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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4754
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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My dog a Yorkshire terrier aged 16 has developed a sudden weakness

Resolved Question:

My dog a Yorkshire terrier aged 16 has developed a sudden weakness on the right hand side, his paws seem to be going under him.when we stand him up and lean him to the left he seems to be able to walk a few steps before going over to the right and falling. He is in his box most of the time and is alert, able to eat and drink okay. What do you think is the cause and how can we help him?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Joey :

Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.

Dr. Joey :

How long has Pepper had this issue? Did it just start recently (past 24 hours, few days) or been going on for months? Has he been seen by his vet, and if so were any xrays done? What medications is he currently taking? And finally does he have any other health issues (heart murmur/failure, kidney issues, etc)?

Dr. Joey :

thank you for taking a moment to answer my questions; these help me to understand his situation a bit better and provide you the best answer possible.

Dr. Joey :

Speculating on this sudden weakness, there are several potential causes for this. The most common would be this is related to neurological weakness from a back problem (especially a slipped disk, spinal inflammation or a spinal tumor). This can be quite painful and is important to identify if this is the problem as soon as possible to get him some medication.


If he does not have evidence of nerve issues upon examination by his vet, then if he truly is weak he could have thrown a blood clot that is affecting the funciton of the limb. Another possibility is that this is pain related and when he bears weight it hurts so much he slips; THis level of pain could come from arthritis, bone tumor, fracture, bone infection, etc.


I am reluctant at his age to recommend use of an over-the-counter medication for pain relief because we must be absolutely certain he has no liver/kidney issues prior to starting. If he did we could worsen this problem and cause more future issues than it is worth to avoid an office visit. The best for Pepper is to have his vet do an exam followed by some testing to try to narrow down the cause of his issue. If pain-related weakness is suspected then your vet can prescribe a medication that we know not only works well to provide pain relief in dogs, but also is low risk for side effects.

Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 3 years ago.

You appear to be unavailable for a live chat or we are having a difficult time connecting. I am at a point I need to know what questions you have. We can continue our dialog in this setting.

I hope that the information I provided has been helpful.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
This has only developed over the past 24 hours, prior to this although hens old he is quite mobile although he does sleep quite a bit. He is on medication for fits he takes epifren he has been taking this med for over 14 years and is on a low dose taking 1/2 tab per day. He has not had any fits in the past year.he has not been seen by the vet yet but when we went for a prescription check last month she said that she could detect a very slight heart murmur and all his other tests for liver kidney etc where very good
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 3 years ago.
This does worry me, then, since it is so sudden in onset. The absolute best for him is to have him evaluated today, if possible. We want to be sure his heart disease has not worsened (and he is throwing blood clots secondarily) or that he has a back issues (such as ruptured disk or infection or tumor). If these are ruled out and he is found to be painful in a joint, then perhaps a trial with new pain relief medication may be in order.

If you feel he is stable, not painful and not worsening you could safely monitor him at home. If he at any point did worsen (other limb becomes weak, completely paralyzed in affected limb or vocalizing as if in pain), then he needs to be seen right away by his vet or an emergency vet.

Please let me know your questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Dr Joey he does not seem to be in any pain whatsoever, we have checked down his limbs and across his back, he is happy enough in his box and is eating, drinking and going to the toilet okay although we do have to help him stand.
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 3 years ago.
I would say use your best judgement, then. If you feel perhaps he is stable or improving, then watch him for the next 24 hours. If you feel this has come on suddenly and is worsening, then I recommend have him seen as soon as possible.
If you elect to monitor him, then encourage him to rest (sounds like this is not a problem) and help him to do any stairs and jumping on/off furniture. Avoid slick surfaces so he will not fall, as best you can.
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