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weak hind legs

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weak hind legs
  • The description of your dog's problems sounds more neurological than arthritic.  I have fostered many senior dogs with neurological problems that present themselves this way. 
    Swimming does help, as does acupuncture.  Pain management and patience are critical - there may be times when he no longer has bowel control, especially while he sleeps and you'll find a poop under his hind end.
    Hating to be picked up to be put in the car is also quite common for both neurological and arthritic conditions - kneel beside him, put your arms around all four legs, and move him as quickly as possible.  If he's not too bad, you could also try a rear end leash (there's one called Bottom's Up which is awesome  [linkhttp://www.bottomsupleash.com]www.bottomsupleash.com[/link]) to give him some extra rear end support as well.  
  • Long term use of prednisone screws up the viscocity of the cartilage and breaks it down, so then you get bone rubbing on bone which can trap nerves. 
    Someone asked above where to get Knox NutraJoint -- anyplace that sells Jello usually.  Grocery store, Wal-mart -- etc.  But I"m not talking about the "supplement" NutraJoint pills -- I'm just talking about the cannister of powder -- it's about $8 for a 2 week supply for a human (usually I use half a scoop on a 30 - 50 pound dog)
    Hanham also mentioned how an older dog can sometimes 'poop in their sleep'.  As they age the nerves in the very end of the intestinal tract just don't work as well and literally a bit of poop can slide out and they aren't even aware of it.  It's not really incontinence -- and usually it's a small piece.  I've seen my old guys turn around in the morning and look at me like "WHO left that there!" Dang ... it's mine!"
  • Well, my Vet didn't do any x-rays.  He said it would be pretty useless, as it would only tell us what we already know.  (whatever that is).  Anyway, I did get the "walkabout leash" so that I can take him outside or even to the park for a very short walk.  I hold him up during the day and that gives him enough strength to walk on his own around the house, at night, when I'm sleeping.  He is wobbly then, but can manage to walk. It happened so suddenly that I am thinking it may be an injury and just, maybe, he will improve some.  He wants to do all his normal routine and that is the hard part because I can't get him to rest. So, I stand, much of the time, holding him up.  He can stand or lie down, but sitting is uncomfortable and he topples over.
  • Thanks for the update Loretta, we were all worried about your guy :) Is it still just the back legs? I'm a little suprised he didn't do xrays. I guess he thinks he knows what it is by the exam. I hope all works out well for you both.

    Edit: prednisone actually doesn't seem to effect cartilage, here are some studies looking at cartilage in dogs with steroid treatment:) I still would be worried about spinal compression especially given the incontinence. Long term steroid use causes bone loss and can lead to fractures, when this occurs in the spine you can have nerve root compression, but this isn't what I would guess because it's bilateral, more likely cord compression (nerve root problems are unilateral and it would be exceedingly rare to have bilateral nerve root compression). Of course, we only have half the story, your vet has it all. If you aren't comfortable, I would call and speak to him again.


  • Well, my Vet didn't do any x-rays. He said it would be pretty useless, as it would only tell us what we already know. (whatever that is).

      I'm sorry of you've already explained this but I didn't see it in your posts; Has the vet told you why he's so weak in his back legs?
  • The vet told me it was his spine. He thought it was just due to old age and he was deteriorating.  He said it was just part of "the process".  I had noticed in the past year that he would get weak occasionally in his hind legs.  He has no trouble with incontinence.  You must have me mixed up with someone else on that part.  My hope is that he will regain enough strength to walk alone in the house and I will just need to support him when he is outside.  I don't see him getting any worse right now.  Possibly, he is getting a little better.  I have started the Knox Nutrajoint.  Thanks for everyone's help.
  • I hope I'm not posting this twice. I thought I replied earlier today. Oh well.  My vet just felt that it was the natural state of deterioration.  He thought it was his spine.  I am beginning to think it is one of his legs.  He has been somewhat weak in the past, but I think one of his legs just got significantly weaker.  He is not incontinent.  You must have me mixed up with someone else.  I am giving him Knox Nutra Joint.  He doesn't appear to be getting any worse.  I am hoping that soon he will be able to at least walk inside of the house without any help.  I will always support him outside from now on, so he doesn't fall there.  I have put padding and area rugs all over my tile and laminate floors.  Thanks for everyone's help.
  • He is not incontinent. You must have mixed me up with someone else

