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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 4284
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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My 6 yesr old Boston Terrier has all of a sudden started to

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My 6 yesr old Boston Terrier has all of a sudden started to find it difficult to stand and walk. He is eating and able to urinate and pass stool. He is lathargic and reluctent to move off his bed. I have checked him over thoriughly and he appears to have no injuries, he has not shown any sign of being in pain when i checked his hind legs and feet for foreign bodies. He began limping at 22.00 hrs last night. When i dtand him on his bed, his rear end falls over.Can you offer any advice.Alan Holland

I'm Dr. Jo and I'm a licensed veterinarian with more than twenty years of experience. I'm here to help with your question about Louis. I'm so sorry you are having this problem, but glad you're looking for the information you need.

You may join the conversation at any time by typing in ,what you want to say then clicking REPLY or SEND. Then we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided. I'll do my best to earn your good rating, because that's the only way I receive any compensation for helping you.

In the meantime, I want to start by letting you know you are right to be worried. As much as I hate to deliver bad news and cause you further worry, the first thing to come to mind for the symptoms you are describing (especially for a Boston) is a ruptured disc or other type of back/spine problem. This can just happen and come on suddenly like this.

(typing more...)

Because of the way they're built, spinal issues are not uncommon in Boston terriers. They can arise with no known apparent injury or trauma, just from normal activity - especially in middle aged dogs. These types of problems are also vastly more common in overweight Bostons.

The classic symptoms are hind end weakness and reluctance to move, just as you've described. You can read more about disc problems in dogs by clicking on this link:

Please let me know what your question is for me today, and I'll do my best to help. I'm so sorry you're going through this.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi and thsnk you for the prompt response. Louis is not overweight as we recently had his boosters done at our local vets, where he was weighed. Could this be something less serious in your opinion? I thought he may have just knocked himself playing like he does with our cat. What would you advise we now do please?.

Yes, of course...

I also want to remain hopeful this could turn out to be something less serious, and that is possible. I always dislike causing undue worry, but feel obligated to speak honestly when the possibility of something serious is there. If he has just exhausted himself playing rough with the cat, he should be fine after a rest. If his back end continues to simply not work, then I'm much more worried about disc problems. There is a simple test you can do at home to help determine if his spinal cord is okay. One moment...

This video demonstrates testing for proprioception, or the ability for the body to tell where it is in space. If the dog's foot is placed in a knuckled over position and he does not correct it, then we know there is a spinal issue.

Please let me know what you observed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi and thank you.
I have just done this on both legs and Louis corrected it on both sides. On his left leg though it appeared to collapse under him.

I usually repeat it several times on each rear leg, and it's not unusual for the response to vary a little bit each time. With a completely healthy spine, however, a dog will ALWAYS correct the flipped over paw right away and stand on it normally.

Louis' leg collapsing when his paw is flipped over has me worried about the possibility of a spinal issue. Other things are possible, too, including knee and hip problems. As I said above, I don't want to cause undue worry, but I feel this warrants a trip to the vet. I wouldn't feel comfortable advising you to wait this out... I know you're worried about him too.

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