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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question

Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 25255
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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I have a 3 year old French bulldog. He has just come upstairs

Customer Question

I have a 3 year old French bulldog. He has just come upstairs to bed and his back legs have stopped working. He is lying down and appears unable to move. He is panting and seems stressed. I have felt along his spine and legs - there is no indication of pain. He did move his leg while I was stroking it. His legs and paws are warm.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry for the delay in responding to you. I just came online to find your alarming question. Your Frenchie's behavior is indicative of a myelopathy (spinal cord disorder) in this breed. Congenital (present at birth) deformities of the spinal column are common and may cause pressure on the spinal cord resulting in paresis (weakness) and paralysis. In addition, degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk") is relatively common in this breed.

Regardless of the etiology, his panting and stress does indicate the pain associated with spinal cord compression and it's important to provide antiinflammatory relief in the form of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or an antiinflammatory dose of a corticosteroid such as prednisone as soon as possible for the best prognosis for remission - if, indeed, that's possible. I must encourage your having him seen by an on-call/ER vet at your earliest convenience. X-rays are the initial diagnostic of choice and MRI will be recommended if surgical decompression of his spine is indicated.

Please let me know how he's currently doing and please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi there. Thank you so much for your information. We have some Prednisolone prescribed by our referral vet us as he has an inflammatory condition that can affect his breathing. I have given him one tablet. He seems more relaxed, his breathing is calm and he is sleepiing. Unfortunately, we are having difficulty finding an out of hours clinic (our own vet does not do out of hours and we cannot get through to the surgery supposedly providing cover). I think he may have had a mild episode similar to this twice before - always when the temperature is very low outside. He has always improved after sleeping. I did ask my own vet about it some time ago, he said that it may be an occasional nerve problem but did not seem very concerned. The last episode was over 12 months ago ( a very cold day last winter). We may have to wait until the clinic opens in the morning - could the delay in visiting the vet affect the prognosis or outcome?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information. Please give him a full antiinflammatory dose of the prednisolone - 0.5mg/kg. It can make a very important difference in the outcome and should obviate the need to seek help at an ER. I'm not certain how the cold is associated with his episodes. An "occasional nerve problem" belittles the potential severity of his disorder. Please do have him seen in the morning and insist upon a thorough neurologic examination and spinal X-rays.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have given the full dose and will insist on a full examination tomorrow. He seems so much happier already. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your advice. At the risk of sounding somewhat crazy, I love this dog so much I felt physically ill when he seemed unable to walk. I wish you were his actual vet (I don't suppose you practise anywhere near Manchester, UK?) Thanks again.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
That's good to hear. Thank you for your kind words. I'm afraid that the closest I get to Manchester is when I watch a UK film. I split my time nowadays between Hawaii and California.

I'm going to check back with you in a few days for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 25255
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
Dr. Michael Salkin and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'll speak to you soon.

Please disregard the info request.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
May I have an update, please?

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