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Devastated - 11 YO w/ failing back legs - any other option??(36 Posts)
My beautiful girl has had slightly iffy back legs for a long while (after jumping from a height and dislocating her knee 7ish years ago).
After trying to jump onto the sofa 2 weeks ago and falling funny, she began walking on three legs. The vet gave anti-inflammatories but was a bit 'she's old, what can I do?!'. She turned 11 in March.
She made a lot of improvement and started walking on it again, although occasionally she'd revert back to keeping it off the ground.
On Friday she kept collapsing - both back legs were giving way. She began dragging them both behind her.
The vet gave stronger painkillers (which she won't take) and she's essentially just laying down all day and not really eating.
The vet has suggested we go back Friday to assess, and although he's not said in so many words, he's implied that this is the beginning of the end and if no improvement is made then we really only have one option.
I'm in pieces, and cannot believe that a dog who had no health issues just before this could be put down within a matter of weeks because of some joint issues.
I really don't want her to suffer, but can't imagine giving a human a few weeks to try and recover and then giving up.
I'd like to at least look into options like wheelchair/physio...or am I in complete denial?
I'm sorry for rambling. Currently 37 weeks pregnant and struggling to cope with this.
No idea but for you. Poor pup. They the dog will let you know don't they. Worth a second opinion I'd say. X
You could get a referral to a orthopedic vet for second opinion. It sounds like falling over could've caused some damage if they weren't showing any signs of deterioration before.
Really you need to have an idea of what cause is to whether physio/hydro could benefit.
So sorry about your poor dog.They have dog wheelchairs now and little cart things so they can still run around,if that's an option for your dog.I do hope they manage to come to a solution for her.Thinking of you.
Is she continent? If there is spinal damage the next stage could be faecal incontinence, you haven’t said what sort of dog she is (thinking about how much poo). I’m not a vet so might be out of order.
With my last dog we had him PTS when he could no longer walk (he fell over on a walk and didn’t try to stand up, he’d been on all sorts of medication and was ‘a good age’), there didn’t seem to be any point in a dog living and not being able to do the things he enjoyed most.
Thinking of you whatever you decide, it’s a horrible stage of ownership.
Do you have insurance? If so, could your vet not refer you to a veterinary hospital?She may have ruptured a cruciate ligament. That's what one of our dogs had done when he started walking on 3 legs.
Another of our dogs lost the use of her back legs recently, but then regained it.
In both cases our vet referred them to a veterinary hospital to see specialists - but of course that's eye-wateringly expensive if you don't have insurance.
Fingers crossed for you
I would want a referral to a specialist Center to understand exactly what's causing it before making any decision.
Do you have insurance? The specialist centres are understandably expensive e.g. it cost £240 for a neuro consulatation and would have been around £2000-2500 for an MRI had we needed it.
I, too, would want a second opinion before taking any irreversible decisions.
If it's possible to identify the cause, then it's possible to identify the likelihood of getting DDog back to a good quality of life.
Hit post too soon...
I don't think I'd accept "just old" in this situation when there's been a clear incident that started it. If this was just about a general slowing down and gradual decline then yes, old age would be an answer I would accept.
How big is she? I only ask because the toy breeds often reach 14-16, whereas for larger breeds 12 is more normal.
I hope you have insurance
See if there is a k9 massage practitioner or dog chiropracter local to you. Our old dog tweaked something in his back and she made a great difference to him. Vets were talking pts and it took him 3 days to get back on his feet after seeing the vets. He was very stiff but something was out of place, k9 lady was great, could tell immediately what the problem is. There are harnesses which can help them get up, even using a towel under the dog. Main thing is not in pain.
There's devices to help weak legs but if they are in pain you need to consider if it's right. A second opinion at a specialist hospital is a good idea but if you don't have insurance and they are in a lot of pain think carefully.
My old girl (12) is having acupuncture alongside her anti flammatories.
It's done her the world of good, I'm lucky that we have a vet that practices it and the vet practice owner likes exploring every option of treatment.
Perhaps you have a vet in your area that practices acupuncture? It's certainly worth a try.
All this talk of carts and prams and such - I'm afraid for the most part I don't agree with them. Unless you're going an avoidably long way, isn't it keeping the dog alive for the humans' sake?
Have you tried 'Umove'? I had similar with my GSD a few months ago and give her a tablet a day, it really has helped . You can get it from the vet, it took about 3 days to improve slightly, always worth a try.
I am certainly not in the camp of treat everything as it has to be weighed up against quality of life. I wouldn't be going down the path of wheelchair because I know my dog and that would be totally against his nature. But equally it could be something that with a short term care treatment package could give him quality of life for a long time.
You can't really decide that unless you know the cause and likely outcomes and trialling anti inflammatory or pain killers wouldn't be enough in my mind to make that decision unless my dog was not only old but had millions of other health conditions so putting him through investigations wouldn't be the correct thing to do.
It was the beginning of the end for our guy (who was the world's greatest dog - if such an accolade required nothing more than being shaggy around the edges, grinning everytime he was with his humans and being the worst squirrel chaser the world had ever see - he took "barking up the wrong tree" as a command to live his life by). Kept him going for a few months with increasing painkillers but the look on his face one day just before Christmas a year and a half ago of "mum, what's happening - I'm scared" when his legs were wobbling all over the place was enough to let us know he'd had enough and we gave him a Christmas where he scoffed half the turkey and more than his body weight in pork stuffing balls and let the old guy go.
I miss the daft bugger every single day - he was my furry little shadow and my best mate.
Just typed out a lengthy reply and hit post only for it to disappear! Gah.
Thanks for your kind words and suggestions, everyone. I woke up early this morning and began crying as soon as I remembered what was happening. Reading through everything here has helped enormously. ❤️
She's a toy breed - German Spitz crossed with pom, and has the most gentle and loving nature.
She keeps rolling onto her back and looking at us for leg rubs, so that must feel particularly nice right now! 😊 She's still going to the bathroom as usual and isn't making any sounds like she's in pain. She definitely didn't like the way the tramadol made her feel, so is highly suspicious of us trying to give her it again (we'd normally sneak it into food).
I completely see your points on the wheelchair - the only reason this feels like a viable option is because Clementine's nature is very much to potter around being inquisitive and picking up scents. It would be a different matter if her favorite thing were chasing a ball and doing laps of the field.
I'll definitely mention/ask for a refferral and look into rehabilitative measures. I like my vet but I'm quite surprised they didn't suggest a scan even.
I've tried to post a pic of her a few times but the Android app really isn't looking the idea!
If by any chance you live any where near op, this is a brilliant place -
Though as I said, not cheap!
So you’re just not giving her the tramadol?...
We are just attempting different ways to give the tramadol now.
The vet suggested being a bit more forceful with it, so I'm giving that a go.
You want to just stick it in the very back of her throat... so she has no choice over taking it.
Tramadol tastes horrendous, so hiding it in food runs the risk of them chewing it and then spitting it out.
The best way we have found to get tablets into our dog is to use three pieces of his favourite food (chicken). In quick succession I feed one bit, then quickly a second bit with the tablet in it, quickly followed by a third bit.
The first sets him up knowing we have treats, he eats the second with the tablet quickly because he can see the third in my hand.
That also worked for tramadol which I agree tastes horrible to dogs as we had to be smarter giving it to ours.