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SuperWanda January 8th, 2014 02:54 PM

Hind end weakness in senior dog
Hi - I have a 15 year old husky/hound x who is showing increasing hind end weakness.

I have been trying to research different supplements that may help her but haven't found any convincing evidence for any one in particular.

Most people I meet say glucosamine/chondroitin but when I read the current research (with humans) it doesn't look like they have concluded any significant results compared with placebo.

I am currently trying a green lipid mussel supplement (liquid softgels) that contain essential fatty acids but apparently you need a few months to see any results and I am only 1 week in.

I have also read about degenerative myelopathy (similar to MS in humans) where deterioration of the spine can cause these symptoms. Apparently there is no cure but increased antioxidents in the diet can help to slow the progression.

She is 15, so I imagine this type of deterioration is inevitable, but thought I would post to see if anyone has had good results using a particular supplement to help this issue.

hazelrunpack January 8th, 2014 04:00 PM

The most common cause we've seen of hind-end weakness here is spondylitis. The spine begins to fuse and bony spurs form that can pinch the nerves, causing the hind end to lose innervation. Usually there are no symptoms till late in life and often the condition is only found accidentally when side xrays are done on the dog--the condition doesn't show well on vertical axis xrays (ventral to dorsal, etc).

We have at least 4 dogs with it--all cases discovered incidentally while xraying the abdomen for other things. I suspect all of our dogs have it do some extent--many active breeds do.

Unfortunately, barring risky surgery, there's not much you can do for it except give anti-inflammatory agents, but I just wanted to let you know it could well be something other than degenerative myelopathy, which could move a lot faster...

Hope your girl responds well to the green lipid mussel supplement!

SuperWanda January 8th, 2014 07:42 PM

Thanks Hazel,

Our vet never suggested an x-ray which I wondered about.

It does actually seem to be getting worse in the last week but at the same time, we have been locked up inside due to the extreme cold and haven't gone on any regular walks for at least a few weeks now. Tomorrow this polar vortex is being pushed back up to the poles where it belongs so I'm hoping some exercise helps.

Today she is very wobbly and her left hind leg seems to tremor frequently when she is standing, she seems to not put as much weight on it. Her entire hind end seems to fall down as she stands and she slips around on the floors so we put down extra rugs.

I am feeling very worried because I know someone who just put their dog down because it couldn't walk anymore.

My vet mentioned there are dog wheel chairs but I really don't know how I feel about that.

I'm hoping we are far from that but at the same time don't want to be naive in thinking there could be a major issue around the corner especially given her age.

Winston January 8th, 2014 08:30 PM

Superwanda have you ever heard of Sashas Blend? I used it for awhile for my boy Winston when he was getting older. I did find it helped him. It is a little pricey but you may want to look into it. Its been a few years now so I don't know what the product is like now. Its so hard to see them age. :(


sweetheart1 January 9th, 2014 11:51 AM

husky mix- 15 yrs old -Spondylis (M.S)
Hi Superwanda- Am I the only one from nyc on this blog? I know I use and yahoo,com pet (P/A) and this blog is mostly for anyone who live in Canada and (surrounding areas? Can I use it too? will anyone respond back to me- Will it transmit via intnernet?

I just want to say, that I have a 15/16 yr old Lhasa who I believe has IVDD or spondylis like yours. I did give my boy that glusomaine/chronditon-msm pill and it did no good. I did not give it monthly because I also read that this pill supplement in drug stores,GNC stores is a lot of bunk. I will try the green mussel pill. His legs are like jello, so weak no strength. Its hard for me to watch him drag his back legs on the floor. Im trying very hard to help him. I do not know if acupuncture/or low light therapy will do it. I may have to put him to sleep. His neuro email me and said it will do no good. Should I believe him. I do not want to spend monies on acupuncture/or low light therapy if its not going to help him walk againi f this is a no win/win I will put him down God is not doing it so I will take this upon my soul.Im 66 yrs old and I have 2 bad knees and has put him first above my needs. Any advise from will be heard. I need all the support I can get. Im all alone and no one to talk with I have a few friends but they do not own one so they really do not know what its like but we do. bye. Im on facebook,com , {edited by mod} :dog:

hazelrunpack January 9th, 2014 03:38 PM

Maybe a second opinion is in order, sweetheart1? Is there another vet you can call? Or, at the very least, have your dog's xrays, test results, etc., be sent to another specialist for evaluation?

If accupuncture is available in your area, maybe just have one or two sessions and see how it goes? You don't have to continue if it doesn't seem to be helping and just one or two sessions shouldn't be too expensive.

