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Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 26277
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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Female rescue dog, 8 years, cross-breed with poodle. On tablets

Customer Question

Female rescue dog, 8 years, cross-breed with poodle. On tablets for under active thyroid. Just had blood tests to check thyroid and hormones, came back with normal results.
Problem: took her to the vet as she was having trouble walking properly, he said that it looked as if she had been dragged along and 2 claws on rear paws were down to the bone.
Have barely walked her for 2 weeks and rear paws improving but have just noticed that one of her front claws appears to be the same.
Please advise me as I am really alarmed by this?
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 to hear of this with your dog. You've described an ataxic ("drunken sailor") dog who has lost conscious proprioception (knowing where one's feet are in relationship to one's body). Loss of conscious proprioception and dragging more than one limb as was described by the vet suggests both encephalopathy (brain disorder) and myelopathy (spinal cord disorder). In your dog's case, I would expect to find a myelopathy involving the cervical (neck) spinal cord because both front and rear legs are affected. An encephalopathy can cause similar changes but is found less commonly. An ascending polyradiculoneuritis should also be considered when our patient's hind legs are first affected and then the front legs become affected later.

Degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk") is the most common of the myelopathies followed by tumors in or around the spinal cord, and also central nervous system infections and immune-mediated disorders. Initial testing involves X-rays of her spine and in many cases MRI is necessary to clarify the disorder in the central nervous system.

The prognosis for these dogs is necessarily guarded to poor unless we can identify a specific infectious agent that can be addressed or an immune-mediated disorder that responds to an antiinflammatory glucocorticosteroid such as prednisone. Once a few weeks have passed, therapy becomes less and less likely to be of value. I suspect that advanced testing (MRI, e.g.) is limited for dogs where you live. Please let me know what your vet has told you so far vis a vis your dog's symptoms and we can continue our conversation.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm hoping that this isn't the problem as she is a smallish dog and doesn't appear to have any problem with walking. She has a tendency to pull badly on the lead and at times you do feel that you're 'pulling' her along.
My thoughts were that maybe it could be something to do with her medication or thyroid condition? She has a problem with itchy eyes and thick greyish matter in them also, I have her on antibiotic eye drops for this. The vet says that her thyroid could be causing this too?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
My concern, however, is that you mentioned that she "was having trouble walking properly" and her vet thought that she had been dragging her legs. Do you think that she's been so uncooperative on the leash as to damage her nails as you're described? That would certainly make for a much better prognosis than a problem with her central nervous system.

To answer your questions directly, hypothyroidism might cause exercise intolerance but not her scraping her nails "down to the bone" nor itchy eyes with discharge. If her vet believes that there's an allergic basis for her eyes - an allergic conjunctivitis - a combination antibiotic/steroid eye drop should work better than an antibiotic alone.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your answers. I will keep a close eye on my dog and see how things progress.
We live on the Island of Crete so I will probably need to find a vet with more sophisticated equipment in order to have her scanned.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
I understand.

I'm going to check back with you in a few weeks 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: 26277
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
Dr. Michael Salkin and 3 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.

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