I have a 15 yr old pug (Shiwi) who is rapidly declining with regards to her back legs and bowel movements. In the past 6 months, she has gotten to the point where she can no longer control how/when she has bowel movements. Her back legs have lost so much of their strength so she can no longer squat to pee or poop... literally she drops her stool whenever the feeling occurs which is sometimes in her bed. I can't take her for walks becuz she is now dragging her back legs and her toe nails have begun to bleed. I have tried putting shoes on her but they don't work because her legs are too feeble to keep them on. I have taken her to the vet recently to get her shots and they want me to spend a ton of money on x-rays and bloodwork to determine what is wrong. She is very old and I can't afford all the testing that they are recommending. I have heard that glucosamine could help as well as baby aspirin but just want to make sure it's safe. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
How is her attitude in general? Other than the dragging of the hind legs does she still seem to enjoy life? If so, I would invest in one of those little wheelie carts. It will support her hind end and keep her feet from dragging on the ground and she can pull herself along with her front legs. Lots of dogs use them with great success! As far as her no longer being able to control her bowels, doggie diapers are the answer here. It's good that she's a short-haired dog because that will make cleanup easy. All of this hinges, as I said, on her attitude and general quality of life aside from her disabilities.
As far as spending a lot of money to determine what is wrong, I would be inclined to have the x-rays done. They should tell you if the problem is with her hips or if there is a problem with her spine that is causing her difficulty walking and squatting, At her age, I don't think I would consider surgery even if the problem was surgically correctable, I think the recuperation period would be too hard on her. As long as you are willing to do the nurse work, at the age of 15 I would think that for whatever time she has left of her natural lifespan the wheelie-cart would work nicely and be a lot less expensive and a lot less traumatic than surgery. Just my opinion, of course. Others may feel differently.
I happen to be a great fan of those doggy wheelie-carts. They can give a whole new lease of life to a dog whose mobility is compromised. Not all dogs get on with them, but many do, and it's definitely worth the money I think (they are not prohibitively expensive) It can really perk up a dog to be able to suddenly run around again.
I am thinking maybe she has spinal problems. It could be that. But like Ghilly said, surgery would be a terrible strain on her unless she is generally fighting-fit for her age.I think the Xrays would be good, so you know what you're dealing with. Pain relief too (if she shows any signs of pain) would help her.
I hadn't thought about it being a spinal problem, but it's entirely possible. The reason I immediately leaned toward it being hips is because 35 years ago I had an Australian Shepherd that was displaying the identical symptoms to this pug, and her problem was that her hip sockets had deteriorated to the point where they were no longer even there. She was able to stand and walk, but if she tottered backward even a little bit it was enough to throw her off balance and the hips just wouldn't support her and down she'd go. The saddest part was that aside from her hips, she was perfectly fine and totally her old self attitude-wise even though she was just two months away from her 16th birthday. Unfortunately, 35 years ago, I had not heard of little wheelie carts, so I was forced to make that decision that every pet owner dreads. Had it been today, there would be no question in my mind, my order would already have been placed for a cart and she'd be wheeling around in it. I am totally convinced that had she been able to have assistance in getting around she could easily have lived to 18 or 20, she was that good physically aside from the hips. I am a die-hard when it comes to saying good-bye. If there is any way out AT ALL, as long as it doesn't mean suffering for the dog, that's the way I go.
If you get one for her, consider where she will be going with it. There are different wheels for different terrain. If she's a "loves to run on the beach" dog (or wet fields) she will need wheels to cope with that terrain
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