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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22434
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My dog Shep, 13 year old border collie cannot stand up. This

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My dog Shep, 13 year old border collie cannot stand up. This has suddenly happened

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

I am very concerned about Shep.

Can you tell if he has had any access to toxins or plants prior to these signs?

Has he had any issue with arthritis before now?

Is it just his hind legs that he is having trouble with or all of them?

Does he appear to have feeling, warmth, and voluntary movement in all his legs?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He has a touch of Arthritis in his back legs. He was in a local kennels overnight & seemed fine when I picked him up. However once home, after a little nap he became distressed and has difficulty getting up. I don't know if he has had access to toxins or plants while he was at the kennel

Thank you Simon,

Can you tell me any more about his legs (as I asked you about which were affected, and whether their had feeling, warmth, and voluntary movement before)?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Its his back legs. there is movement there. when I touch his pads he can move them. they feel as warm as his front legs. I have also noticed his right eye is twitching, which it didn't do before


Thank you again Simon,

I am grateful for your checking those parameters for me. The reason why they were so important is because sudden hind limb weakness can be caused by a range of issues. If the feet feel warm, he has voluntary movement and sensation; this puts serious worries about blood clot obstruction to the greater vessels and spinal paralysis (either due to emboli lodged in the spine, disc disease, etc) to the bottom of our list of concerns here.

With those to the side, we would have to consider potential intoxication (if he is also twitching or tremoring), orthopedic disease (if the kennel wasn't padded, he has been struggling to get comfortable on his old joints there, and now is stiff the next day), a potential pinched nerve, and the possibility of a chronic issue now rearing its head (ie spinal or bone tumors suddenly causing trouble in his managing with his back legs).

Furthermore, if you think both eyes are flicking back and forth quickly or that he cannot really tell which way is up when he tries to stand (perhaps struggling to stand due to disorientation instead of physical limitation), then we'd also have to consider vestibular involvement. The vestibular system is part of what controls out ability to balance and right ourselves. We can see this affected with brain diseases (ie inflammation, cysts, bleeds, tumors, etc), middle ear disease, and with an odd condition of the elderly dog called "vestibular syndrome". So, if he is more wobbly like he is drunk then actually struggling on his limbs, this would be a consideration. And to approach these cases, it does depend on what the trigger is, but for the syndrome it is often a case of supportive care, anti-inflammatories +/- treatment for any infections in the middle ear.

In this situation, if we cannot rule out intoxication and if he is potentially so painful he cannot readily stand where he could before, we would want to have him checked today. His vet can perform a neurological examination to help determining if toxicity, vestibular, spinal or nerve based issues are present here. As well, they will be able to appreciate if his arthritis has been negatively impacted by the kennel visit leading to severe stiffness. Depending on the findings of the examination, his vet will be able to advise you of which of the above is our culprit and dispense treatment to address this for him and get him back on his feet.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! :

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi. Just returned from the vet & Shep has had a minor stroke

Thank you for the update on Shep, Simon.

Of our concerns, a "stroke" (which is a lay term for the vestibular syndrome I mentioned before) is one of the better causes for his signs. As I noted before, this is often addressed with supportive care +/- anti-inflammatory treatment. So, hopefully the signs will be short term for him and settle quickly.

All the best,
Dr. B.
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