experience in Small Animal Practice
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Hi,i have a 10 yr old beagle who has gotten really weak in

Customer Question

Hi,i have a 10 yr old beagle who has gotten really weak in her back legs,she is reluctant to jump up and sometimes her rear legs give out on her.She weighed 50lbs about 6 mnths ago and she has been on a diet and she weighs 38lbs as of today.You can see and feel one of her rear leg muscles is bigger than the other and when she uses them to much they shake?What could be wrong?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Stacy replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for your question. I have just a few questions to help me with yours.


Is she painful at all?


Is she weak in both back legs even thought the muscle is decreased in just the one?


Does she ever stumble or trip?


Does she have any signs of illness...such as drinking more water, changes in appetite?


Dr. Stacy

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi,she will sometimes stumble in the back legs when she turns real fast or if she stands on her hind legs for a while they will give out.She does not seem to be in pain and her eating habits have not changed because she is still on her diet.Her back legs do quiver when she exerts herself.
Expert:  Dr. Stacy replied 7 years ago.

Without examining her I obviously can not say for sure, but this sounds a lot like a degenerative myelopathy. Beagle are predisposed to this condition. In simple terms degenerative myelopathies refer to the nerves in the spine that communicate to the back legs becoming degenerative or not sending signals as well. It is a completely non painful disease. The consequence of this is weakness and incoordination in the rear legs. It does cause muscle deterioration in the rear legs. Usually both rear legs are affected equally. Degenerative myelopathies have no treatment. They do tend to be slowly progressive.


However, this could be any kind of myelopathy (spinal problem) including compression for a disk, some kind of inflammatory problem, or an emboli. I think these are less likely because they tend to involve some pain. You probably should have a vet take a look at her just so you don't miss something that is potentially treatable.


I hope this helps answer your question, but if you have more questions let me know.


Dr. Stacy

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi,could it be arthritis?Does it cause muscles to quiver and become weak like that?
Expert:  Dr. Stacy replied 7 years ago.

Arthritis can cause some of these signs, but usually causes more pain and stiffness that is worst when they have been sleeping, but improves at the warm up and move around. It doesn't usually cause their legs to give out, but can cause reluctance to jump. What you describes fits more with a myelopathy, but it could be a combination of both. I would have a vet look at her because you can do a lot to relieve the discomfort of arthritis with medications.


Dr. Stacy

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

is there anway i can tell if she has myelopathy?

Expert:  Dr. Stacy replied 7 years ago.

One thing you can try to do, but definately isn't diagnostic is check how aware she is of her feet. You do this by having her stand evenly on all four feet. Support her a bit with an arm under her belly. Then without changing the position of there leg flip her foot upside down so the top of her foot is touching the ground. She should instantaneously correct the foot. If it takes her 10 seconds or more to realize that her foot is not right....that is very suggestive of a myelopathy.


Dr. Stacy