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Stress Induced Hind Legs Weakness?


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Hi all,

 

So Max is 10.75 yo now, and I got him just after he turned 10. Since I have had him, he has always had a bit of rear leg weakness, but really very little, just an occasional stumble on a walk when he trips over something, and he has the "old greyhound man" gait overall. Always jumps into the car and onto the couch by himself with no signs of trouble.

 

Yesterday I walked him and Logan about 3 miles overall, in three different trips spread over the day, no problems at all. This morning I took them out around 9:30 am but both Logan and Max got overheated pretty quick so it was short, dogs came home and I went out.

 

I got back home just before 1 pm, and the dogs greeted me as usual. Brought the groceries in, dropped something got upset and yelled a bit. Then I noticed Max' back end was sagging. Looked like he does when he is squatting for a BM. He walked around like that for a minute or two, ended up laying down on a bed on the floor. Since then he has been fine, ran back into the kitchen, jumped onto the couch. He and Logan wanted to go for an afternoon walk, so I took them to the park and he jumped into the back seat both at the house and at the park. We only walked a few minutes mainly due to the heat, but I was watching Max and he seemed to be walking fine (except the old man gait as usual).

 

So I understand at his age he may be getting the rear end weakness, and if I see it more I will take him to the vet to get it checked out -- not asking for a diagnosis since I know that can't be done in a board message. But my question is this: Could my yelling when I dropped the groceries stressed him (which I'm sure it did as he is sensitive) enough to cause his leg weakness to flare up? And/or, could the walk three hours before in the heat (it was around 82 F, but we have been in the 60's up till now) have done it?

 

Sorry for the long setup, and thanks in advance for any thoughts.

 

BTW, just to end on a lighter note, I bought an ice cream cone at the drive-through on the way home from the park, and let Logan and Max lick some of it. They were soooo cute licking it together, one on each side. Then they got it down to the point were only one tongue could fit into the cone, and the sudden snarling made me think I was going to lose my hand :-)

 

Rob
Logan - LoganMaxicon15K.jpg - Max (Aug. 4, 2004 - Jan. 11, 2018)

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Not the yelling, I think. Possibly the morining walk. It's also possible that he was on his feet for a while before you got home, so that by the time you got the groceries put away, he'd been on his feet for longer than was comfortable for him.

 

If the yelling got to him, I think it might only be if he was surprised and moved quickly and tweaked something, so less an upset over yelling and more a startle-reaction. (In other words, the reaction could be to the dropped stuff rather than to you.)

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Well, your post got me to thinking.

Desi has sinking hiney syndrome as well. And his gait is very stiff, too. I prayed for winter to end as he was slipping

on the ice so badly. However, the warmer it's gotten, the worse his hiney-sink. This has been the first really warm weekend

here, and once it's over 70F Desi is begging for a/c. He's always been very heat intolerant. As in, he pants if it's over 50.

Over 60, he pants like a freight train. Over 70, it's like he thinks he's in a frying pan. This afternoon, we went for a

quickie pee walk, and he didn't even make it a block before he was sinking, we headed back to the house, & I was afraid we

weren't going to make it. Now that he's cooled off, his sinkage is much better. I don't know why the warm weather would

affect his weak rear, so your post made me wonder if it was the stress of being too hot. And stress is stress is stress.......

just my own wandering thoughts.

Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.

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But my question is this: Could my yelling when I dropped the groceries stressed him (which I'm sure it did as he is sensitive) enough to cause his leg weakness to flare up? And/or, could the walk three hours before in the heat (it was around 82 F, but we have been in the 60's up till now) have done it?

 

 

My thought: A stress factor is possible, even if indirectly related to the dropped grocery incident. As others mentioned, his body may have already been weakened from exercise in elevated temperatures, and/or tweaked something during the reactive moment, etc. (His prior life circumstances may have pre-programmed him to react in a certain way.)

 

One of our senior Greyhounds stressed to the point of near full body collapse during a difficult (for him) vet visit. His high stress episode was combined with and worsened by his laryngeal paralysis (and LP's related nerve damage often extends into hind-end weakness). Our two LP hounds share Desi's (post above) difficulty walking in warm temperatures, and freight train panting. None of our younger hounds have ever tolerated walking in temperatures above 70-72 degrees F, either.

 

Our entire hound pack is sensitive. We've taught ourselves to react with a (happy?! :) "oopsie" whenever we drop something that makes a loud noise. It helps keep the hounds resting more calmly, so they don't panic thinking the house falling down.

 

I'm glad Max appears to have recovered quickly, no worse for the wear. Thank you for adopting a special senior boy. :)

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All,

 

Thanks for the comments. Just to update, he has not had any further incident. I walked both dogs last night at around sunset, it was cooler and no sun beating down (Max' black coat acts like a solar absorber) and he had no problem. This morning it was warmer again (probably mid 70s) and bright sun and Logan (the lazy one :-) did not want to go, so I took the hint and we skipped the walk. I did have them out in the backyard for a while and Max even ran a bit, and I walked Max alone a few houses down until he did his business, still no sagging rear end.

 

So I just need to keep watching him. Of course now I'm nervous taking him for a long walk (1-1.5 miles) in case it flares up again and he can't go any further. But my understanding is that it is that walking is the best therapy for this, so as long as he is moving well I figure we will keep going for walks as usual. I usually work late and we walk around 8 pm or later, so that works well from a heat standpoint.

 

Thanks again,

Rob
Logan - LoganMaxicon15K.jpg - Max (Aug. 4, 2004 - Jan. 11, 2018)

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cometdust1,

 

I use that WoofTrax walking app (which I highly recommend btw, it does a great job of mapping the walk), so I do almost always have the cellphone with me. But still makes me nervous -- Max is a big boy and I don't think I've ever actually picked him up. I've done the "pick up front feet into car then lift back end in" once with Max, and it did work. (Logan on the other hand doesn't believe in exerting himself to get into the car, so I do it with him almost every time.)

Rob
Logan - LoganMaxicon15K.jpg - Max (Aug. 4, 2004 - Jan. 11, 2018)

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If he has LS, which sounds like a good possibility it's not flat walking that will help. That will likely tire him out and my guess is that's what you were seeing the other day. What you want is exercise that will keep up his core strength so running or hilly walks (and also stairs imho). Zuri also went to physical therapy when he was first diagnosed so we have exercises we can do and they also suggested anything where he has to balance (like standing on a water bed). Gabapentin can be very helpful and generally doesn't have side effects except for possibly mild sedation so if you continue to see issues I would take him in.

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"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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