How many potential causes of hind end weakness and stiffness in a dog can you name?
Could you tell the difference between weakness and pain? Would they look the same? Could you tell the difference between weakness in the back end and weakness in general? Does the dog’s age matter when trying to figure it out?
Are you thinking conditions such as some of the following?
- hip dysplasia
- intervertebral disc disease
- degenerative myelopathy
- Cushing’s disease
Clara had a rough start to life but found a wonderful family to adopt her. Literally—she picked a home and waltzed in. She grew up in a smart dog full of joy and zest for life.
When Clara’s symptoms started, she was only 3 years old. From the first signs, it took over six weeks before she had her diagnosis.
The first symptoms Clara’s mom noticed were progressive stiffness and weakness in Clara’s hind end. She had a hard time lifting her bum when getting up. Her front end had to do most of the work. Yet, she didn’t feel poorly all the time at first. On good days, she could run and play as if there was nothing wrong with her.
Yet, to careful observation, Clara would run and jump just a little less and would exhaust easier when playing fetch. Were those the real early signs?
At the veterinarian
The first suspect for Clara’s problems was hip dysplasia. But when Clara’s veterinarian x-rayed her hips, the imaging didn’t show a problem.
Clara’s blood work looked normal as well, with the exception of lower than normal platelet count. On the day of the veterinary visit, Clara was also running a fever so they sent her blood to a lab to look for tick-borne diseases.
Clara also had a rash on her chest, belly, and legs but i is not clear whether there was a connection between that and her mobility issue.
Clara keeps getting worse
While Clara’s veterinarian kept looking for a diagnosis, she kept getting worse. She grew weaker and more lethargic, Then her hind legs started twitching which eventually progressed into twitching and trembling all over.
The eventual diagnosis came as an unexpected surprise. Fortunately, Clara started improving quickly with treatment.
What do you think was wrong with Clara? Can you make sense of her symptoms? What would you do if it was your dog?
Read Clara’s story here.
Hind Leg Weakness: When Your Dog’s Back Legs Give Out