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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 28537
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My dog has started yellping trying to get up stairs or if I

Customer Question

My dog has started yellping trying to get up stairs or if I try lift him or touch his stomach and looks as if he's walking funny on front left leg.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with your bulldog, Sharlene. He appears to be demonstrating signs of spinal pain such as would occur with degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk"). When a front leg is paretic (weak) the slipped disk is going to be found in the cervical (neck) spine. Supportive evidence of a disk may include vocalizing when approached or lifted, having trouble jumping up or down and navigating steps, ataxia (“drunken sailor”), trembling/shaking (pain responses), a change in posture such as the neck held rigidly and head lower to the ground or a"hunch" in his back, and a change in behavior - a normally social dog becoming aloof or, conversely, a normally aloof dog becoming "clingy". His vet will want to carefully palpate (feel) about your dog's spine looking for areas of hyperpathia (increased sensitivity) suggestive of a disk. Conservative care involves the use of a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as carprofen or meloxicam, a narcotic analgesic such as tramadol, and a skeletal muscle relaxant such as methocarbamol or diazepam. These drugs are usually administered for at least ten days. Most simple disks will remiss within a few weeks. It's important to keep these dogs as quiet as possible lest they hurt themselves further.

Should paresis (weakness) or paralysis arise in any limb(s), he'll need the attention of his vet at your earliest convenience. Such dogs are then surgical candidates for spinal cord decompression. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.