Good luck with your boy. I know how hard it is to watch them age. :( :grouphug:

Oh, and btw, I'm from Wisconsin. :D We have members from all over, but I'm not sure if we have anyone else currently active on the board who's from NYC.

SuperWanda January 9th, 2014 09:04 PM

Thanks Winston, I will look into the sashas blend. I have heard of it but have never tried it or seen it in stores here. There are so many supplements geared towards pets it is hard to know which ones to try.

sweetheart1, I'm sorry about the troubles you are having with you senior dog. It is very difficult to see them decline and wonder how you can help.

I think I have decided to try some physical therapy. Like Hazel said, you can try a few sessions to see if there is any benefit before spending too much.

Dog Dancer January 9th, 2014 11:35 PM

Sorry to hear both of your troubles. It is hard to watch our old ones as they near the end. I currently am dealing with a 13 year old lab who is failing bit by bit, but two years ago lost my 14 year old Akita cross Shadow.

Shadow also had hind end weakness, but hers was due to arthritis, it ultimately went to her spine and we knew it was time. We tried many supplements and shots, and drugs, and each worked for a time but ultimately would stop being effective. In the end it came down to trial and error to see what helped to keep her comfortable and mobile. They are so dear to us aren't they.

MaxaLisa January 11th, 2014 06:41 PM

[QUOTE=SuperWanda;1063984]Most people I meet say glucosamine/chondroitin but when I read the current research (with humans) it doesn't look like they have concluded any significant results compared with placebo.[/QUOTE]
Please don't believe the majority of those studies. There is so much bias in the design and interpretation of most of the supplement studies nowadays, there is a big attack on supplements. There are so many studies that do show benefit, and you can see it daily on the forums how dogs respond. If you scroll to the very bottom of this, and then to page 2, it addresses some of the issues with that study: [url][/url]

(There are similar rebuttals to nearly all of the larger Big Pharm supplement studies out there - most have terrible study design and control.)

For that hind end stuff, I can't say enough good things about chiropractric ([url][/url] ). I would also want to make sure there wasn't an active TBD (:( ) You can use doxy for arthritic pain (studies show the validity), which is often better tolerated than things like rimadyl or metacam, if that's the direction you need to go in, but I would first load up on a good joint product. I always start with a Cosequin product, but I like to add a more whole foods product if tolerated too, like the glycoflex or the springtime products, though I've never used springtime. Adequan or the canadian version (which is supposed to be better) may also help (cartrophen? I always get the spelling confused with rimadyl, but it's not the same as that at all). Acupuncture may help too.

SuperWanda January 12th, 2014 08:25 PM

Thank you Dog Dancer. I'm so sorry about your Shadow. Yes, it is hard to watch them age and wonder if you are doing all the right things. That is what I guess I'll do is experiment with some things and hopefully something will help. At the same time, I guess these things are natural to some degree. It happens to every one even if we don't want it to.

MaxaLisa, I have made an apt with a holistic vet here who does acupuncture and chiropractic work. I Have to wait until next month but am on the cancellation list. The other unfortunate thing is she has now hurt her left leg (we think). My husband heard her fall between the wall and the bed and one of her legs got hung up on the bed. The vet prescribed metacam but I am trying some aspirin first and it seems to be helping. I have since pushed the bed against the wall and added a number of pillows to fill in the remaining gap. She loves to roll on her back up there but I guess didn't realize where she was rolling. Use to puppy proof the house and am now senior proofing it so no one gets hurt.

MaxaLisa January 12th, 2014 08:39 PM

Oh man, I hate it when they do silly things like that that injures them :wall:

Great about the appointment, even if you have to wait a bit. I hope that whatever you decide to do, it brings quick relief. This aging part is really hard to watch!

Keep us posted on how things go :goodvibes:

SuperWanda January 15th, 2014 01:03 PM

Lucky for me, they did have a cancellation so I go on Monday. I am glad but very worried because my vet has mentioned it could be degenerative myelopathy a few times and that really scares me. I know she is 15 and has had a great life but I feel sick thinking that I may be nearing the final stages of her life. It upsets me to see her struggle. I thought she was a little better yesterday but this morning she couldn't get out of bed again and her hind legs gave out. Her entire back end is so saggy and weak today. I feel nervous about leaving her at home alone because she is having these issues and unfortunately is a dog who has struggled with separation anxiety her entire life. When I go out she doesn't just lie down and relax, she gets upset and paces around which is exhausting for her and hard on her physical body. I have actually been setting out a "mummy dummy" which seems silly but it does work. I have this halloween inflatable skeleton which I dress in a hoodie and she thinks it is me resting on the couch or sitting on the chair. As long as she doesn't investigate it too closely, it can trick her if she is tired. Her hearing isn't great so I can sneak out without her knowing. The things we do but I have been devoted to her wellbeing, more than my own, for most of her life. This is why it is so hard to watch her decline, like a piece of myself is fading. She means so much to me.

erykah1310 January 15th, 2014 11:01 PM

I have used and still do use Sashas blend on my older dogs and my "hard on their own body" dogs and love the stuff.
However I have had great success over the years with raw unpasturized apple cider vinegar added into their water daily as well.
It takes a long time to "help" but it is so great for so many things.
But by no means will it be a quick fix, neither will Sashas blend either though.