      I'm sorry about that, I did confuse your thread with another one.[&:]  I hope your dog is improving; he's lucky to have someone as caring as you to take care of him as he ages.
  • Sorry to hear about your dog.  We have a 17 year Lhasa and he has recently had this problem.  He no longer can stand while he eats...he slowly sinks down to where he has to sit down while he eats.   Also, when he poops, by the time he is finishing, his rear is almost on top of the poop because he can't squat that long (sorry if that was T.M.I.).  Anywho, it's sounds like osteoarthritis in your dog- simply put, the cartilage is wearing thin in between the vertebrae and bone is rubbing bone.  This is easily shown on Xray.  Our dog Napoleon has bad arthritis and we give him Cosequin, which helps some.  However, none of these neutraceuticals that are touted on the forums will "heal" your dog, but rather, a lot of them can improve symptoms.  I can vouch for Cosequin, it has helped Napoleon, but he continues to slowly get progressively worse.  Until they come out with hip replacement surgery for canines, we're left with anti-inflammatories, alternative/homeopathic remedies, and activity modification (i.e., support slings, etc.).  Hope this helps.
  • Until they come out with hip replacement surgery for canines,

    they do hip-replacement surgery quite often in dogs. However, sounds like the OP's dog is having compression of the spine leading to neurological weakness. I would think the only option is some type of surgery? 
  • My 19 yr. old mixed Scottie has weakness in his right rear leg.  The vet thinks he had a stroke a few months ago.  No one really knows what is wrong.  X-rays do not show anything glaring like arthritis or bone compression so the vets think it's neurological.  I've had him seen by 4 different vets.

    Scottie is going for acupuncture once a week and it seems to help some.  He is on Rimadyl 2x a day and has started on Adequin.  The Adequin seemed to really make a difference. Oh, and he's getting a B-12 injection once a day.  Those really help him feel better.  He begins hydrotherapy next Monday and we hope that will help strenthen the muscles in the back leg.  I take him for a walk everyday and go as far as he wants and then we come home.  He usually can make it half way around a city block.  He has a very difficult time getting up and sometimes can't.  He's incontinent and goes where ever he is, standing or lying down.  I don't think he can feel when his bladder is full.  He still has control of his bowels and ask to go outside to take care of that, but doesn't go out to urinate. When I invite him out he urinates, but won't initiate it on his own.  He was housetrained all of his life so I know it's not behavioral.   I have to be diligent, keep him confined, or clean up after him.
    If I had a vet tell me that he wasn't taking x-rays because it would be a waste of time, I would find another vet.  My acupuncturist just told me last week a story about a patient of hers (a Great Dane) who she had been treating for what the referring vet said was arthritis.  That vet had never taken x-rays, but the acupuncturist took his word for it.  The client became increasingly worse so the acup doctor told the dog's owner to insist on an x-ray with her regular vet.  Good thing she did.  They found a huge tumor that had been growing so large that it eventually shattered the bone.
    Last vet I had to tell me "something was a waste of time" didn't get any more of my business!!  They are not God, only vets!!  When I want a second opinioin from a specialist I get a referral whether they like it or not. 
  • Loretta -- I am one of those people adamently opposed to Rimadyl (Do a search on the web) --  there are other meds you can get from your vet. I sound like a paid spokespersom but I'm not! -- Springtime, Inc. ([linkhttp://www.springtimeinc.com]www.springtimeinc.com[/link]) has good stuff. Maybe their Joint Health Capsules, or their GL 900 capsules would help instead.

  • Both of these amino acids are helpful for muscle atrophy problems:



  • Auburn -- If you're talking to me -- I looked up their web address on their catalog -- it's [linkhttp://www.sprintimeinc.com]www.sprintimeinc.com[/link]. But be sure to put the "inc" there because I didn't once and got another site too.
  • Well, my dog seems to be getting a little better.  I will not give him rimadyl, but I have added the nutra joint to his diet.  He is now walking around the house on his own.  As long as he is not on the tile, he does pretty good.  I help him up on the furniture, but he gets down on his own.  When he stands for long I use a towel to help him not fall and when he is outside I always support him.  At least he has improved and I am thrilled.  I know he will never get back to normal, but this is better than it was.  He is on SamE (I think I got that right) for his liver.  I started giving it to him more, because I read on the internet that humans take it for osteoarthritis.  Maybe between that and the nutrajoint, it's helping.  Of course, he has been on glucosomine.