How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask petdrz Your Own Question
petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7367
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
Type Your Veterinary Question Here...
petdrz is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My 10 year old boxer is laying on the floor resting, her rear

This answer was rated:

My 10 year old boxer is laying on the floor resting, her rear leg has started to scratch the floor as if she has a ticklish spot being rubbed. I have noticed this has been happening alot lately when she is resting or sleeping. I am concerned, should I be?
Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and Lilly today. I am a veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy work with you but need a bit more information in order to better assist you, if you don't mind.

Is this always only happening with the same leg? Is is a repetitive type movement or does it only occur once or twice?

Does it only happen when she is sleeping or when she is awake as well?

Is she otherwise acting normally? Eating? Drinking? eliminating?

Does she have any arthritis in her back legs? Stiff when rising?

Does she have any skin lesions?

Thanks and I will respond further after you reply. There may be a slight delay while I formulate and type a thorough response.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It happens when she is awake and sleeping. It does seem to be either leg, depending on what side she is laying on. This is also happening when ever we rub her in greeting or something, rubbing just in front of either back leg. Like a ticklish spot.


She does seem to be well, tired out easy today on morning walk, it is very warm, and humid today.


Yes, she is stiff and is starting to show signs of difficulty jumping up on the bed or sofa.


No skin lesions.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry, I forgot to finish answering the first question. It is repetitve movement.

Thank you for the reply.

The reflex that you describe is called a pedal reflex and can be seen most often in dogs with various dermatologic disorders that lead to pruritus (itchy skin). This would include things like mange mites and allergies to things like environmental allergens as well as food sensitivities. It occurs because the nerve receptors in the skin are sensitized due to the increased itch and any stimulation of the skin (even touching) sets off the reflex.

In her case, it makes me feel better that you can elicit the effect by rubbing her skin. As far as why is it occurring spontaneously even when she is asleep is unknown. It may be that her nervous system is just super sensitive, due to perhaps an underlying skin condition. Even if there are no lesions present and you don't see her itching, that is still possible. Another possibility is that she could be having localized or focal seizures, but that would not be a typical presentation at all.

What I would suggest is to schedule her for a thorough physical exam as well as a full neurologic evaluation so that all of her nerve reflexes can be evaluated. This will help to determine if there are any abnormalities noted to her other nerve reflexes that might help to localize a lesion of the brain or spine. Unfortunately, even if one is present, these neurologic exam can be normal and more advanced testing like an MRI is needed to define better. I would also have her skin scraped (and maybe even treated) for scabies even if no lesions are present only because the itch and pedal reflex from this disease is very common. Here is a link with more information about scabies in dogs LINK HERE

I hope this is helpful. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me when you are done. Thank you for allowing me to assist you.

Dr Z

petdrz and other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you kindly for the positive rating and the generous bonus. It is truly appreciated.

Please keep me updated as to how things progress for Lilly and I would be happy to address any further questions that you may have.
Hi Libby,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Lilly. How is everything going?

Dr Z