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SOMEONE PLEASE HELP MY DOG.

Last summer my very active 2 year old Cocker Spaniel started showing muscle weakness in her hind legs, and was hesitate to walk on them.

I laid off the exercise for a week or so, and when it didn't get better, I took her to the vet.

Long story short, one year later, and after about 5 vet visits, a set of x-rays, a visit to a bone specialist and neurologist, and several trips to a canine chiropractor, no one can figure out what is wrong with her.

Thus far they have ruled out; cruciate ligaments and knee problems, hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, lime disease, heart worms, or any type of spinal or vertabrial disfunction.

What we do know if that she is loosing muscle in her hind legs, has clear weakness (especially after exercise), and has problems getting up from the sitting or laying down position. When she lays down, she tends to cross her front paws over her rear paws. She has never had any illnesses or injuries.
 

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Welcome to the forum..
Sorry your baby is not feeling well.
So the blood work came back all normal?
Do you use any flea treatment?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
All her bloodwork was normal. The neurologist was also confused by her symptoms, as they seemed inconsistent. She would sort of favour one leg, than the other, and she would walk on one then start toe-touching.
 

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It sounds like nerve damage or pinched nerve. The sitting you described I have seen. It was a Shih who started with weakness then got worse. Have you though of checking into Acupuncture? It is hard since they do not do MRI or CAT scans on dogs. If you find a place it is probably very expensive.
 

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Is there any pain involved? Does she have proprioception deficits or ataxia? It is when she walks like she does not know where her hind feet are. The neurologist will take her hind foot and flip it so the dog is standing on the top of her paw and looks for a response. The normal response is to either not let the vet flip the foot or to flip the foot back to normal position standing on the pad right away. A delay in flipping the foot back is an abnormal response and points towards a neurologic condition.

Obviously it is impossible to give correct treatment information without a diagnosis. Without a diagnosis we are shooting into the dark with how to exactly help your poor pup. I agree with the neurologist that it is confusing, because neurologic symptoms do not come and go quickly - however musculoskeletal problems can and do. Another suggestion is to find a veterinarian that is certified in canine rehabilitation so that they can do an examine and look for soft tissue injury such as a strain or tear in the iliopsoas muscles or fibrotic muscle disease.

One other suggestion is to find a veterinarian certified in acupuncture and TCVM. Diagnose and treat the dog from a different perspective.
 

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The neurologist said that he could do an MRI, but it is $2000.00, plus the cost of travelling the 4 hours to Toronto to have it done, and if it did show anything it would be at most a pinched nerve. I do not have many options as I live in Northern Ontario, and it was a miracle that I found canine chiropractor. As far as acupuncture, I think it might help, but again I would have to travel 4 hours to Toronto to have it done, which plus the cost of the treatment, is quite expensive.

The neurologist did do the exam where he flips the foot down so that she is standing on the front of her paw, but he said her reflexes were normal. The bone specialist, as well as the chiropractor, looked at x-rays of her spine and legs and found nothing abnormal.

I can ask to be refered to a muscle specialist (again, in Toronto). What type of muscular problems are possible, if you know of any? I'm hesitant to start asking for treatments without a diagnosis, because as you said, they are a shot in the dark.
 

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Did they discuss Myasthenia Gravis with you? She's suspicious for it in my book. Not very common. Did you have the other tick borne diseases tested for (Ehrlichia, anaplasma?)
 

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As far as I know the vet only tested for lime disease, but the symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis do sound similar to hers. If its just a simple blood test to check for those perhaps Ill ask him.
 

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The muscle problems that a Certified Canine Rehab vet would be looking for are chronic strains, tears or fibrosis of specific muscles. Other diseases such as fibromyalgia, other tick borne diseases, and myasthenia gravis (as Holly said) would be on the differential list as well.

Myasthenia gravis is an interesting disease - does your dog have any digestive issues such as regurgitation, vomiting, or coughing after drinking? When we see weakness in dogs with this disease it usually is the entire body not just the rear end, but it certainly can affect only specific muscles.
 

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A lot of times it starts in the rear end though and can work it's way forward. As mentioned a lot of time there are regurgitation issues with it but not always. You should contact the neurologist to test for it.
 
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