Avatar universal

5yr Old Dog suddenly can't walk on her own


I have a 5yr old Doberman/Shepherd mix and she weighs about 80lbs.  This past Friday night, she came over to me while watching a movie and it appeared as she may have dragged her butt on the carpet (which I had never seen her do), but I wasn't sure if she was doing that or if she was just scooting closer to me.  Then she laid down and while she did she may have made some awkward movements that may have been a few seconds long.  I thought she was just scratching herself with her legs, but it is possible it was her twitching, or maybe trying to get up but couldn't, it seemed weird.  About 10 minutes later I found while laying on her side she had a single solid bowel movement (seemed like it was likely involuntary), but she definately did not stand up like normal while doing it.  When I disposed of the bowel movement, I came back to her and found her drooling heavily at the mouth and her eyes had become very blood shot (not sure if was her eyes, or just eyelids, but it was very red and abnormal).  When I called her she could respond to me, and some of her legs would move, but she could not get up on her own, nor could she walk.

What could this possibly be?  We took her to the ER Vet but they are perplexed and have not given a defintive diagnosis.  It is now monday, about 64hrs after the episode that started it all, and my pup looks better, but she still cannot walk and is still in the ER.  Her eyes look better although her inner eyelid in one eye is still reddish and visible.  She is not slobbering at all and continues to eat and drink normally, and is not have involuntary bowel movements.  Also, the legs/paws on one side of her body are colder than the other side.  They are treating her as if it is a blood clot and have given Heprin (spelling) shots and Aspirin for blood thinner.  They started treating her for this mid day Saturday, yet she has still not seen improvement in terms of being able to stand or walk on her own.  Also she is not in pain and is mentally fine it seems in terms of recognizing her owners and surroundings.  She does seem sad, and at times she will shake a bit in her upper torso, almost as if she is scared.

I understand the reasoning behind thinking it is a blood clot, but I don't really get why she wouldn't be able to walk already, or at least try to stand on her own.  Any thoughts on this?  If you need more info, please ask.  I'm deathly afraid that she will not be able to walk again, and will have to put her down, even though it is possible she could improve.  The vet said she thinks that if our pup doesn't start showing signs of improvement in the next several days, she is much less likely to ever recover.
10 Responses
1639915 tn?1378929213
have they checked her hips i have heard that bigger dogs like her have high chances of hip problems and sometime it can cause other things to go wrong where she might need surgery i would take her to another vet er and get a second opion because they should have let you know what was wrong with her  the same night you took her
1832268 tn?1326816010
I sure hope your dog gets better soon. Hopefully she will make a full recovery.
I don't know if you have tried to google for information yet, but....if you do, be sure to use medical terms, to get the best results on the google search.
I just did a quick search...for...
Acute Canine Paralysis
There are many things that could possibly cause the sudden paralysis that your dog is experiencing.  Please take the time to "Google" using the same terminology that I did. You will be amazed at all the possibilities, if you read some of the information you find, it may help you to pinpoint the cause of your dogs paralysis.
For Example...has she been in contact with any Raccoons...? If so, it is possible she has what is known as Coonhound Paralysis. Has she been vaccinated in the past couple of weeks...? Again, if so....it may be the cause of her paralysis. Ticks can also cause paralysis...Bacterial or viral infections...Menengitis....Spinal injuries...Hypothyroidism...Ischemic Myelopathy (blockage of an artery) , Degenerative Disk Disease and the list goes on.
Do a quick search, and see if anything rings a bell with you, it may help, and if not...then at least you will be well informed, and be able to ask your vet a load of questions.
I hope all goes well, and she shows signs of improvement soon.
Please let us know how she is doing.
Best Wishes,
462827 tn?1333168952
Did your Vet do a complete blood panel to look for clues? What did her blood work look like?

Your first description is clearly seizure symptoms.......Then stroke systems.....
Sounds like she's being poisoned......Has anyone thought of that?

Next: I would definitely do bloodwork to check for ALL TICK Diseases....At least, rule them out.......I'm sorry that I cannot be of more help....I hope your Vet is able to figure this out......I'll be thinking about you both....Karla
974371 tn?1424653129
Sounds like a possible seizure to me also and there are different types of seizures and causes.  Possibly a mild stroke? I would think complete blood work and possibly X-rays should be done.  TBD would not be out of the rhelm of possibilities.
Avatar universal
Well, we spoke to the ER Criticalist yesterday, and it is apparent she suffered from a blood clot/stroke which to me makes more sense for symptoms she had.  I was under the impression that it was a blood clot in the legs area, which would explain her leg issues, but wouldn't explain the excessive drooling, bloodshot eyes, or the bowel issue, which is why I was confused.  But if she had a stroke/blood clot (she said basically its the same thing), I understand the symptoms then.  She is getting better and no longer critical.  They took her off the IV and is fully on Aspirin for blood thinning.  She is only at the hospital at this point to be taken care of for nursing, going to bathroom and some physical therapy.  The problem now is that she just cannot stand or support herself in any way with her legs.  She can move her legs, but cannot stand at all.  It has now been about 3.5 days since the event.  Last night she wagged her tail some, which is a first since the event, and 3 of her 4 legs are decently responsive, with the 4th leg not being so great.  At this point the doctor says we can take her home if we want but will need to provide all the nursing care ourselves...either that or we can leave her there and pay about $200/day.

