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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, does anyone have any experience with a dog who has hind leg weakness after a walk?

My dog is very active and walks 45min twice a day but, in the past few weeks, he's been getting tired after just 15min. In the first few weeks, I noticed his hind legs seemed weak and he would just sort of trip over on one of his hind legs after a long walk but even then he was able to walk 40-30min so I thought it may just be a little bit of arthritis. Then recently, he would walk slow after just 15min and after we come home, he would stand still and his back would twitch and bounce a little bit up and down very slightly. He also appears a little lost when this happens but doesnt seem in pain when I touch him and it usually lasts 15min. He is okay after lying down and resting for about an hour.

This usually occurs right after his afternoon walk and not as much in his morning walk. He's otherwise acting normal.

We went to the vet who did a chest and ultrasound on his heart and bloodwork. He has a very light heart murmur (which he always had) and arrhythmia but it is minor and does not require medication. She also said she saw a mass in the spleen and suggested surgery to remove or monitor the condition.

Neither really seemed to be the cause of the issue. She also mentioned he had a little bit of arthritis but it wasnt major and the change in behavior seemed so sudden that I wonder if that is the only reason? Does anybody have any advice on what I should do? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 

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I'm sorry your dog is struggling a bit right now. :(

I have noticed shaking legs in two of my senior dogs. We never determined the cause. Just had to take things a little easier and let them rest more.

Gracie did also start to have trouble with her spine, which caused her to stumble occasionally on a back foot. Has your vet done an x-ray?

One other thing I should mention is something I learned with Gracie: Dogs will do everything in their power to keep up with you. Their DNA tells them to hide their weakness at all costs.

You didn't mention how old your dog is, but he might just have hit his limit with those long walks. For Gracie's last few years, she could do 15 minutes max, so we'd do little wanders instead. Drive to the beach or park and let her explore. That sort of thing. Or just sit outside in the sun.

Of course, you know your dog best, and if this really did come on suddenly, I would request a spinal x-ray at minimum, and also explore your options with that mass on his spleen. Maybe it's causing him pain?

Hope others have some ideas for you.
 

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I also wondered about spinal issues when you mentioned stumbling, although it could also be arthritis, of course. Is he on any pain relief? If he improves markedly after a dose of metacam or similar it is would signal that he has probably been in pain. I would get him checked for possible spinal issues, discuss your options for the spleen, and meanwhile ease back on the walks - as PP suggests, a little gentle noodling and sniffing and watching the world go by may suit him better at this stage. I would also keep him from jumping and using stairs, just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thank you both! I really appreciate the help. I'll look into those options. He was on Rimadyl a few weeks for a swollen eye because he was nipped by another dog at the dog park. But back then he was already having the leg weakness issue and the Rimadyl didnt seem to change his behavior so that's why I wondered about arthritis. He's 15, small breed and has always been very active (he'd go out 5 times a day if we would walk him) so I'm just trying to do a little more research.

Yesterday I was looking at his blood test and noticed that his GLU level was low 52 out of 60-110 range but his vet didnt mention it. When I asked later, she said to retest again later to see if anything changed. He's never had any liver issues but now that I think about it, since he was on Rimadyl in Feb and also last Dec (for an anal sac infection), I'm wondering if that could've affected his blood sugar? I saw supplements like Denamarin that help the liver but I'm not sure whether to give it to him because sometimes these suppliments are used to lower blood sugar instead of increasing it? Does anybody have any experience with blood sugar suppliments or food to help liver function?
 

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I didn't mention this because the vet initially gave the bloodwork an all clear, but the sort of dazed shakiness does sound like low blood sugar.

I'm sorry I don't have any suggestions to offer there, but definitely worth rechecking, ideally before you start any new supplements that could skew the results.

I do also think long walks for a 15-year-old with short legs might no longer be realistic. Try doing some short, gentle strolls and see how it goes. Let your dog set the pace and watch for any slowing down to signal it's time to turn back.
 

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How frequently are you feeding him? Perhaps try several small meals a day, and have suitable treats to hand in between times. But it does sound as if the time has come for shorter walks, and letting him set the pace and distance. At his age a joint supplement may be a good idea - I have known dogs perk up enormously on YuMove.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I feed him twice a day, in the afternoon around 1pm and in the evening around 8pm. I walk him in the morning around 10am and in the afternoon a couple of hours after lunch (times vary between 2-4:30pm). It's strange that it usually occurs during the afternoon walk and not so much in the morning, but I'll try walking him right after lunch to see if it's better. Does blood sugar levels flunctuate on their own throughout the day I wonder?

I used to avoid giving him treats with sugar because he had yeast on his paws. But I'll see if giving him some cookies before and after his walk would help.

