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Muscle loss
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Muscle loss

I had to put my best friend to sleep last Thursday. She was only 5 1/2- a German Shephard/Beagle mix, about 32 lbs. A couple of months ago she started having trouble using her back legs. She was dragging herself around with her front legs. My vet said he believed it was a disc problem and I should wait for 6 months to see how she did- in the meantime, he gave me prednisone (20mg/2X/day) for her. The prednisone did not seem to work very well as she continued to get worse. Last Wednesday I noticed that her facial muscles seemed to have disappeared. Her cheek bones stood out and she was VERY lethargic. The vet said that there was nothing else he could do for her and that the kindest thing would be to put her to sleep.

My question is... what do you think happened??? I don't believe that it really was a disc problem. It seems as if she started losing all of her muscle tone and that is why she couln't walk. I would just like to know what it might have been. I miss her greatly and hope that I did the right thing.

Thank you.
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22 Comments Post a Comment
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460185_tn?1326081372
I'm so sorry for your loss.  Dogs are like family members.

It could have been a lot of things.  Did the vet have any suggestion as to what was wrong with her?

Could have been a stroke, some kind of brain damage, canine muscular dystrophy or even the dog equivalent of MS - we had a pit with MS and she moved around the way you describe your dog as moving.

If you felt that having her euthanized was the right thing then it WAS the right thing.  I can imagine that you miss her.  A lot of folks in this Forum have lost their dogs and had to try to get through the grieving process.  No two people grieve in the same way but we all feel the pain and emptiness of our dogs passing on.

There are others here who will also give you ideas on what happened to your "girl" and  who understand what you are going through.


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522359_tn?1213970091
This is what happened to my dog last week. We had been fighting this for 3 months and finally had to let him go.
The prednisone does weaken their muscle mass. Reading your description sounds like my dog. There was no final explanation as to what was ailing him. It was so devestating. He was almost 6 years old. He had gotten lymes disease which we treated. But that could of brought out sterile meningitis or SLE Lupus. In your case it could have been these two, or a stroke like lonewolf said. All are very likely.
I am not sure though why he would have treated w/predisone w/o doing tests to make sure there was no bacterial infection such as lymes or something else.

I am so sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is for you.
My thougths are with you.
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514916_tn?1224521687
I have just started reading symptoms of  "Cushings", they say the back legs go...
I am very sorry for you and the loss of your friend, you've been through a most difficult time, and still left w/questions...things will roll over and over in your mind, its is so challenging when your gut still tells youself, your just not sure of the diagnosis...
Again, very sorry for your loss, and now you have a wonderful angel with you every day, maybe something will click and you will find your answers...
Stay in touch w/the forum, the people here are wonderful and will hold your hand during your most difficult time, what was your little friend's name??
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165308_tn?1323190145
I am very sorry for your loss....I know how hard it is...in time, your tears will be replaced with wonderful memories..Try to focus on her good times, happy times.  Don't focus on the last moments...remember you gave her a full life and she was very lucky to have had you...She will always be with you.
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514916_tn?1224521687
How are you holding up?
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184674_tn?1360864093
I'm so sorry for your loss. I just wanted to tell you that your dog's problem may have been neurological. My little 2 year old border collie has cerebellar atrophy and he has very little control over his back side and is losing conrol of his front side. I would have never known the extent of his neurological problems if it hadn't been for a CT scan, but anything tested in neurology is SO expensive, although very revealing in many cases.

But I truly know what it's like to lose your dear furry friend with no closure. I've gone through it a few times and sometimes thinking about those deceased pets still brings tears to my eyes. We'll always love our little friends and never forget them.

I know your dog knows you loved her very much, and she is at peace now. Again, I am so sorry for your loss.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm sorry for your loss.  I am dealing with the same problem in my Japanese Chin.
Spinal disc problems can lead to muscle weakness by decreasing the blood flow.
It is the blood that breathes life into our muscles.  With a decreased blood flow,
there is a lack of oxygen, causing the muscles to weaken.  This usually causes numbness and or pain.
I think you spared your dog a great deal of pain by letting her go.
Hugs to you, I know it was difficult
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Avatar_n_tn
Spinal disc problems actually produce muscle weakness by cutting off the communication of the nerve with the limb it's trying to control.  If the nerve can't talk to the muscles, the muscles can't move and they atrophy from sudden disuse (as they would if you're arm is in a cast and you can't move it).

The sudden disappearance of facial muscles sounds to be neurological in nature as well.    

