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Help! I Have a Senior Dog with Weak Back Legs

Portrait of a black dog with a greying face laying in a field outdoors.

It is sad to see them say that the legs are the first to go. After years of selfless service, it is not easy to see your loving dog struggle to stand up. But as time goes on, dogs do get older, and they will suffer from different ailments.

One of the first signs of ageing you should see will be weaker back legs. This is a common ailment in older pets and to learn how to handle this ailment, just continue to read our article.

It has the information you want to know about, but it is advisable to get in touch with your veterinarian.

The Signs for Hind Leg Weakness in Senior Dogs

Senior yellow Labrador retriever chewing a toy laying on livingroom carpet

Every ailment will send signals or signs to you when your pet starts to suffer. Knowing what these signs are is important as it helps you provide better treatment faster.

  • Hind legs begin to have tremors
  • Your dog avoids climbing stairs or going down them
  • Has a hard time standing from a sitting or lying position
  • Does not like long walks or exercise times
  • Stops jumping on the furniture
  • Starts to walk funny, more like a bunny hop

Causes of Hind Leg Weakness

Senior black dog with a greying face running through a grass field

When you start seeing those signs in your dog, you know one of the following causes created that trouble for your pet. You will need to visit your vet to see which one of these causes is the source of your pet’s discomfort and failure to walk right.

  1. Arthritis – This is common in senior dogs, and you can tell when it is arthritis when your dog is irritable, has difficulty standing, feels pain when touched, and has accidents in the house.
  2. Hip Dysplasia – This is the forerunner of osteoarthritis, and it is a condition where the hip socket and ball joint rub together too much. Back leg collapse is one of the signs as well as joint stiffness, difficulty getting up, pain, and a grating sound in the hip area.
  3. Degenerative Myelopathy – There is no cure for this genetic neurodegenerative disease. The good news is your pet should feel no pain as the damage is done to the nervous system and neurons in the brain. You will see back leg collapse or loss of coordination as the signs your dogs are suffering from this disease. It usually comes at about 8+ years of age.
  4. Too Much Weight – This is the best of all sources because it is easy to treat. Your dog needs to go on a diet and get plenty of exercises.

Treatment for Weak Hind Legs in Senior Dogs

Senior woman with grey hair petting a black and white dog on the exam table in a vet's office with a vet on the other side of the table.

The best course of action when you see your senior dog struggling to get to his or her feet is to take him or her to your vet. There are different treatments that can be applied, and each depends on the source for the problem.

Surgery is not recommended for senior dogs and even younger ones. For overweight pets, the treatment is as prescribed already. Lots of exercises and a smaller serving of food until the excess weight is gone.

One of the more common treatment plans is to get a brace for your pet. These hind leg braces help your senior dog cope better and protect them from hind leg collapse. They should also help keep your pet healthier and happier as the days pass.

These braces should be easy to put on your dog and they seem to use their complete back to provide the support and help your pet needs to stand and walk properly. However, you need to discuss this option with your vet and see if there are other treatments you can use.

If your vet is good, they should know the best treatment to apply to your pet’s condition.

Some Final Words

Chocolate lab with a greying muzzle sitting next to a body of water in front of some mountains.

It is not fun to see your once strong and mighty dog struggle with an ailment. But you can make life easier for them once you identify the problem. Just follow your vet’s directions and your dog should be able to handle the rear leg weakness a lot better.

If you are not sure about the advice you get, there is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion. Make sure you are getting the right advice, so your dog does not suffer from undue pain or discomfort.

Your pet has always been there for you, this is a time you need to be there for them.

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