My Dog Cannot Support its Hind legs. What’s wrong ?
A dog’s inability to stand their rear legs or rear limb lameness (claudication) can have many causes. The weakness is not always a result of old age and in many cases receiving early, adequate treatment can improve the problem .
The symptoms most frequently seen in an animal with problems with their hind legs are: weakness, difficulty getting up and standing, tendency to cross the back legs while walking, running with both legs parallel (like a rabbit), slipping more than often and uncoordinated movements .
Despite how it seems, the causes of limpness are not always muscular or skeletal and as such, it is essential to visit the vet for a diagnosis. In general, the most common causes are :
- Pain, in the affected area or not
- Orthopedic problems
- Neurological problems
- Systemic problems affecting the animal’s entire body, like in the case of some endocrine disorders (hormonal or glandular )
Age is important. With young animals we suspect that there is a malformation or some other congenital illnesses while with older animals we suspect there is a herniated disc o tumor. The genetic tendency of some illnesses is also very important, for example, hip dysplasia in Labrador Retrievers or Degenerative Myelopathy in German Shepards. You can check out the statistics on the prevalence of dysplasia based on breed , for example .
There are also predisposing factors to having problems in the hind legs, such as obesity, diabetes or excessive feeding in puppies .
It’s also important to inform the vet if the problem is an acute alteration (fast and intense onset) or chronic (slow and progressive onset), since this could really help the diagnosis .
Rear limb lameness (claudication) is more common in older, larger-breed animals, usually caused by hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, herniated discs and problems in the lumbosacral area .
Possible causes are: Degenerative Myelopathy, meningomyelitis, diskospondylitis, hemivertebra, neoplasms (tumors), cysts, fibrocartilaginous embolism (secondary to fractures), aortic tromboembolism, hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing Syndrome ,… as you can see the causes are diverse and some of them quite serious, so it’s very important to see your vet if you notice any symptoms .
Treatment obviously will depend largely on the cause of the claudication.
The first thing to try is to address and fix the cause, to the extent possible. For example: if a herniated disc is causing the weakness, first you should try and stabilize the disc, either by surgery or bandaging and rest (depending on the case), because if not, regardless of whether we give the animal an anti-inflammatory and a comfortable bed resulting in the animal feeling better, we won’t have solved the problem (rather just the opposite ).
Once the main cause has been treated, we have a wide range of aids that can improve the animal’s quality of life: the use of orthopedic beds is especially indicated for those cases with a joint condition (hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, hernias…) since it enables the animal to distribute its weight throughout all of its body surface and not only on the joints. The chondroprotectors are also indicated for any joint condition, seeing as they help to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. Anti-inflammatories have a fundamental role in pain management . In very old dogs they can be contraindicated if there are natural anti-inflammatories with fewer side effects .
In the cases where the weakness is caused by a decrease in muscle mass, it’s very important to provide rehabilitation so that gradually the animal can regain its normal rhythm. The use of wheelchairs is interesting from a body and mind point of view, as it enables the animal to walk on its own and be independent .
The use of rear support harnesses also help animals with weakness in the rear limbs. The owner supports some of the animal’s weight so that it’s easier for them to move. The majority of animals also benefit from nonslip boots , which reduce the effort required to stand up and allow for a less demanding support, which helps to stabilize the animal .
As you can see, the causes and possible treatments for dogs with weakness in the hind legs are many. You should always consult with your vet at the onset of the first symptoms. An early diagnosis and thorough knowledge of all therapeutic alternatives can mean a significant improvement for the animal’s prognosis .
My Dog is Losing Muscle…What Now?
As a pet owner, it’s extremely difficult to see your dog suffer. So when your dog’s muscles begin to waste away and simple tasks, like walking up the stairs, become almost impossible, it’s important to quickly get your furry best friend the help he needs.
Muscle atrophy is a type of muscle loss where your muscles start to waste away and, although muscle atrophy is actually quite common in animals and humans, it is still very important that this issue does not go ignored. Read on for signs to help you determine whether or not your dog is suffering, and if so, what to do about it.
Know The Signs
It’s important to know and watch out for the symptoms of muscle atrophy in your dog. Some warning signs to look for include:
· Muscle thinning
When your dog starts to lose muscle, you will see a noticeable difference in their bodies as a result of muscle thinning (like being able to fit your entire hand around your dog’s leg when you have previously not been able to do so).
· Weight loss
If your dog is losing muscle mass it will usually result in weight loss. If your dog is starting to look thinner or feels lighter than normal when you pick him up, it would be a good idea to start weekly weigh-ins. If you notice your dog is continuously losing weight, this is likely a sign of muscle atrophy.
You can tell if your dog is experiencing muscle weakness when its back legs are no longer able to help support its body. If your dog is experiencing muscle weakness, it will usually begin to favor its front legs. Your dog also may begin to have changes in posture and drag its paws or legs. Since muscles work in conjunction with bones to help the body stay upright, muscle loss will make it much more difficult for your dog to hold itself up.
Humans aren’t the only ones that can get flabbier with age. Flabby muscles on dogs are one of the top and most overt signs of muscle loss. Strong muscles should be firm and sturdy, so if your pet’s muscles are becoming soft and weak, this is most likely muscle atrophy.
Although all dogs do tend to become more lethargic with age, muscle loss can visibly heighten this phenomenon. Having less muscle makes it much harder for your dog to move around freely, and can also cause pain in joints and muscles as a result of movement.
Why Does This Happen?
Muscle Atrophy typically affects aging dogs and is actually quite common, especially as dogs become less active. As dogs get older, the types of nutrients they need changes, and they are no longer able to process protein in the same way they used to. Larger breed dogs generally age faster than smaller, which means they are more susceptible to muscle atrophy. Certain illnesses and diseases can also cause atrophy of muscles. A common one is myositis, which is generally caused by an injury, infection or autoimmune disease. Another common cause of muscle atrophy is degenerative myelopathy, which is a disease that will affect your dog’s spinal cord and limbs.
What To Do About It
If you think that your dog is experiencing muscle atrophy, it is important not to panic, especially considering the commonness of this occurrence. In order to help your dog, the first thing you should do is bring it to the vet in order to determine the root cause of the atrophy.
If your dog is not experiencing illness or diseases and the muscle loss is due to aging, then it is important to make sure that, despite some resistance, you implement a routine of exercise and proper nutrition for your dog.
If the vet determines your dog is suffering from illness or disease, it is important to follow the regimen prescribed.
Thankfully, no matter the cause of your dog’s muscle loss, there is a cutting-edge product that can help your dog's muscle health. Veterinarian recommended, Myos Canine Muscle Formula, is made from an all natural ingredient, fertilized hen egg yolks, and has been clinically proven to increase muscle mass and size. Myos Canine Muscle Formula is fueled by Fortetropin®, a revolutionary ingredient made through a patented process that preserves the powerful and vital nutrients present in fertilized egg yolks. Countless positive testimonials as well as scientific research show that Myos Canine Muscle Formula works, especially in minimizing muscle atrophy. If your dog is experiencing muscle loss, Myos Canine Muscle Formula is truly a must-have to keep him youthful and healthy!