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Back leg muscle weakness

544330-r1-13-15_014_thumb By Kathy D. Schnelle | August 14, 2012 | Answers (8)

My Border Collie/Collie is 11 and has Alzheimers, but we are dealing with that.  But starting around April this year he has had episodes of his legs just giving out from under him.  It scares him to death and he doesn't even want to try to get up so we help him of course.  The vet prescribed pain meds for him but this doesn't identify or solve the problem.  He is also on Glucosamine, fish oil, Vitamin E, senior multivitamin and Senilife(for his Alzheimers).

What can I do to help my beloved baby?  I refuse to give up on him but is he in a pain I can't see?  Is there anything that can build up his muscles again?

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Don't agree that it's time to sacrifice your dog just because he's having trouble with the hind legs.. something that can be pretty common among older dogs. There are lots of options to help both you and him with his mobility... ever think about getting a support harness so you can help him support his hind legs? At least when you go for walks you can feel more confident that you're partially supporting his hind legs and if they give out he won't get as scared. I've bought a rear support harness previously from an online store called Ortocanis and was really happy with the quality and customer service. If you're interested this could help both of you: http://www.ortocanis.com/en/technical-helps-for-dogs/23-rear-support-harness.html People are always quick to say that once a dog begins to suffer in any extent it's time to euthanize.. but often they still have years more to live!
Go see a holistic / integrative vet... allopathic vets who only give NSAIDs aren't doing you gog any good. Roger Biduk
My border collie started doing this out of the blue last summer. Every now and then her hind legs would just give out and the incidents seemed to last longer each time. After about two months (only about 3 incidents or so) we took her to a vet and he said that it could have just been "Episodic weakness" and since she was fine all the rest of the time it was anything to be concerned about unless it got worse. However, about a week after that visit she had her first seizure. She's on meds now but still has a seizure about once every 2 months and it ALWAYS starts with that same weakness in the legs. Just monitor your baby keeps detailed notes of the events.
Have his lower spine x-rayed. He may have arthritis or a pinched nerver. I had a Mastiff have the same issue when he was only 1. He's back legs just "gave out" sometimes and it was like he couldn't hold himself up. I thought it was hips or a knee or something. My breeder told me to have his back checked before anything and sure enough...it was his lower spine. BS's can have a lot of joint issues too because of there high activity level. Check his lower spine.
The thread goes on and on with many people whose BCs have had this issue and recovered within 2 weeks to a month. It seems that steroids are a common treatment. I hope this helps, please let us know!
I'm going to copy and paste from a discussion on a border collie fan group. I didn't write it, someone who was alerting others did: "Older Border Collie owners, please read. It isn’t bad news-- read on. Last Wednesday night my sweet Tess who is 14+ started to lose control of her hind legs. Her balance went way off. Then her head started to move oddly, and her eyes started flickering back and forth . I thought she had had a stroke, or gotten t-boned by one of the other BCs when I was out in the yard and had spinal damage. We have no vet emerg, being in the boonies, but I did locate a local vet on call, who told me my vet--who is wonderful-- would be on call an hour later. By then Tess was asleep, so we were brave and waited til morning. By the time we got to the vet the front legs were not great either. I was sure it was the end, and was fighting hard to not go into melt down. Even the vet said “wow’ when she walked in . ( she would not let me carry her,which was strange, but I realize now that when you are that disoriented you really do need feet on the ground for reference.) At first the vet thought maybe inner ear-- but then he noticed her head was tilting, and he looked happy. Tess had “old dog ” Vestibular disease. I should have twigged, a friend-also a vet-had two dogs come down with it a couple of years ago--one being Tess’ mom. It can get quite bad-- convulsions and vomiting-- we were quite lucky. It didn’t get nearly that bad. It goes away as fast as it appears, usually with no trace left. Tess still has a funny little tilt to her head. But that is all. She wouldn’t eat for days - the lack of balance makes them nauseated-- she actually pushed her dish away with her nose when I set it down. She still refuses the odd meal, but is mostly chowing in. I’m posting this for 2 reasons-- number one, if you recognize the symptoms you won’t be as scared as I was. Number two, my vet friend says that sometimes people , even vets, see the leg problems before the telltale signs of eyes and head tilt appear, and euthanize a dog needlessly. Lots of you probably know about this, and I did once too, but had forgotten. So just in case--"
p.s....to ease his pain put him in a pool or a lake and hold him in the water. It might ease his pain some.
I think your dog knows more than you do. Your looking for answers to keep him with you. You can`t think that way.You don`t want him to suffer do you? If he`s had a good life, received lots of love, and has given lots of love, he`s done what he was born to do. You should let him go, because its the right thing to do for him. In his honor, after you`ve recovered from the loss, get a shelter dog that needs you!
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