So sorry to hear about your loss.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi I have a 6 1/2 yr old male boxer...he has been on  and on for 2yrs he has had terrible problems with his skin for several yrs and that is why the steroids.  I was concerned so my vet called the dermatologist and he suggested melatonin 10 mg x 2 a day...that was great all the hair returned..then tumors came in his mouth and 5 were biopsyed and No cancer...had to leave 1 lg tumor in under his tounge....now he has lost 10 lbs since this past summer ( he loves to eat)  and has lost muscle mass..face spine chest..60 lbs my vet has told me maybe 6 good months left and his hair is coming out now..he is also on thyroid meds along with benadryl...IF anyone can help me PLEASE send me a message...my Moses is my little man...
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1832268_tn?1326819610
Was your boxer checked for Cushings Disease...?
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1868280_tn?1320169073
I look for comfort here from time to time. I guess it is true misery loves company. I know how terrible it is to lose a young dog. Having a dog
can be the greatest experience, because they just love you and care
not who your are, what you look like, if you fat, short, tall or old, they
just think you are great. I have been so down after losing Jack. I have
two other dogs and they are fine dogs, but not Jack. It's hard to explain
other than you find someone special in your life and when they are gone,
you are left a big hole in your heart. I guess that pretty much explains it.
You accept the loss, but never forget, and still feel the pain from time to
time. Such is life.
Mark
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441382_tn?1329196690
Quite a few of the symptoms you list point to Cushing's disease, but the fact that he has lost muscle mass in his face makes me wonder if he has a tumor on a trigeminal nerve root.  Dogs do not tolerate steroids all that well and it is quite common for dogs that are on steroids for any length of time to develop Cushing's disease.  But again, since there are tumors in the mouth already makes me think that there's a possibility that there are more that have just not yet been discovered and maybe it's NOT Cushing's.  Have they done MRI?  

Ghilly
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Avatar_f_tn
i have a 81/2 year old penkingese chuahuaa mix and she is very sick last 3 weeks and could barely walk and not eating at all took her to vet not only one vet. but two just in case one could not find what seems to be her problem.  Both Vet diagnose her with liver enzymes elevated, a little anemic and tooth infection so she was on 3 kinds of antibiotics. But make her sick more but i dont have a choice but to continue the medication.  But  she is not well yet afer all this medication so doctor finally gave her prednisone a liitle dose only i tried to refuse this med. but doctor said she almost cant walk, lethargic, no appetite and anemic so i took it and gave it to her.  Miraculous she able to walk and more perkier the next day but still quite anemic,  I love my dog so much that's why i will do anything for her to live more years.  I even take her for the past 3 weeks at work so i can attend to her more especially her medication and food.  I cried every time i so her not doing so well kisses is my beloved dog and i cant imagine what my life without her.  Im not a rich person but and have finances as well but i prioritize her on top of what i have financially that how i love my dog.  im happy now that at least she able to walk and little happier but still not over yet her ordeal..Kisses is the love of my life and she loves me unconditionally and told her to fight for me and i always told her how much i will miss her if she leave me.

cindi
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Avatar_m_tn
Forums > All "Ask a Doctor" Forums > Animal Health - General > Discussion
Help with Springer, muscle loss ?? Stiff neck, what do I do?

by GeorgeSpringer, 4 hours
I have 9, English Springer Spaniel.
About 5 weeks ago he started limping on his front left leg, had a check of the paw, felt the leg nothing. Took him to the vets, he was then on metacam pain relief for 3 weeks before I took him back.
He seemed to be worse on the leg and had lost all muscle in his shoulder, also losing it in his leg & neck. His neck was tight and he had pain in moving it.

He had an x-ray, which showed nothing, all his joints were fine, in fact very good for a dog of that age.

Since then he has been to the vets a couple of times, he is on metacam & another tablet form pain relief. These may off helped with the pain but I have not seen any improvement in him, he is just getting worse.
Today we put him on steroids, he doesn’t seem to want to eat or drink, wont move or get up, so worse then ever.
The vet isn't sure, could be nerve damage, spinal disc, not too sure. Options next CT Scant or MRi scan.

I have spoken to the vet, who is concerned about my dog as he is in pain & discomfort and showing signs of not getting any better.

My insurance says "Excluding cover for lameness of any cause." will this not cover the MRi scan?

If we do get an MRi scan, I guess the next step is an operation, what cost would this be? I do not care about the money side of things, I don't have it but will get it.

