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Acute Problem: Can't Bend Down

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Our healthy happy gregarious taller than most 7 yr old 80lb male hesitated to come down for breakfast this morning. ODD. then had a hard time with the three stairs that lead to entry way. ODD. Then seemed a bit "stumbley" outside but hey I'm a little off at 5:15am too. But then at 8am he couldn't bend down to grab a squeaky toy though he clearly wanted to. Then at 1pm he couldn't come down stairs from our bedroom where his BIG bed is without a break on landing and could not do the stairs on front porch (I had to take him back in and down carpeted stairs to basement and go through garage). He could bend to stiff for a place to go so just picked a spot but the really red flag was his after potty break biscuit; he couldn't bend down to eat the crumby mess always makes.


I hope I'm not panicking, but I made urgent care vet visit for 3:30 today. There was NOTHING wrong yesterday. We got home around 3 and he went bananas with a full body jump and wiggle ... maybe he just pulled a neck muscle?? God knows I've done that with a wrong move.

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Jake had similar symptoms once where he would let out a yelp anytime he tried to bend down. It lasted only a couple of days so we think it was a pulled muscle. I'm hoping it's the same for your boy! I think Jake injured himself playing with the lure pole outside.


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It does sound like a neck issue. :( Since this morning is he walking less "stumbley"?


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A little arthritis flaring up? A pulled muscle? Maybe a disc issue?


Been there, done that. Vet probably will prescribe a pain killer and perhaps a muscle relaxer (like Robaxin). (And you might want to keep the relevant meds on hand. My boy had his worst flare-ups after vet hours on weekends. Having pills on hand was a big help. I got prescriptions I could fill/refill at the 24-hour Walgreens.)


But get a video of him moving badly to show your vet. I took angel Sam to the vet with similar issues and he flopped down on the floor for the vet, let the vet move his legs around as if he was made of silly putty, and never let out a squeak. I wouldn't have believed it was possible. (When Silver had an arthritis flare, she behaved exactly the same. Stoic dogs.)


If you have a harness you can use rather than attaching the leash to his collar, you might try that. Be prepared to have to help him into the car--but also out of it. When you park try to leave enough room for him to jump out from the car rather than trying to jump straight down (too steep). (Or lift him out, if you can.) Raise his food and water (at least temporarily) so he doesn't have to bend so far. (I used to give treats on a plate set on a footstool. He could reach his crumbs.)


If a visit to a chiropractor seems like a good idea, I'd want a spinal x-ray first to be sure there's not a problem that could be made worse by an adjustment. Chiro helped one time for Sam, but a second visit was massively painful (first time he ever tried to hurt someone) and the benefits were very short-lived so we never went back.


P.S. You're not panicking. He's in pain. There's no advantage to waiting and every reason to make him feel better as soon as possible.

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Thanks for your replies!! I'm glad we're going in today. I HATE seeing him in discomfort and "off" his usual game.


Yes he seems less "stumbley" than this morning ... looking back I think the twinge of pain when he tried to bend down per usual to sniff caught him off guard and that caused the "stumble" as he caught himself and came upright again. This afternoon's potty outing he skipped trying to bend over all together. I have injured my neck and man can that hurt like a dickens. Can't wait to get him some relief!

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Sounds a lot like when my girl tweaked her neck as well. Think she did it running in the park, but it wasn't an obvious incident. A quick trip the the vet and some meds (I think they gave her steroids) and she was good as new in a day or two. Hope that's all it is for your pup.


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My betty had a stiff neck a few weeks ago. It just came on and we have no idea what she did. Probably fell in the backyard or something. A few days of rest and she was good as new.


I'm a collar maker, but I switched her to a harness from now on.


I hope it is something similar for your boy. Let us know what the vet says.

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They agreed we should treat with pain med and muscle relaxer. We're not big fans of drugs so trying half doses to start. He's always been super sensitive to meds. He's a dream on a leash .. NO pull but he did a very exaggerated full body jump and shimmy wiggle when we got home yesterday it was contortionist like ... I would have a pulled muscle from that move :)


We gave him dinner and 50 mg of each med when we got home ... he's, of course, sleeping.

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