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So we recently got a chihuahua from a shelter (they said he's probably 1 1/2-2 years old if it matters) , who is the sweetest thing, but I worry about him. We know from x rays and other test that the shelter and our vet did that he has issues with his back, legs, and genitals. His back is hunched a bit, his front legs bow out, his back legs bow in, and his weiner gets stuck. So we know he has all this, and that there isn't really much we can do besides help him exercise and tuck his weiner back. His legs have gotten a bit better since we got him (he had basically no muscle at all, but he has gained some which has helped him to walk, run, and even stand better). Anyways, he also seems to have some mental challenges, but I'm not certain. For one, he will sometimes try to walk or run, but only his front legs will work for the first few seconds. He also took a couple of months to even really begin to recognize his name, whereas other dogs we've had/known seemed to get their name down in a couple of weeks, maybe taking a couple of months to perfect it. He also sits with both of his frothy paws on the same side, rather than between his feet as most dogs do. Really, I'm just wondetring if there is anything we should do for him.

Thank you
 

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Your vet is the best one to tell you what his condition is. Get a full exam, and get as much details as you can. It should not be very hard for the vet to figure out.
 

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The walking and sitting thing might just be because of his abnormal conformation- that might be more comfortable way to move for him. Or you could be right and there could be a neurological or nerve issue.

The name thing- could be neurological, or he could just be slower to pick up on things than the average dog.


If those are the only signs of a neurological issue, you're lucky! My little terrier is very inbred- we found out her parents were siblings through a DNA test. She has a slightly bent back which caused her hind legs to bow out pretty badly and as a result had grade 3 luxating patellas in both legs. We also suspect she has neurological issues, and a trainer and a couple of vets have mentioned this too.
- She has canine compulsive disorder so she will fixate on lights, dust, reflections, water, especially when she is stressed, overstimulated, or anxious. She'll just stare at these things and scream at them. It's really weird- sometimes she'll try to chase or catch them, but of course these are things that can't be caught.
- When she gets really scared or anxious, she'll start fly snapping. She'll stare at nothing in the air and start leaping into the air and snapping to catch... nothing. She does this at the vet sometimes. For her it's a symptom of her compulsive disorder, but it can also be caused by seizures as well in other dogs.
- She is very anxious in general and fearful and reactive towards strangers- could be affected by neurological issues but could also be a poor temperament from bad breeding or poor socialization.
- She has no long term memory. My boyfriend and I went away for a weekend once and when we came home she was snarling and barking at us like we were strangers, for a good 10-15 minutes before she remembered who we were.
- If we play with her with a sock or a hat and then put it on our feet or head, right in front of her, it blows her mind, she has no idea where the "toy" has gone and will start smelling everywhere and looking around the house for it. Even when she watches us put it on.

Other dogs I know with neurological problems have seizures, do the fly snapping thing, and/or have similar anxiety/fear/memory issues. So those types of things are things you can watch out for with your guy. Definitely look out for anything unusual like that! Your vet or a veterinary behaviorist might be able to give you more insight on your dog's behavior and movement as well.
 

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In November I had to put to sleep my slightly mentally handicapped golden retriever, HaHa. His head was a little too small, and slightly deformed, and his eyes were not lined up evenly and one eye was rounder in shape than the other eye and slightly bigger.

Unlike your guy, he was in good physical shape, except his head looked like that of a deer fawns, due to it's size, shorter pointed muzzle and a nice rounded dome to it.

It sounds like what you are doing for your guy is helping some, the exercise giving your dog a little more muscle tone and strength, and probably it is also helping him with some of his basic motor skills. As other's said, your vet is probably the only one who can say what's going on and what to expect of him at best for physical or even mental improvement.

I just wanted to say that I hope, you, like me, will end up discovering that a mentally handicapped dog can be the best and most unusual thing you've ever done in your life. HaHa ended up being the best dog I ever owned... he was so different in his way of doing things because of his mental issues.

Mostly, his problem was he would forget things pretty fast. I could like teach him to 'sit', but if I didn't tell him every day to 'sit' and I let it go for a day or two, I would have to start back on square one to teach him again, because he would forget.

I'm glad you gave a special needs type dog a chance. HaHa sat in a shelter for over a year because people were leery of adopting a dog they didn't know if they could train or not. He could be trained, he was a tiny bit slower than some dogs I've trained, and there were a few things he never did understand, like releasing the ball or toy once he fetched it...but I sometimes wondered if that was not his disability as so much his willfulness and not wanting to share his toys....lol.

I hope your special one shows a little more improvement in the near future and that the attention he's getting will spark something in his mind, awaken something he hasn't been able to access because no one ever took the time to play with him, or take him for walks to just see and take in more than the walls of a cage or inside of a house. He might, if given such stimuli, start showing a bit more of himself that what you see now. I know HaHa became a bit more out going once he had things to do, and see, other than the kennel area and office area of the shelter. He wasn't allowed to be with the other dogs, because the staff feared he might be attacked if the other dogs sensed his differences.

Stormy
 

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sounds like vet #1 isn't very interested?

if Ur usual GP-vet has no idea what's going on with the Chi's legs, maybe-neuro, maybe-skeletal issues, i'd find another vet - ask around, see if anyone local recommends a particular vet for her / his diagnostic skill, or orthopedic knowledge.

a 2nd opinion never hurts, & in this case, it might mean all the difference between going on as-is or even worse, with increasing age & joint damage, vs possibly finding ways to improve the dog's mobility, balance, & quality of life.

a custom rear-wheelchair that lets the dog TOUCH feet down, but supports the weight of their rear, can provide support, stability, & exercise for those wobbly legs, too.
Muscles cannot take the place of a skeleton, but muscular development can compensate somewhat for joint or bone issues. :thumbsup:

the bowed forelegs might be a separate issue - perhaps rickets in puphood, or a developmental effect of bad genes as the bones grew. It's possible that surgery could help - changing the angle of the bones, or praps one outgrew the other instead of staying parallel, & the longer bone arced-away from the shorter, it's impossible to say without X-rays.
But it may well be fixable, or at least improve-able. :) Never know till U ask - & ask the right person.

let us know any new Dx or suggested treatment, please? - I wouldn't give up yet.

- terry


 
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