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Dog shaking and limping.

Species: Dog
Breed: Japanese Spitz
Age: 5-8 years
Dear Dr:

Since yesterday I see that my dog tires to go to the bathrooms and hide. Since the bathrooms in my house are cooler than the rest of the house I imagined he liked it. When he walks he has his back pushing downward while walking and he limps a little. When we ask him to come out he does not and when we bring him out by hugging him he starts shaking. In my country is a public holiday and the vet is closed. Please help me out


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It sounds like Fluffy is quite uncomfortable. Often if a dog is trying to hide in unusual places it can be a sign of pain. Given that he is walking strangely and with a limp this really sounds like pain as well.

The most common reason for a dog the size of a Japanese Spitz to have pain like this is back pain. Dogs, just like people have discs in between the vertebrae (bones) in their back. Sometimes a dog can get inflammation around one of the discs. The inflammation pushes up on the spinal cord and can be very painful. It can definitely cause a limp as well. And, most dogs with pain like this will shake like you have described.

If this is a disc, then the treatment is prescription medication that you would need to get from a vet. Anything that you could buy over the counter would not be very effective and actually could interfere with the vet's diagnosis and what medicines the vet would want to give.

If there is an emergency vet available at all today I would recommend going to see them. With back problems, sometimes if they are not treated right away, the inflammation can progress to a more serious problem where the disc pushes up on the spinal cord and this can actually cause paralysis.

If you can't get to an emergency vet then the best thing you can do is keep Fluffy as quiet as possible. Avoid picking him up (because this could damage his back). Do not let him do any jumping or stairs. If you need to get him up the stairs then you will need to gently pick him up, taking great care to keep his back as still as possible.

There are other possibilities. It is hard to know exactly what is going on without seeing him. But the most likely is a back problem.

Hopefully there is an emergency vet available, but if not I would get Fluffy in as soon as possible tomorrow.

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.

Customer reply:

Dr. he always thinks that he should urinate. But when we take him to the balcony he doesn't pee. He wouldn't eat as well. This started yesterday and today he started hiding and not eating. till yesterday it was just little bit of limping on one of his back legs.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Ah.....this information has me more concerned. I know I said that a back problem is the most likely but that should not cause him to have trouble urinating.

There are several possible reasons for a male dog to have trouble urinating:

-A bladder stone that has moved into his urethra and is basically blocking the flow of urine.
-An enlarged prostate. (This would only happen if he is not neutered.)
-A urinary tract infection.

If he is completely unable to urinate then this is a medical emergency and he really needs to be seen right away. If he can't pee then this means that he is in danger of his bladder rupturing. Also, it is extremely uncomfortable for him.

It's hard to say why he is limping, but I have seen dogs walk very strangely when they have an extremely full bladder.

Do you have any emergency vets in your country? This does not sound like something that should wait another day. Also, there is nothing that you can do at home to help him.



Customer reply:

Thank you doctor for your help. I am trying to find emergency vet in my location.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Good! I hope he feels better soon!

Dr. Marie.



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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.