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Dog leaps to her feet.

Species: Dog
Breed: Siberian Husky
Age: 11-15 years
Why does my 12 year old lame Siberian Husky suddenly leap to her feet and walk off. This only happens when she is on the slick floor behind me. She'll be laying there motionless, looking like she is sleeping, then suddenly SHOOT to her feet and calmly walk off. Normally it takes her great effort to get to her feet. But whenever this happens she LEAPS strait to her feet! It startles the heck out of me. She never seems distressed by it, no yelping, no pain, it never happens on carpet. And it happens at least twice a day mostly at night. She has one collapsed disk in her middle back and many other bad ones in her lower back and neck, and a significant loss of muscle mass in her legs. For the last three years I have been walking her four times a week or more, for at least 2 miles. She has plenty of pulling power if she chooses. She's had two TTA knee surgerys (2008 and May 2010)and a adrenalectomy to cure cushings (Dec 2010). She has neck pain right now. How can a lame dog jump to her feet that way? What is happening?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It sure sounds like Kira has been through a lot in her life! She is blessed to have such a caring owner!

I have seen dogs do what you describe. I don't have an answer as to why she is doing it though.

It certainly could be that she has a sudden twinge of pain. Given her history, this really wouldn't surprise me. With her back issues it is possible that she gets the occasional shooting pain that causes her to suddenly need to change position. Perhaps the leaping to her feet is an attempt to run away from the pain?

I have seen dogs do this if they have anal gland issues as well. Has she ever had problems with her anal glands? Some dogs, when they have full anal glands will suddenly jump up. They usually do look at their bum after doing so though. It looks to me like the dog is saying, "What the heck? Did something just bite my bum?"

To answer your question about how a lame dog could get up so suddenly, the only explanation I could give is adrenaline. I have seen dogs who are severely arthritic and can barely move, but when they see a squirrel in the yard, all of a sudden they are running like a puppy. That's all due to adrenaline. So, if she did have a sudden shooting pain this could give her an adrenaline rush and give her the ability to be more mobile.

It's tough to know what to do about it though. If you are at all suspicious of anal gland issues then it's worthwhile to have your vet take a look.

I'm assuming that Kira is on some type of pain medication such as an NSAID like Metacam, Deramaxx, Rimadyl or Previcox? If not, it's definitely a good idea. If she is already on some pain medication it's not a bad idea to talk to your vet about adding a second medication. It would be interesting to do a trial for a couple of weeks and see if she has fewer episodes of leaping. A good second medication could be Tramadol. Or, if these truly are pain bouts due to a shooting nerve pain she may really benefit from a medication called Gabapentin.

I'm not sure if I've helped much! Let me know if you have more questions.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.