MaxaLisa January 15th, 2014 11:19 PM

I'm glad you are able to get in sooner.

DM is hard to diagnose, there are other back issues that can mimic it, but it a sense it doesn't matter what you call it, it's that time when everything gets harder :(

I would also want extra antioxidants and B vitamins in addition to the joint stuff, just to note response.

SuperWanda January 16th, 2014 04:25 PM

Thanks erykah, sometimes I throw some ACV in with their meals but have never added it to their water on a daily basis. I haven't been able to find sashas blend here but maybe I can order it online?

MaxaLisa, I am am still hoping an injury that resolves itself or gets better with treatment but would also like to address the weakness. The lameness just happened so suddenly. I hope this holistic vet can help. I do add extra antioxidants and various vitamins daily like C, E and for B I use nutritonal and brewers yeast, although it is a brewers yeast that comes from beets as opposed to beer and is actually pretty tasty.

MaxaLisa January 20th, 2014 05:08 AM

Good luck tomorrow :)

SuperWanda January 20th, 2014 09:53 AM

Thanks, apt. Is later this morning.

I picked up some natural eggshell membrane (NEM) on the weekend to try and the guy at the health store pointed out a mineral supplement called sierrasil apparently harvested from the sierra nevada mountains. I purchased 30 pet chews to try athough, it is much cheaper if you buy the human supplement. The pet chews just have oat bran, salmon and liver flavor which my dogs don't care for.

The other thing that is bothering me a bit is tick disease. Shouldn't all dogs, regardless of age, be tested for tick disease if they present joint problems, hind end weakness or lameness? I found a deer tick on her back in October. Still waiting on the results because there were so many submissions the lab is now backlogged. Sure, it is probably fairly unlikely, but I think that should be ruled out just in case. She hasn't had too many of the other symptoms like loss of appetite but it sounds like symptoms can vary. I don't know, just a thought and I have reason to worry about that since Timber's ordeal.

hazelrunpack January 20th, 2014 11:57 AM

I would be worried about tick-borne diseases, too, SuperWanda! Especially since you found a tick within the past few months. Symptoms can be extremely variable.

SuperWanda January 20th, 2014 01:37 PM

Yeah, I think I'd like to look further into that. She did have the saggy hind end coming on before I found the tick but as things have progressed and the sudden lameness, who knows?

My apt. was interesting. She examined her and performed some massage, mobilization of joints, spine, acupuncture. She said she wanted to do this all gently because of her age. Gave me some massage, exercises to do at home. I found that helpful. This particular vet also does Chinese medicine and I'm not really sure how I feel about that. Never have tried it but I wanted to keep an open mind so I took home two herbal formulas. One called "hindquarter weakness" and the other "body sore" which she called the "metacam" of Chinese herbal preparations.

Poor dog was exhausted after the treatment and she became a little agitated at the end. Just seemed whiny and restless. The vet said that sometimes this type of treatment can stimulate the bowels and that maybe she needed to go to the bathroom. Before we left I took her for a short walk but nothing happened and it was freezing cold out so in the car we went. Half way home she did go in the car and stepped all over it. Poor dog. We cleaned her up and she is now fast asleep.

I hope I am doing the right thing for her. Only time will tell and then I can decide if this is a benefit to her or not.

hazelrunpack January 20th, 2014 03:31 PM

:fingerscr that this works for her!

SuperWanda January 21st, 2014 09:14 AM

Thanks hazel, her mobility seems good after the treatment but the other senior problem I am having is night time restlessness. Hardly got any sleep last night because she continues to wake up, pace around and needs to go outside only to repeat the process in another hour or two. I have watched her and sometimes she just wanders around, other times it looks like she is trying to find a place to pee. She either does pee or nothing happens and she comes back inside only pace around some more, get a drink and finally back to bed. Very frustrating as lack of sleep is making us feel unwell.

