My dog is tripping a lot & walking crooked

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My dog is tripping a lot & walking crooked

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Old 05-26-2013, 01:07 PM
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My dog is tripping a lot & walking crooked

Hi,
My 11 1/2 year old Bichon, Sullivan is tripping a lot and walking crooked at times. Sometimes he will hit an uneven surface and yelp then shake and not want to walk. And often on the vinyl his legs slip out from under him.

This all started about 6 months ago. He started out by occasionally tripping on his front legs. Then they all became an issue. He is fine standing up but then to walk he just seems a little off.

In April he was falling over. He would stand and then just fall over for no reason. And walking down the hall his whole body would slam against the wall as he walked. Took him to the vet and his blood work was all fine. But he had mega esophagus and phenomena. 2 weeks later his xrays were all clear. Both issues were gone. He does have a large bladder stone but nothing else was out of the ordinary on his X-rays.

We have taken him back to the vet to inquire about his continued leg issues and they think its beginning of arthritis on his back and legs. She gave us Tramadol. I would like to add Acti flex but would like input from this forum on what kind and how much.
He has been a very healthy dog all his life so this is just crazy. We feel like he isn't even our same guy. He looks at us with frustration in his eyes and it breaks our hearts.

And do you all have any other suggestions?
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:28 PM
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I'm a little confused.
Megaesophogus does not just go away.
"phenomena" is not a illness or disorder, so not sure what you mean.

He sound "ataxic" from your description, rather than simply arthritic. Ataxia means he is not able to keep his balance and "steer" while walking. If this is what is going on, then it could be neurologic in origin... that means something wrong with his brain or spinal cord.

I'd say you need to see another veterinarian, perhaps even a veterinary neurologist, if this is not just arthritis. For example, if he is losing control of his back legs, that can be caused by things like a bad disc in his back pressing on the nerves. This will make him stumble and be uncoordinated.

If it is simply arthritis, there are simple things you can do to help him, such as fish oil pills, glucosamine supplements and even a special food that has anti-inflammatory effects.
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:33 PM
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By the way, yelping and shaking are signs of a LOT of pain. This could be arthritis, but it sounds more like a bad disc in his back. You'd want to get treatment asap if this is the case as it is extremely painful and if a nerve is being pressed by a bad disc, the nerve can be damaged and not recover.

An orthopedic surgeon or neurologist can help you determine this.
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:47 PM
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Sorry, I meant pneumonia. It autocorrected wrong.
She said his esophagus was large which I saw on the xray but when we took him back w/another xray she said it was back to normal size.

Would a bad disc show up on X-ray?

We have a university vet program near by. I think I will take him over there and see if they can help me.

Thank you!
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:46 PM
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ah! The evils of auto-correct! Well pneumonia makes a lot more sense then!

Bad discs do not necessarily show up on x-ray.

A university vet program could be very helpful.

Good luck, and if you can, let us know what you find out!
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Old 05-26-2013, 04:13 PM
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He needs to have an MRI or catscan at a neurologist's office. I don't want to scare you but this was our exact experience. It started with leaning on walls, walking crocked, falling down, unable to balance when jumping up or down from somewhere, unable to properly climb stairs, etc. PLEASE take him in. We didn't let this go on for 6mths and when we did take him in they found a brain tumor. He had some seizures when it was getting worse and towards the end he was unable to balance himself without leaning on something. He would walk down the hall and essentially seemed like a ping pong going from one side of the wall to the other. In our best case scenerio it was meningitis but we ended up with the worst case- tumor. The tumor in our case was inoperable but it can be many other things that cause this. Just don't wait any longer. Take him in now.

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Old 05-26-2013, 05:52 PM
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I will call the vet program on Tuesday and get him in right away.
This vet thinks its just pain but why would pain make him walk poorly. That part I don't understand. He misses his walks but he is in too poor of shape to take him far.
Any idea how much an MRI would cost? Are we talking over $500? I don't really care but just nice to have a reference so I don't have heart failure when they tell me
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnysnowflake View Post
I will call the vet program on Tuesday and get him in right away.
This vet thinks its just pain but why would pain make him walk poorly. That part I don't understand. He misses his walks but he is in too poor of shape to take him far.
Any idea how much an MRI would cost? Are we talking over $500? I don't really care but just nice to have a reference so I don't have heart failure when they tell me
We thought it was "old age" and possible hip issues- he had some ear problems before so we thought maybe an infection (some can cause balance problems). We ended up taking him to his normal vet and she had him walk to the scale as usual and didn't really need to look further based on his walk. She did check his hips and ears and all were clear. This was a Saturday. We were scheduled to go to the neurologist based on her refferal on Monday and that same Saturday he had his first seizure. We rushed him to the neurologist as an emergency intake. That's basically how we found out what had been wrong with him. Like I said it can be many other things that can cause dogs to be ataxis (uneven gait) so try not to freak out. That emergency visit cost us $3600. That included the MRI and staying overnight for observation. Not cheap but I don't regret knowing even though we basically gave them 3600 for them to tell us our dog has less than a month to live. The tumor was in a spot they could not operate on and chemo was also strongly not recommended because of how fast it was growing. Like i said, I don't regret knowing or paying. We were able to spend a couple of more weeks with him and spoiled him rotten. He had medication to keep him somewhat comfortable and we had time to come to terms with what was happening. After the third week after being diagnosed he got so bad we made a decision not to let him suffer. He got bad really fast. It was insane when I think about it now and it was absolutely heartbreaking.

Sorry I totally went into my life story there. Again, don't freak out but I'd rather tell our story and what we experienced so they are aware. It could be a lot of things. The main ones that come to mind besides a tumor would be deep canal ear infection or menengitis. It just doesn't sound like bad hips though.

Weird question but have you noticed he drinks more water than normal?
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:27 PM
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Nylanta, thank you for your story. I am so sorry to read about the hurting animals out there. It is so sad.

He has always been a good water drinker. We switched to ALL filtered water instead of an occasional filtered water for him and our cat. So not any more than usual.

The vet who saw him last wondered about Myasthenia Gravis. She wanted to test him before treating him but since he seemed better with the pneumonia and ME gone we didn't go that route. And it seemed like $300 for a test was overkill since he seemed to improve on the other fronts.

We have raised his food bowl incase there was a neck/back arthritic issue. Just easier for him.

Thanks again for all of your input, everyone! I will keep you updated and any more info in the mean time is appreciated!
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:30 PM
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Oh no, poor guy

I agree with Nyla and Holly. It sounds like he needs an MRI or CT scan. There are some things that just don't show up on X-rays or don't show up well. It's clear that he's in a lot of pain, so something is wrong, despite the X-rays showing nothing.

It sounds like you're prepared to pay whatever necessary, but here's a link to care credit just in case: Pet Credit Card - Veterinary Payment Options | CareCredit™ It's a credit card plan just for dealing with the cost of medical care. It is available for yourself and your pets. The plans are pretty flexible and you can get one with no interest for 6 months if you want to/can pay it off fairly quick, and low interest after that.
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