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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 50707
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 48 years of experience.
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We have a 14 year old German shepherd. The last 2 years he

Customer Question

We have a 14 year old German shepherd . The last 2 years he has had problems with back legs but has still managed to get around . The last month his legs seem to be giving way and getting crossed behind him when attempting to get off steps. He is not crying in pain Still eats well but sleeps most of the day . Is there anything we can do
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner and I'm sorry to hear of this with Alfie. The best scenario is that he suffers from an inflammatory condition involving his spinal cord such as degenerative/intervertebral disk disease (a "slipped disk") that might respond to a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as carprofen, meloxicam, or grapiprant. The worst scenario and which I believe to be more likely is degenerative myelopathy of German Shepherds which is a Lou Gehrig-type of neuropathy which doesn't respond to any treatment.

The hallmark of degenerative myelopathy is progressive weakness of the pelvic limbs. Initially, affected dogs drag the claws and show general proprioceptive (knowing where one's limbs are in space) ataxia ("drunken sailor") in the pelvic limbs. Difficulty jumping is seen and the disease results in a progressive paraparesis to paraplegia within 12 months of onset of clinical signs. Please let Alfie's vet know what you're seeing. An NSAID is reasonable at this time. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.