Sudden onset of collapse can be secondary to a variety of disorders including spinal cord injury, orthopedic disease, or systemic illness. This sudden
If your dog's back legs suddenly collapse, plan on an emergency vet visit at a local pet emergency hospital or your regular veterinarian's office. Sometimes dogs with IVDD can recover without surgery, but other cases require IVDD surgery in dogs.
Sadly, most dogs with degenerative myelopathy eventually lose control of their legs, bladder and bowels completely, and need to be put to sleep. The average life expectancy of a dog with degenerative myelopathy is 1-2 years from diagnosis.
Intervertebral Disc Disease
Sudden paralysis in dogs can often be attributed to IVDD. Most dogs are diagnosed with sudden mobility loss from IVDD following a period of exercise. It's quite common for a dog's hind legs to collapse and even become paralyzed after a disc herniation from IVDD.
If your pet is suddenly unable to walk or get up, this is considered “RED” – a true emergency – on our Fast Track Triage system. We advise you to seek immediate veterinary care. Please call ahead of your arrival so the veterinary team knows to expect you!
Sudden onset of collapse can be secondary to a variety of disorders including spinal cord injury, orthopedic disease, or systemic illness. This sudden hind-leg weakness may be a sign of a disease that requires prompt attention from your regular veterinarian. Or even a trip to the emergency room.
Potential causes include inner/middle ear infections, intoxication, strokes, tumors, infectious or inflammatory diseases (meningitis), idiopathic vestibular disease (also called “old dog” vestibular syndrome), or other less likely causes.
Many mobility issues can cause a dog's hind legs to give out and collapse underneath them suddenly. For example, a dog's back legs can collapse due to an injury, leg weakness in an older dog, arthritis, or a more serious health condition such as Degenerative Myelopathy.
How long it takes for a dog to recover from hind leg paralysis will vary. Some paralyzed dogs will recover very quickly and only be hospitalized for a short period. However, a dog that is left paralyzed and has significant nerve damage will be a much slower recovery process.
Vestibular disease is the main reason why an older dog may experience a sudden loss of balance and an inability to stand or walk normally. How can you tell if a dog has a vestibular disease? A few of the signs include dizziness, stumbling or wobbly steps, and falling over.
Some dogs will become restless, wandering the house and seeming unable to settle or get comfortable. Others will be abnormally still and may even be unresponsive. Your dog's sleeping patterns may change. He may become cranky and difficult to handle, either due to pain or disorientation.
Here is some advice for caring for a paralyzed pet. Keep your pet in a clean, well-padded, confined area like a crate, playpen, or laundry room. If he/she is not moving around, rotate body position every 3-4 hours. Your pet will have to rely on you to help them stay clean.
Symptoms of Paralysis Due to Spinal Cord Injury in Dogs
Pain when back is touched. Inability to walk. Not moving hind legs.
Can Your Dog Walk? One of the biggest factors when considering putting a dog down is if they can stand or walk on their own. A dog not having the ability to walk is not a death sentence. There are many dogs with disabilities who do just fine running around in a wheelchair.
He has lost interest in all or most of his favorite activities, such as going for walks, playing with toys or other pets, eating treats or soliciting attention and petting from family members. He cannot stand on his own or falls down when trying to walk. He has chronic labored breathing or coughing.
If he is having a hard time walking, or he is staggering and wobbling on his feet, this back leg weakness may be a result of muscle atrophy, pain, or nerve damage. Other signs that can alert you to this condition are a reluctance or inability to stand, lameness, or paralysis in the legs.
A few reasons your dog may be walking sideways are injury, hip dysplasia, and vestibular disease. If your dog has started to walk sideways, it's best to have him evaluated by a veterinarian for an underlying condition.
Some signs of a stroke in dogs include a head tilt, circling, loss of balance, and unusual eye movements. If you think that your dog is having a stroke, don't delay getting them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. Treatment is mostly supportive, and it's important to treat any underlying causes.
Often, dogs are humanely euthanized within six to twelve months after the onset of clinical signs, due to the debilitating loss of mobility caused by this disease. Without euthanasia, DM can progress for more than three years and lead to an inability to walk or even breathe normally.
Place your dog in an upright posture and rub it behind the back leg. Rub their left side for some time. You will notice the dog showing some encouragement as it might not really shake its tail due to its condition. Rubbing helps to open the vents so that the poop can come out with ease.
Stage 1 produces mild pain and is usually self-correcting in a few days. Stage 2 causes moderate to severe pain in the neck or lumbar (lower back) area. Stage 3 causes partial paralysis (paresis) and results in the dog walking in staggering or uncoordinated movements.
Extreme Fatigue or Loss of Energy
Typically, a dying dog will lie in one place without moving around very much. This place may be a quiet corner of your home or somewhere secluded, and it may not be a spot where they usually lie. Your dog might not even have enough energy to lift their head.
Stiffness and limping are two of the more obvious signs of pain in dogs and are likely a result of injury, sore paws, or even arthritis. Your dog might be reluctant to climb stairs or is noticeably slow when getting up. This can also manifest itself as reduced interest in exercise, or not being as active as usual.