I'll also look into YuMove as well! I had tried "GNC Pets Ultra Mega Hip & Joint Health Senior Beef Flavor" but I'm not sure if it's working.

Thanks again PeggyTheParti and fjm for all your advice. It's really helpful to be able to come to a community to share ideas and experiences.
 

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A high protein treat may be better than a sugary one - just something to even out the calories through the day. I think I would try dividing his food into three meals and giving him breakfast as well, on the won't-harm-may-help principle!
 
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The spleen is involved with filtering blood cells and platelets, while the mass may go away on its own, it could be a circulation issue until it resolves.
We can live without a functioning spleen but it is like the regulator controlling the amount or red and white blood cells in the circulatory system,
so problems with it can cause severe fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and have an impact on the heart.
The vet ruled it out for this issue?
It could be totally unrelated and just muscle fatigue, maybe he is just passing his threshold.
You might try to shorten his walks until he has no symptoms.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the info townferret! The vet kept it general and said to monitor, so I'll just wait and take it easy. So far, I'm limiting the walks and trying a leaner diet. And like fjm said, I'll look for some high protein treats before and after we go out for walks. I'm also going to look for more ways to keep him occupied indoors.
 

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Sounds great! Here's hoping that all remains well.
When I read about your walks, I was jealous for Noodle- she would love to be with you,
you would be all her dreams come true!

I know it will be a challenge to keep him active indoors.
It is a good time to train him in dance moves or tricks.
When puppies play they nip at each other and oddly that is muscle stimulation for the
puppy being nipped. Some soft wrestling sessions with tiny little soft pinches will
actually provide a small workout and improve circulation.

I wasn't in total agreement with the high protein treats, provided he is receiving protein in his
diet, I didn't object to it, it just wouldn't be the optimal way to address inflammation.
I keep manuka honey on hand- it has a natural antibiotic from bees and has been shown to
significantly aid in wound healing with dogs, it is also somethng they can eat in small quantities(and adore).
If Manuka honey isn't readily available any local honey will do.

Tumeric also reduces inflammation so you can actually bake him a cookie with tumeric and honey
which would be like a health food energy bar for him.

I use this recipe as a foundation for making dog cookies and I substitute
the cinnamon for tumeric and instead of canned pumpkin I puree 2-3 carrots with 2 tbsp honey, to get the 15 ounces
I also use regular flour 2 cups and 1 cup rolled oats when rice flour isnt handy (or not on sale) but you can
bake it as is and just try to get some tumeric and honey in there.

Good Luck- hope some of this helps.

p.s. I personally don't roll them out and shape them- I just roll them into balls and flatten them crisscross with a fork like peanut butter cookies.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
He loves his walks, it's his favorite activity so it's been a challenge, but the play wrestle is a great idea. I will definately try it! I'll also look into making different treats, thank you for the receipe!
 

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I wouldn't stop the walks. Just modify them a bit. Drive to a destination or do more frequent short walks. Dogs are extremely adaptable. Us humans tend to have a harder time. :)

Hope you'll keep us posted on his progress and any further findings!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you, PeggyTheParti! Yup, we are still walking but less and I notice that it's still mostly the afternoons where he gets tired easily. What's weird is that he doesn't seem to want to lie down after we return from the walk, he walks into the house slowly and just stands for a few min and twitches/bounces a little. Then after a while he would eventually sit and rest and then after about an hour or two he's better. I'm going to continue working on trying different treats, meal times, and monitor him.
 

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He does have arthritis, a heart murmur and a mass in his spleen that you know about.
But they may not impact him at all. Time will tell.
I'm assuming they checked his thyroid in bloodwork, if not, and it doesn't resolve in a few months- it's worth a shot.

He could have an allergy that is just occurring now in the afternoon air and that puts him over the threshold - but it disappears with the season,
he might have low blood sugar in the afternoons and the twitching goes away with a treat, the hind leg might be slightly sprained or someone got too close to the quick in a nail trim,
he might have a spider bite, an ant bite, the possibilities are endless.

You are doing all that any of us can do in this situation, and anyday he'll be back to his old self and
you'll never know what happened. Ah well- dog keeping has it's moments. :)

Would you mind posting a picture of him?
I like to keep a good thought and it helps to put a face to it.
 

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Unless it's a spinal issue. In which case, some major activity modifications would be in order to prevent it from getting worse.

Based on my personal experience with Gracie, I'd prioritize a spinal x-ray.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank You both again for the advice and encouragement! I really appreciate it, and will keep monitoring as well as try to keep a good balance between exercise, diet, and emotion. ?
 
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