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Rebecca, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15393
Experience:  I have more than 30 years of veterinary practice experience.
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i have a 13 year old german shepard, she has been stiff in

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i have a 13 year old german shepard, she has been stiff in the back legs for some years,just age i would imagine as she needed help with steep steps, however about 4 weeks ago her rear legs collapsed twice on a short (200yd) walk and we also noticed her dragging her right rear paw and wearing the nails.She has been feacally incontient occasionaly (about 5 times) in the past 2 months, Then suddenly last sunday she started falling much more often,on monday we took her to our vet who diagnosed possible hip joint wear and put her on metacam. However her condition has got steadily worse to the point where she can no longer stand.Yesterday we took her to a different vet who immediately suspected DM but ruled it out as she has good pain response in her rear toes and signs of tenderness in the hip sockets with some wear being evident,Any ideas why her decline is so sudden

Rebeccavet :

Hello JACustomer,

Rebeccavet :

I am sorry to hear about Tess.

Rebeccavet :

My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.

Rebeccavet :

I would be worried about something wrong with her spinal cord. DM is a possibility; it is a progressive disease and it may not be advanced to the point of losing all feeling in her toes.

Rebeccavet :

Dragging the hing legs, wearing the nails, fecal incontinence all point to something wrong with the nerve function in her hind end.

Rebeccavet :

Other things can affect the spinal cord, such as a tumor in the cord. That would also cause a sudden decline. The only way to tell if there is a tumor, or a clot, or something in the spinal cord is an MRI or some imaging of the spinal cord.

Rebeccavet :

The website seems to be not working right this morning. I hope you are seeing what I am writing. I can try to connect with you another way.

I hope you can see what I am writing now.

There is a blood test to see if she has the gene for DM. If she is positive, this could be DM. If negative, then something else is affecting her spinal cord.

Some believe that DM can be treated,or at least slowed, with special diet and supplements, particularly amino caproic acid. Here is a good article on DM:

If there is a veterinary neurologist in your area, a consult with such a specialist is what I would do if she were my dog.

If that is not possible, you could try a course of steroids like prednisone. It will not help DM but might if this is some inflammatory process like arthritis of the joints in the spine, or inflammation in the spinal cord.

Please let me know what else I can answer.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

could DM really be as fast as this with a visible decline every day,

It could be, yes. But this could also be something like a tumor in the spinal cord, which could progress more rapidly than DM.

Another possibility is lumbo sacral compression, where there is pressure on the spinal cord from arthritis in the lower back. This can sometimes respond to anti inflammatory drugs, and sometimes surgery helps.

An Xray would show lumbo sacral compression, but would not tell anything about the spinal cord or DM, so if an Xray has not been done, that would be a good place to start.

Rebecca and 3 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for the good rating!