I am just concerned i may put him through a lot more pain and hassle (as MRI place is 50 miles away) and cost myself a fortune for them not to be able to do anything, or repair him so he hobbles around and has a poor last year of his life.
The vet did mention putting him to sleep, which is obviously not an option in my head but I just want to do what is best for my boy.
Upset yes, I am not eating, but my feelings don't count on this one!
I just want to know, if you have any idea what could be causing this? What would you do if he was your dog?  
Thank you in advance
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675347_tn?1365464245
I am so sorry this is happening. I know I would feel upset myself if this was my dog. It's worse when we don't know what is the matter, and we do our best but they don't seem to be getting any better.
What would I do?
If I were in your place, I would have to do the MRI scan. It's difficult, I know, as there is anesthetic involved, apart from the journey. Also I realize that it would be difficult to get pain medication down him if he isn't eating, or has to fast before anesthetic. I wonder if you could ask your vet for pain-relief patches you might be able to apply to his skin (the skin on the belly is best for this) -while he was in transit for the MRI? So that at least you would be pretty sure he isn't suffering any pain, even though he has to travel.

But in my own opinion, I would feel I had to know, and that I had to do everything possible to help him. The MRI just might tell what is the matter, so it can be helped.
Sometimes it can be the case that after a dog has been put to sleep, the owner can torment themselves wondering "what if"....and "did I do everything possible?" ....and "what if I'd done more?"
I know not everyone would agree with my opinion, and also, no-one knows your dog like yourself. You will get the message from him when he has had enough. If, in your own opinion, that time really has come, and you get that feeling from him, then please don't let me influence you, and instead, do what your boy most needs.

You are in my thoughts. It is a very difficult decision for you. God bless.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for your reply.

I have since posting spokmen to the vet. Problem is vet has said his muscle loss was so dramatic he won't get it back and no matter what the results would say he will not be well.

His neck which is stiff he thinks with medication might be treatable. But at 10 years old his standard of life would not be too good.

He is also confident doing the test will just get us an accurate answer to what has caused this. It is most likely nothing can be done.

He is in so much discomfort, I cannot bare to see him like this, not to sure when we could get in for an MRI, maybe within the next 6 days, but that is a long time for him to go in his state.

He is on steroids, started them this morning, vet said call him on Thursday (2 days) if he hasn't improved or showed any signs of improvement then it will be for the best to do the unthinkable!

I am praying it's been a trapped nerve and the steroids can relax him another for it to start a repair. 1 in a thousand chance I suppose but it is all I have got.

Thank you for your comments, some people can handle this sort of things better than others, I am not fairing to well right now, so guess this is going to hit me hard.
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Avatar_m_tn
Chiropractic care for your dog may truly help him be more comfortable.  It may not restore his health to 100% however it may be able to help stimulate enough nerves so that he is more functional without such pain.

Make sure you go to someone who has had proper training and experience.

Other therapies that I have found to be helpful are acupuncture and cold laser therapy.

Good luck
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675347_tn?1365464245
It might be time to consider "hospice care" for him.
That would involve medication and alternative remedies for the relief of pain and discomfort....acupuncture being a really wonderful one. Yes, even a dog in the last weeks of his life can benefit from pain relief and improved mobility which acupuncture an often help with.
Also there are many other things which can help a dog on its end-of-life path. Gentle music, few disturbances, a soft warm bed, hand-fed food, maybe ramps to help go up one or two steps, or if necessary, get in and out of a car, regular potty-breaks....etc
Hospice care (at home of course) may involve one or more members of the family having time off work. It often will involve someone sleeping downstairs on a sofa or made-up bed to be with the dog during the night. It nearly always involves broken sleep sometimes, so it's helpful if more than one person is on duty.

Now the hardest thing of all to do is feel the love, and show the love, and nothing else. Not the grief, not the tears, not the worry. That is hard. But it will help the dog so much to feel secure and loved and safe, and smiled upon as its strength ebbs.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi hi have a 6 year old miniature schnauzer with a very deterated leg I asked the vet today but there not really shaw, what the case is, she can't get up by her self and she can't walk for a long period time I just don't know what's the cause is for a small 6 year old dog is I'm desperate find out I don't want the worst to come.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a 4 year old German shepherd . She is he most beautiful girl you will ever meet. She had erchlicia canis aka tick disease and we treated her and now 3 vets and Iowa state vet school and no one knows what's wrong with her now . She has lumps all over sores all over swollen face and legs also has lost so much hair she looks awfull. And now I know it's time to put her down but how do you pick when  to take her. And I wish I knew what was wrong with her
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a 2 yr old Newfie, he has no muscle mass, also has cow hock back legs.  His his are prominent and he eats well, he lays down , he is all skin, facial bones no muscle,  what can this be. Please
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a 2 yr old Newfie, he has no muscle mass, also has cow hock back legs.  His his are prominent and he eats well, he lays down , he is all skin, facial bones no muscle,  what can this be. Please
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