My Dog's Back Legs Aren't Working All Of A Sudden. What's Going On?


16 Answers

Ebony Nash Profile
Ebony Nash answered
It is very important that you get your dog checked out by a vet as soon as possible. It is impossible to determine the exact cause of this problem without being able to look for all the possible symptoms, examine the animal and take a detailed X-ray of the problem areas. There are many factors which could result in a dog losing control of its hind legs; all of which would need to be treated (once determined) by a veterinary professional to ensure fast recovery or adequate treatment to help elevate any pain and discomfort. 

The sudden nature of this problem would suggest that it has been caused by a sudden event, which has resulted in a loss of control of the back legs. One common cause, in this case, could be due to a disc disease of the spine. A slipped disc in a dog could put pressure on the nerves in the spinal cord, leading to an interruption of the messages from the brain to the legs. This would result in the dog being unable to coordinate its legs and can in some cases, if left untreated, result in paralysis.

An X-ray may not show up these slipped discs, and so if this is presumed to be the case, a dye will be injected into the spinal column and this should hopefully show up the problem more clearly.

Also, it is important to consider the breed of dog, as some dogs are prone to certain diseases which could be the cause of this problem. Alsatians are one example of this; this is caused by interbreeding.
James Profile
James answered
Just had the same thing happen to my Shitz Tzu,  Found out that at 8 years old, her spinal disks have become brittle.  She took a two stair tumble chasing our other dog and the next day was walking funny.After a couple of days she could barely walk on her hind legs.  Most likely diagnoses is a pinched nerve in the spine.   My doctor recommended the equivalent of bed rest.  NO Running, No Jumping and lots of rest.  Also he gave a shot of cortizone as an anti-imflammatory to reduce any swelling around the spine.  After one day, she is already able to hold her own wait for more that a few moments. Also if your dog is a water lover, a dip in the pool or tub (for smaller dogs) will relieve some pressure on her spine. Good Luck.
Sarah Loya Profile
Sarah Loya answered
This just happened to my 9 1/2 year old Pit Bull.  Late Saturday night I noticed he was making little whining noises every now & then, but everything else was fine.  By Sunday afternoon my husband noticed that he was having trouble standing.  We called the vet first thing Monday morning & they basically told us they couldn't see us & we should wait for an appointment the next morning.  He still seemed happy, but couldn't move his back legs, was barely eating, & wasn't going to the bathroom; my husband had to carry him inside & out.  Tuesday morning at our appointment we were told his spine had collapsed & he was paralyzed from the waist down & didn't even have the ability to go to the bathroom.  He had to be put down that day.  Very sudden & unexpected; this dog never had any known health issues & he was in great shape.
JESS H Profile
JESS H answered
My dachshunds has the same problem. The Vet diagnosed him with calcium build up between vertebrae and its causing the paralysis.He gave him a cortisone shot ans steroids for 15 days. Its a good sign if he can wag his tail, eats and drinks ok and has control of his bowel movements.  Take him to the vet for your peace of mind and your babies health.Hope it all works out for your baby   
Jessica Smith Profile
Jessica Smith answered
You should contact your vet immediately.  Hind limb paralysis is very serious and the outlook for your dog will be better the sooner he gets attention.  Prognosis (long term outlook) depends on the severity and duration of the paralysis and the underlying cause.  

Hind limb paralysis is generally a result of thoracic and lumbar spinal problems.  This can be caused by trauma (disc herniation, fracture), inflammation, infection, toxins and embolism.

Your vet can give your dog a neurological examination and take xrays of his spine to get a better idea of what's going on.  Depending on the case, it may be necessary to refer to an specialist.
tina whitney Profile
tina whitney answered
I guess it could be a number of things. For example, your dog may have arthitis or your dog may have hurt its back legs. My brother is a veterinary doctor and he says that in older dogs, arthitis is very common but if you are not sure the only way of finding out is taking your dog to the vet.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
If your Vet said she has Arthritis, there are some medications that can be given to your dog.  Ask your Vet.  Arthritis can be very painful - help your dog as much as you can. Try not to let her jump from furniture and help her on steps. If she is a small enough dog - start carrying her a lot.  Good luck !
Emily Hilton Profile
Emily Hilton answered
My little Shitzu, Bo, had this problem when he was only 4. We didn't find out until it was too late that he had a kidney disease and his body was shutting down. PLEASE get your dog to the vet ASAP! Good luck.
John Profile
John answered
Could be arthritis or an actual physical problem with his hip joints..or maybe he banged into something causing a deep bruising... I had a dog that had to have his joints replaced..."goto vet!" hope this helps
caroline Profile
caroline answered
He may have had an injury to his spine, causing some paralysis. Or he could have an infection. There could be a number of causes, so you need to see a vet as many will be treatable.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered

My Chihuahua's back legs stopped, and now she cannot pee. I have to put her down today and it's killing me ;(

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered

Just got back from the 24 hour emergency vet, they have given her a Steroid Injection and some prednisone (i think that's what its called). This vet had a really good look at Sara and took some X-rays, the vet said there is nothing broken but there is signs of swelling just above her hip so they want the Surgeon to have a look. We have an Appointment for 9am tomorrow and Sara is now wrapped up and feeling dopey again (they put her to sleep for the X-ray) . What can i say she is having it rough just at the moment, hopefully they can do some thing for her.

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered

The same thing happened suddenly over the weekend to my pet Pomeranian where he cannot stand or walk on one of his hind legs.  He's not whipering, yelping or anything, but it is very worrisome to see him debilitate like that.  I don't know what caused it, but your answers are helpfu.  I love my dog and have an appointment with the vet tomorrow a.m. To hopefully get him back to normal.

thanked the writer.
Anonymous commented
Hi there,

Were you able to find out what caused that to happen to your pom? I have a 6 year old Pomeranian and the exact same thing has happened to him. We took him to the vet yesterday after observing for 3 hours that he was unable to use his back legs. X-rays were taken and we were told that other than mild arthritis everything looks normal and there is no reason why he isn't able to walk. What was the outcome with your dog? 

I am so desperate to find out what's going on with my little buddy. He's so playful and it's difficult to watch him struggle. Even now he is trying to his best to get up and walk but is unable to. Any advice or anything you know would be helpful. Thank you.
John Profile
John answered
Could be bad hip joints a genetic trait in the litter of pups from which your dog came from...see a vet..
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I'm actually in a very similar situation with my chihuahua right now. I really don't know what it is she hasn't been hit by a car or injured ina way. I think it may be a flaw in the genetics of the breed.
Julia Stacy Profile
Julia Stacy answered
Weak hind legs might suggest a spinal injury, which should cause you to visit a vet quickly. It sounds like a chihuahua move, which can sometimes be just shyness and/or fright. See the vet!

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