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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 30383
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Dogs back legs have become weak in the last couple of days.

Customer Question

Dogs back legs have become weak in the last couple of days. He's a springer spaniel, 4.5 years old.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
Would you describe Tonto as ataxic - "drunken sailor" - on his hind legs? Are they crossing underneath him? Is he dragging his paws/nails? A simple soft tissue injury is always possible but when both hind legs are involved, a myelopathy (spinal cord disorder) is considered. The most common of the myelopathies is intervertebral disk disease - a "slipped disk" which can be quite painful and account inappetence.

Tonto's vet will want to carefully palpate (feel) Tonto's spine/back to see areas of hyperpathia (increased sensitivity) exist. Tonto's conscious proprioception (knowing where one's legs are in space) and nociception (deep pain perception) should be assessed as well as they give us a prognosis . In most cases, a simple disk will remiss within 3 weeks. An emergency situation exists if peracute (sudden) paresis (weakness) or, indeed, paralysis is noted.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No his legs are not crossing, he just has difficulty getting from a lying to a standing position, and can't jump onto the couch, he can only manage to get his front paws up on the couch. He also looks as if he has difficulty going into a sitting position.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. When those symptoms are seen, I also need to consider hip dysplasia - osteoarthritis of his hips - and the cauda equina syndrome - an osteoarthritis involving the very last few segments of his spinal column. These conditions are diagnosed with X-rays. A slipped disk may also show up in X-rays but if my physical exam of my patient is suspicious enough disk, I'll waive X-rays and proceed to prescribe a nonsteroidal antiiflammatory drug (NSAID), and perhaps a narcotic analgesic and skeletal muscle relaxer.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'm going to check back with you in a few days update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

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