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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 9767
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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My dog is 12 years old. She is often quite stiff after lying

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My dog is 12 years old. She is often quite stiff after lying in her basket, but yesterday after getting up and scratching herself a lot, she seemed to lose control of her rear right leg. She lay down and it was twitching quite severely, She did not seem to be in any pain. After about 15 minutes she was able to get up and walk a bit, and then went for quite a long walk with me and then with my daughter. She seemed fine, but the same thing happened again today. What might be the cause and should I worry?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.

Hello Lyn, I'm Dr. Deb.

I recently came online and see that your question about Kimba hasn't been answered. I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response, but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.

I'm sorry for this concern for Kimba; I'm certain that this behavior must be quite distressing for you both

I have several thoughts as to what might be causing the behavior that you've seen and describe:

1. The equivalent of a localized pinched nerve.
2. Degenerative conditions with her joints which could cause pain/discomfort even though she's not vocalizing or acting as if she's in pain.
3. Issues with her spine such as compression by a disc or mass.

4. Dogs can develop tremors as they age; some are present right after rest

or some may worsens with activity and excitement. Severity can range from a barely perceptible tremor to altered gait and balance problems. Signs can progress as the dog ages.

It may be difficult to differentiate between an orthopedic or neurologic problem without extensive testing although a thorough physical exam may help to point in one direction or another.

I'm not sure how much you need to worry about this behavior since it's only occurred twice now but I suspect that it may continue to be an issue for her. If she's not currently taking any supplements, the following are what I'd suggest. They may not help in the short term but may do so for the long term especially if she has arthritis issues or even inflammation:
1. I’m a huge fan of joint supplements such as Dasaquin or Cosequin which are veterinary products specifically formulated for dogs. Quality control is a big problem with these products since what’s on the label is not necessarily what’s in the bottle which is why I mentioned specific brands. These are available on the internet.
2. Also, fish oil supplements can be helpful since they have anti-inflammatory properties. Welactin and 3V Derm Caps are good veterinary products and are also available on the internet. It takes several weeks for these products to build up in the system, so you might not see immediate results. But once started, these supplements should be continued for them to be effective; you wouldn't stop and start them, in other words, like you would drugs...but you may already know this.

3. Another option would be Zeel which is a human combination homeopathic that can be used in conjunction with other nsaid medication and has a very low incidence of adverse effects. Dose would be one tablet two to three times a day....I'd go with three times a day for the first 2 weeks, then drop back to twice a day for maintenance.


In addition, if she's not currently taking any nsaid medication and isn't vomiting, then over the counter Aspirin can be given at a dose of 10 mg/lb twice a day, with food to avoid stomach upset. Since this drug also has anti-pain properties in addition to those for inflammation, it may be of benefit if either problem is present.

I hope this helps although, again, my apologies for the delayed reply. Deb

Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 9767
Experience: I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.
Lyn,
Thanks for the rating; it's greatly appreciated.

And, best of luck with Kimba. Regards, Deb

Kindly ignore the information request.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for this information. I am wondering whether it is a good idea to take our dog out on long walks shortly after she has one of these sudden instances of her leg giving way and twitching quite violently (kicking back). She seems to recover quite quickly and to trot along happily on the walks.

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.
Lyn:
You're more than welcome.

If the twitching isn't exacerbated or worsens after activity, then I wouldn't deprive her of the walks which I'm sure she enjoys. Since walking/trotting isn't triggering an episode, I wouldn't change that part of her routine at this point. And, moderate exercise has been shown to help with joint issues to help keep her limber. Deb
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

This is a related question about Kimba, my 12 year old Australian Cattle Dog. In addition to the symptoms described earlier--stiffness and sometimes violent twitching backwards of her left leg, she has in the past few weeks begun scratching madly with that same back leg--often just scratching in the air, but sometimes her leg or neck. We have carefully checked for signs of fleas or mites but cannot find any, and have also shampooed her with a soothing shampoo, but the "air" scratching continues with lots of thumping against the floor. What can be causing this and how cane we help her?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

This is a related question about Kimba, my 12 year old Australian Cattle Dog. In addition to the symptoms described earlier--stiffness and sometimes violent twitching backwards of her left leg, she has in the past few weeks begun scratching madly with that same back leg--often just scratching in the air, but sometimes her leg or neck. We have carefully checked for signs of fleas or mites but cannot find any, and have also shampooed her with a soothing shampoo, but the "air" scratching continues with lots of thumping against the floor. What can be causing this and how cane we help her?


Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.

Lyn:

Dogs who scratch themselves or the air typically do so because of
1. Inhalent allergies to things such as pollens, dust mites, mold.

It would take skin testing by a dermatologist to confirm this problem but sometimes response to steroids can confirm it. Anti-histamines can sometime help if the itch level is not too high.

You might try Diphenhydramine 1 mg/lb twice daily to see if it helps. Sedation is the most common side effect although it can cause excitement in some dogs. If this is not strong enough, steroids are often needed. Anti-itch sprays are not terribly effective, in my opinion. Oatmeal shampoos can sometimes help soothe the skin and can be given once/week without drying out the fur.

2. Allergies to fleas are also a very common problem in dogs. They become allergic to the flea saliva and one flea can cause them to go crazy. The fleas hop off and on so you might not see them.

The same treatment for #1 is suggested but also good flea control, of course. The house as well as all pets in the house will need to be treated at the same time. Fleas are a huge nuisance and sometimes tough to get rid of...not impossible but difficult depending on where you live.

2. Sarcoptes manage mites

If this is entirely new behavior (there have never been skin issues before)or the itch level is worse than it's ever been (if there have been skin problems in the past), then Sarcoptes Mange mites is a strong possibility. These are very itchy mites; they are difficult to find on a skin scraping done by your vet but there is a new blood test (at least here in the States) which can be run.

There are a number of treatment options but which are pretty much vet preference.

This LINK provides various treatment options.

If you have chickens, then Dermanyssus gallinae which is a mite that affects both dogs, people and chickens is a possibility.

Deb

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. This is helpful. I might add that she doesn't scratch when she is on her bed or in her basket--both a lot of the time--or when she is on walks. It seems to happen mostly when she is lying on the floor (which is carpeted.

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.
Lyn:
My pleasure:)

Perhaps there's something about the carpet texture or fibers that's she's reacting to? I'm not sure since this sounds somewhat atypical unless the carpet is relatively new. Then it might make some sense to me that she's allergic to it.

Db

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