We recommend reading this article if your pet's back legs seem weak. Our veterinarians in Somerset can guide you in improving or maintaining their leg strength.
What Causes Sudden Hind Leg Weakness in Dogs?
Let's look at some reasons why your pet's back leg might become weaker.
Dogs can get arthritis, especially in their back legs. This occurs when their joints don't have enough grease, causing them pain when they move. If your dog shows these signs, it's a good idea to see the vet:
- Difficulty climbing stairs or walking
- Bunny hopping while moving
- Development of large front-leg muscles and weakening of rear-leg muscles
If you observe that your pet's hip joints are looser than usual, this could be a sign of hip dysplasia. This condition can cause problems with balance and, in more serious cases, osteoarthritis. It is more common in larger dog breeds, including:
- German Shepherd
- Labrador Retriever
- Saint Bernard
- Great Dane
Hip dysplasia is primarily caused by genetics, but other factors such as size, weight, and overuse may also play a role in developing this condition.
Canine Degenerative Myelopathy
Your pet may be experiencing degenerative myelopathy, a condition in which the protective covering of their nerves deteriorates, resulting in improper nerve function. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Quivering hind legs
- Hind legs coming together while standing
- Feet positioned at unusual angles
- German Shepherd
- Cardigan Welsh Corgi
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks
Diabest can make your pet's back leg weak. This happens when their body doesn't make enough insulin, which affects their blood sugar levels. If you see your dog drinking and eating a lot more, having accidents indoors, or losing weight, it's important to talk to a vet and get a blood test to check for diabetes.
Fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE) is a condition that can affect dogs, where a small piece of cartilage blocks their bloodstream, leading to spinal swelling. The result is temporary hind leg movement restriction and pain, which is especially common in larger dog breeds. Breeds such as German Shepherds and Irish Wolfhounds often receive a diagnosis of FCE.
If your pet needs surgical intervention, such as tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO), it can help restore their leg movement. However, as advised by the surgeon, your pet may need to limit their physical activities during post-surgery recovery. While this restriction may cause temporary disability, it is necessary for a full and successful recovery.
What are the main signs and symptoms of a dog's back legs not working?
Spotting the real issue without a vet's help can be tricky because these conditions have similar symptoms. So, it's vital to consult a vet quickly if you see these behaviors in your dog:
- Hind leg tremors
- Swaying of the hind end
- Trouble transitioning from lying or sitting to a standing position
- Difficulty walking or complete inability to walk
- Inability to climb stairs
- Sudden reluctance to go for walks or play
- Stumbling and lack of coordination
- Muscle mass loss
- Decreased walking speed in general
Tips on How to Strengthen old dog's hind legs
Once you've figured out why your pet is upset and got some treatment advice, you can help them get better and regain their energy with non-medical actions.
- It is recommended to take your furry companion for brief yet consistent walks on a daily basis. This will aid in gradually restoring their hind-leg muscles.
- Let your dog swim in a safe place. Swimming provides a low-friction way to work their muscles and benefits their overall strength.
- As dog's age, their metabolism slows down, and excess weight can strain, weakening legs. To prevent this, ensure your pet enjoys a healthy diet with lean, protein-rich foods.
- One way to support your pet's joint health and mobility is by giving them supplements that contain Omega-3 fatty acids. These supplements can help reduce inflammation and provide extra nutritional support for aging joints.
- Inflammation-reducing treatments such as acupuncture and regenerative therapy can greatly address limited mobility and reduce pain.
Alternative ways to alleviate discomfort
if your dog can't do strengthening exercises anymore, you can help them feel better in other ways, it might be time to explore other options that can improve their comfort and overall well-being.
You can consider using mobility aids like a wheelchair, rear lifting harness, or hip brace. These aids will give your dog a certain level of freedom, enabling them to enjoy an active lifestyle during the longer, warmer summer months.
As pets get older, they need regular check-ups at the vet to catch health issues early and make sure they stay healthy.
Our ves in Somerset specialize in helping older pets stay healthy. They identify and treat emerging health problems at an early stage and provide proactive treatment while it's still manageable and convenient.