If your dog's hind legs seem weak, they could be experiencing weakness in their hind legs. In this article, our veterinarians in Meadow Vista can guide in improving or maintaining their leg strength.
What Causes Sudden Hind Leg Weakness in Dogs?
There are several reasons why your pet's hind legs might weaken. Let's look at some of those causes.
Dogs, like humans, can get Osteoarthritis, which is a type that affects their hind legs and occurs when their joints are lubricated enough, causing pain during movement. If your furry friend shows any of these symptoms, it's a good idea to visit the vet:
- Difficulty climbing stairs or walking
- Bunny hopping while moving
- Development of large front-leg muscles and weakening of rear-leg muscles
If you observe that your pet's hip joints are looser than usual, this could be a sign of hip dysplasia. This condition can cause problems with balance and, in more serious cases, Osteoarthritis. It is more common in larger dog breeds, including:
- German Shepherd
- Labrador Retriever
- Saint Bernard
- Great Dane
Hip dysplasia is primarily caused by genetics, but other factors such as size, weight, and overuse may also play a role in developing this condition.
Canine Degenerative Myelopathy
Your pet may be experiencing degenerative myelopathy, a condition in which the protective covering of their nerves deteriorates, resulting in improper nerve function. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Quivering hind legs
- Hind legs coming together while standing
- Feet positioned at unusual angles
- German Shepherd
- Cardigan Welsh Corgi
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Did you know that diabetes can make your pet's back legs weak? When their body doesn't produce enough insulin, their blood sugar levels go haywire, causing this issue. Watch out for signs like excessive thirst, content hunger, accidents indoors, and weight loss. If your dog shows there are signs, consult a vet and get a blood test for confirmation.
Fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE) is a condition that can affect dogs, where a small piece of cartilage blocks their bloodstream, leading to spinal swelling. The result is temporary hind leg movement restriction and pain, which is especially common in larger dog breeds. Breeds such as German Shepherds and Irish Wolfhounds often receive a diagnosis of FCE.
Sometimes, surgery like TPLO can help restore your pet's leg movement, but they may need to take it easy afterward. Your vet will guide you on this. While it might temporarily limit their activity, it's essential for a successful recovery.
What are the main signs and symptoms of a dog's back legs not working?
Identifying the underlying problem without medical assistance can be challenging due to the similarity of symptoms among the conditions listed below. Therefore, it is crucial to seek advice from a veterinarian as soon as possible. If you notice any of the following behaviors in your dog, taking action promptly is important:
- Hind leg tremors
- Swaying of the hind end
- Trouble transitioning from lying or sitting to a standing position
- Difficulty walking or complete inability to walk
- Inability to climb stairs
- Sudden reluctance to go for walks or play
- Stumbling and lack of coordination
- Muscle mass loss
- Decreased walking speed in general
Tips on How to Strengthen old dog's hind legs
Once you have pinpointed the reason for your pet's distress and have received treatment suggestions, there are non-medical actions you can take to assist in their recovery and assist them in regaining their vitality.
- It is recommended to take your furry companion for brief yet consistent walks on a daily basis. This will aid in gradually restoring their hind-leg muscles.
- Let your dog swim in a safe place. Swimming provides a low-friction way to work their muscles and benefits their overall strength.
- As dogs age, their metabolism slows down, and excess weight can strain, weakening legs. To prevent this, ensure your pet enjoys a healthy diet with lean, protein-rich foods.
- One way to support your pet's joint health and mobility is by giving them supplements that contain Omega-3 fatty acids. These supplements can help reduce inflammation and provide extra nutritional support for aging joints.
- Inflammation-reducing treatments such as acupuncture and cold laser therapy can greatly address limited mobility and reduce pain.
Alternative ways to alleviate discomfort
If your dog can no longer benefit from strengthening exercises, it might be time to explore other options that can improve their comfort and overall well-being.
You can consider using mobility aids like a wheelchair, rear lifting harness, or hip brace. These aids will give your dog a certain level of freedom, enabling them to enjoy an active lifestyle during the longer, warmer summer months.
As pets get older, they need regular preventive veterinary care and early detection of any health issues to ensure a good quality of life.
Our veterinarians in Meadow Vista specialize in helping older pets maintain optimal health. They identify and treat emerging health problems at an early stage and provide proactive treatment while it's still manageable and convenient.