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Old August 7th, 2008, 10:57 AM
Kathy018 Kathy018 is offline
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13 year old lab with sudden leg weakness

Hi everyone,
My old lab Yukon has had arthritis in her spine for a couple of years. She takes Metacam for the pain although she has been limping steadily on her right front leg for the last 6 months. She still seems happy and usually has a good appetite.

Last night, I noticed she was having difficulty getting up off the floor. I helped her up and then noticed all of her legs were trembling and shaky. She walked like a drunken sailor (no offense to sailors!). This morning she is in the same shape so I'm taking her in to my vet for some acupuncture which has seemed to help her arthritis in the past.

I guess I'm worried that this is the beginning of the end for her. Does anyone have a similar experience? I am in the midst of moving and I know she's very sensitive and may just be reacting to my stress. I also worry that she is resistant to leaving this house where my husband (they were best friends) died a year ago. Am I crazy? Any advice or sharing your experience would be grateful.
Thanks
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Old August 7th, 2008, 01:13 PM
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bendyfoot bendyfoot is offline
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Loss or impairment of hind leg function does not necessarily mean the beginning of the end...or the end...at all. I know many pups who are living quite happily with excellent quality of life, who just happen to be a little wobbly or even totally paralyzed in the back. It can mean a little extra work for the humans involved sometimes, but if the dog is happy otherwise, there's no reason to panic just yet.

And yes, dogs are sensitive creatures and feed off your emotions readily. If you're feeling stressed and out of sorts that could easily affect your pup's feelings too. Try to stay light and happy when with your dog, it might make you BOTH feel better!

ETA: you may want to consider a rear-end sling...kind of a leash for the butt...it might be helpful for you both when she needs to get out and about or needs a little assistance getting up.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 03:39 PM
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badger badger is offline
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You could also ask the vet to boost her Metacam a bit.
I agree that animals are highly sensitive to their environment and especially the people they know best. But as long as she's with you, that's what matters, whereas with a cat it's location, location, location .
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Old August 7th, 2008, 07:55 PM
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Big Dog Mom Big Dog Mom is offline
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Is your dog 'knuckling'? In other words, when s/he walks, do you ever hear scraping sounds on the cement? Are the back feet's toes ever a bit curled under before s/he 'rights' the rear feet? If you examine the rear toenails on your dog, do you see signs of scraping?
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Old August 9th, 2008, 06:13 PM
packrat packrat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bendyfoot View Post
ETA: you may want to consider a rear-end sling...kind of a leash for the butt...it might be helpful for you both when she needs to get out and about or needs a little assistance getting up.
Hi bendyfoot - do you know where in Canada I might be able to get a rear end dog support. I have a 14 year old black Lab who has rear leg weakness due to spinal deterioration. I would prefer something like the walkabout or walkabelly shown at this site:
http://www.seniorpetproducts.com/cat...c267.html?pg=1

I Googled for Canada but didn't find anything.

Thanks...
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Old August 12th, 2008, 07:57 PM
Kathy018 Kathy018 is offline
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Hi Big Dog Mom

Interesting questions. Yes I believe she is "knuckling". What does this mean? Sometimes when I walk her, it seems like her knee or ankle just suddenly gives out and she stumbles. I took her for acupuncture last week and the vet said her trembling legs were "simply as a result of the pain of her arthritis." "Simply"??? I can't stand to see her suffering. :sad: She did respond well to the acupuncture and is back to being her usual old limpy self. She is on the maximum dosage she can receive for Metacam. We tried to switch her to Deramaxx a few months ago but her stomach could not tolerate it and she was sick as a... well, a dog. All I can think of to do for her is to take her in for acupuncture when she has bad days. I do TTouch on her as well. Thanks for any insights.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 08:30 AM
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bendyfoot bendyfoot is offline
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You may want to consider a walking aid such as a Bottoms-up Lift and maybe some good boots to protect against the knuckling. If she's showing signs that she still enjoys getting outside for walks there are two-wheel carts available that could help take some of the strain off her arthritic joints.

Has the vet given you a diagnosis other than arthritis, such as a neuro-disorder (DM or something similar?)

You could also consider water therapy (swimming) to retain muscle tone and to help keep the joints limber.
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Owned by:
Solomon - black DSH - king of kitchen raids (11)
Gracie - Mutterooski X - scary smart (9)
Jaida - GSD - tripod trainwreck and gentle soul (4)
Heidi - mugsly Boston Terrier X - she is in BIG trouble!!! (3)
Audrey - torbie - sweet as pie (11 months)
Patrick - blue - a little turd (but we like him anyways) (6 months)
__________
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Riley and Molly
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Old August 13th, 2008, 05:59 PM
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Big Dog Mom Big Dog Mom is offline
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Kathy, a dog that is knuckling and has rear-end weakness possibly has degenerative myelopathy. My dog, Maggie has it. This is a degenerative condition that is sorta like MS. Try this simple test: Get your dog in a standing position, and pull back one of his/her rear legs. If when s/he brings the foot back down to the ground, s/he "rights" the foot (in other words, plants it firmly on the ground) that is a good sign. If when the foot is released for the dog to return it to the ground the foot does not automatially plant correctly, you have to suspect DM. Try it in both legs. Do you have a sense of what I mean when I say "planting the foot correctly" If the foot is a little lazy and the toes curl under a bit, that's a :-(.

Talk to your vet if the "test" presents the latter result. My Girl gets electro-acupuncture and hydrotherapy twice a week and it has helped her a lot. Not like she was pre-DM, but we've turned back the clock a little on the condition.

Hope this makes sense. And BTW, the sling that I have for Miss Maggie is from Dr. Foster and Smith (online), and I think it's called the Comfort Lift. I like it a lot - it has padding on the inside, and comes in several sizes. Relatively inexpensive, too. I've been told that boots for DM dogs are not a good thing for a variety of reasons. Again, if your dog fails the foot-plant test, you have to start thinking DM, even though your dog may also have arthritis. Maggie had arthritis, and now with the DM, she has no pain because the sensation in her back body is compromised. Blessing in disguise.
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Last edited by Big Dog Mom; August 13th, 2008 at 06:03 PM.
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