Is Inability to Stand an Emergency?

There is a difference between acute inability to stand and an ongoing condition where the dog might have already diagnosed issues such as spinal injury or any other problem causing paralysis, extreme weakness or loss of balance.

A chronic, established condition isn’t an emergency unless something abruptly changes.

For example, after her hyperthermia horror, Jasmine was unable to get up without substantial help and had severe difficulties holding herself up. She did spend a week in ICU, but it took another week before she could get up on her own and walk without falling over. At that point, it clearly was no longer an emergency but rather an outcome of one. For those who are wondering, the hyperthermia was drug-induced, and it did happen while she was at a vet hospital for x-rays.

Is Inability to Stand an Emergency? Sudden Inability to Stand

Acute inability to stand

When I’m talking about an emergency situation, I mean a sudden inability to stand or walk or a substantial decline in some existing conditions.

It includes situations when your dog suddenly

  • becomes weak or uncoordinated that they cannot stand
  • loses control of their limbs (paralysis)

The reasons behind a dog’s inability to stand or walk can be rooted in the brain, in the spine/nerves, or in the muscles. In other words, either the instructions to coordinate the body aren’t being sent, they don’t make their way to the destination, or the muscles are unable to respond.

The causes can be anything from

  • an infection or inflammation in the brain or spine
  • trauma or injury to the brain or spine
  • infection or inflammation in the muscles
  • inflammation in the nerves
  • blocked blood flow
  • severe anemia
  • poisoning
  • tick paralysis
  • or cancer

All of these things have an emergency all over it.

Related articles:
Drunken Gait/Ataxia in Dogs: Why Is My Dog Stumbling Around?

Further reading:
Unable to Stand in Dogs

Categories: AtaxiaEmergenciesInability to standMobility issuesSymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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