I know dog strokes are rare, and even rarer in dogs who are only 5yrs old, and usually dogs can still walk after a stroke, but ours is in this state.  The vet seems to think if she doesn't start showing improvement in the next few days, she will likely never walk again.  Yet, I read a lot of stories online about how sometimes dogs take several weeks and even a month to recover walking.  We plan to not give up on her at all for awhile if she doesn't improve in next few days...just wondering what your thoughts might be on her recovery chances in the long term if she doesn't improve in the next few days.
974371 tn?1424653129
Sorry to read about the diagnosis but was very suspect of a stroke.  And in such a young dog. :-(.  I don't suppose they suggested an MRI (few places have the equipment) to try and see how extensive the damage might be?  At least she is young and would have a better chance if recovery.  I think I've read if they can last a week, chances of recovery improve.  Depending on the extent if the damage, it could take days or weeks to recover.  I would imagine her care could be done at home, you just have the large dog size to contend with.  Slings can be bought or improvised to help the dog to get around if she needs assistance and her legs are somewhat functional.  If you have a pool, aquatic therapy is good exercise.  I take it her swallowing us okay and can she control her bladder and bowels?  Don't need to know your financial situation but this could definitely take a toll.  Unfortunately, no definitive answers and you really need to go on the recommendations of your Vet.  Are there any Universities near you that have Vet schools?  If so, you may want to consider getting a neurological consult.
Then, there are the quality of life issues to consider.
Such difficult decisions and each person's situation is different.  Most of us don't have unlimited funds.
Just from what I am reading, I "think" I would opt to leave her there for a couple more days fir observation.  What are they going to do there that would cost $200 a day yet they say you can take her home?  Is someone home 24/7 that can monitor her?  If you take her home, you need to have a game plan and be set up beforehand.  
As for never walking again, who knows.  Been proven wrong many times and I think each case is different.
Maybe others have better feedback but I just don't see any black or white answers, at this point.
Good luck and will keep fingers crossed,
Please keep us updated
Avatar universal
The critcialist said we can do an MRI but she doesn't feel that it will yield any result that would change our course of action.  She said even if we did it, it may confirm what we know already about the stroke/clot, but would not change treatment.  The way she put it, sounds like we could do it but it would be more for us just to know more exactly what happened, rather than doing it to help our pup.  Basically not worth the money.  She can eat and drink just fine and has bladder control.  Literally the only thing she cannot do is stand/walk.  As stated before, during physical therapy sessions (just rotating legs in a walking/running type motion), she does give some resistance every now and then.  Our vet says when they put her in a sling outside, she tries to take a few steps with at least her 2 front legs, but she cannot really stand and she seems to get tired easily.

As for care for $200/day at the hospital, it is pretty much feeding her, taking her to the bathroom, taking her outside, physical therapy, and occasionally trying to get her to walk.  Also being monitored throughout the day.  The vet said we could take her home and do everything they do there, but it will be a lot of work.  She said our pup would need to be flipped from side to side to prevent bed sores every so often, but she wouldn't require constant supervision...thus we should still be able to go to work and not have someone stay with her.

It looks like we are taking her home tomorrow at this point and will be doing therapy and taking care of her...all of her mental function is there, the only problem is she cannot stand!  I just hope our efforts work out for her and she can regain her walking ability.  I was just curious how long is typical for recovery (if she recovers) to get her up and walking.
974371 tn?1424653129
Glad the Vet went over all thus with you Nd seems to be honest.

I would just worry, if you work all day, that she isn't checked on at least once.  Can you run home at lunch?  Could a family member, friend or neighbor check on her?  Just make sure she is in a secure area and has access to water.  You would be amazed what dogs that can't move can possibly do when you aren't there, esp if they aren't well
Good luck and, hopefully, with some time she will have a full recovery!
You're a good Dad.
Avatar universal
Our 3 year old dog had the same problem. It turned out to be a neurological disorder called myasthenia gravis and easily cured by medication. Hope this helps others.
Avatar universal
If others have a similar issue like our 3 year old dog did and are not coming up with any good solutions ask your vet about myasthenia gravis. Our dog ended up having this neurological disorder and it was easily cured with medication. Hope this helps.
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