Apparently, disturbances in sleep-wake cycles are common in older dogs, as well as in older humans. Perhaps the treatment made her achy, bladder and bowel issues, cognitive issues? Poor old dog. I'm going to get her a more supportive bed to see if that helps and more exercise during the day would be beneficial if it wasn't so darn cold.

hazelrunpack January 21st, 2014 12:16 PM

Aw, poor girl. :( Is she on any pain meds? One of ours gets a baby aspirin right before bed to help her sleep. She has chronic back pain and sometimes she needs a little something to take the edge off. We decided on aspirin as opposed to rimadyl or one of the other NSAIDS because it's available in such a small dose, chewable, and seems to be all she needs so far...

SuperWanda January 21st, 2014 08:42 PM

yes, I have been giving half an aspirin each day with her dinner. I was given a prescription for metacam but felt nervous about using it so went with the aspirin. The holistic vet said it was fine to use the aspirin and the herbal medication she gave me so I hope I see something helping. I might cut down to 1/4 of an aspirin (I think that would be 81mg so that same as a baby aspirin that you are using).

SuperWanda January 30th, 2014 12:47 PM

Just an update. Poor girl wasn't improving and she also had soft stool and increased urination. I took her off all supplements and put her on a bland diet or chicken, rice and veggies. That seemed to help as she was going out multiple times to pee and poo during the night. Had are regular vet come and check her urine which was perfect so eventually she started feeling better and for the last two nights, has been sleeping the entire night!

The vet also felt her lame leg and thinks it is an injured cruciate ligament in her knee. Usually surgery fixes this but not recommended because of her age. This can apparently take months to get better. It's hard to have a lame leg when your hind end is weak. I'm going back to the holistic vet in a few weeks.

I've also found a Canadian site where I can order the Sasha's blend online. They seem to have a number of good looking pet supplements. Not sure what would be best for a ligament but they did have a number of supplements made by Vetri-Science, Pet Alive, one called Carticil so I will have to figure out which one to try.

Winston January 30th, 2014 05:20 PM

I used to order Sasha's Blend from here:


Not sure what the pricing is these days but they do have a price and they tell you whether a prescription is required or not.

Good Luck! sending some more positive vibes your way! :thumbs up

hazelrunpack January 30th, 2014 07:58 PM

I'm glad she's at least sleeping through the night again--that's hard on both canine and human!

MaxaLisa February 3rd, 2014 01:06 AM

Any chance that you were giving any supplements like brewers yeast (B vitamins) in the late afternoon or evening? The B's can make it hard for them to sleep, as well maybe as some other supplements that might give them energy.

Some dogs seems to be sensitive to sulphur products - msm, garlic, eggs, etc., and it makes it seem like they are incontinent. My boy Max would leak urine on MSM or eggs, and I know another dog that would do it on garlic. Might be different supplements that are the culprit, but good to know that things are better off the supplements, so you can test each one one by one.

SuperWanda February 5th, 2014 01:08 PM

Thanks everyone!

I think we are doing pretty good. I ordered the sasha's blend to try. Thanks for your link Winston. I ended up ordering from It cost a little more but I did get free shipping and points for discounts on future purchases.

It is crazy cold here still so a great time to rest her and let it heal.

Good thought on the B vitamins MaxaLisa. I know from my own experience that it may increase your thirst and urination. I will try to give those kind in the morning. I do think that the MSM upsets her stomach so am careful with that one.

I have introduce the chinese herbs again with no issues and have an apt. With the holistic vet again on the 18th.

I also got her a more supportive bed which is also helping so things are looking up right now and I'm excited to see if the sasha's blend helps.

MaxaLisa February 8th, 2014 08:38 PM

Just popping in to say that I hope that things are going well!

SuperWanda February 14th, 2014 01:49 PM

Thanks MaxaLisa,

I think things are okay??? I say that because I took her to a vet the other day, regular vet was out of town. She seemed to be very uncomfortable and was holder her tail between her legs. My regular vet performed a urine test which was clean but she seemed to be having a problem with vaginitis so it was recommended to cleanse the area and apply hibitane ointment. Timber had that same issue and I was able to get it under control that way. It just seemed like she was extremely sore so wanted to get it looked at. They did a swab which I thought would be helpful but basically just stained it and told me their was yeast and bacteria. I don't find that very useful (unless they were actually going to do a culture). However, I guess it did show yeast as well as bacteria and they gave me some clavamox.

The other thing he mentioned that I keep thinking about, given her age, that she could have bladder cancer. However, I am trying not to panic about that. I understand they tell you all the reasons for bladder discomfort and hope it is just an infection that needs a little help. Not sure why the urine test didn't detect anything though if it is just an infection???

I'm hoping the antibiotics do not throw us off. She has been pretty good so don't want to trigger any digestive upset.

Still seeing the holistic vet next week and her leg seems to be a little better so that is good. Am one week into the Sashas Blend.

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