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Weakness in a Dog's Back Legs

Posted by Puppy Stairs on 6/14/2016

Does your dog have a tendency to "favor" their front legs? It's frightening for an owner to see his or her dog exhibit symptoms such as this, but the first step towards treating it is to determine what exactly is causing the dog's hind legs to go weak.

Degenerative Myelopathy

One possible reason why your dog is experiencing weakness in their hind legs is because they are suffering from a disease known as degenerative myelopathy. With this disease, the nerves within the spinal cord begin to degrade, causing weakness and/or paralysis of the hind legs (among other things). Degenerative myelopathy is believed to be a common cause of weakness of the hind legs in dogs.

Patellar Luxation

We've talked about this before on the PuppyStairs blog, but patellar luxation may also cause a dog's hind legs to go weak. This condition is characterized by the knee slipping out its groove-socket, at which point the dog may no longer be able to place weight on the affected leg. Patellar luxation doesn't technically cause weakness in the legs, but rather it makes it painful for a dog to place weight on the affected leg or legs.

Osteoarthritis

Of course, osteoarthritis -- inflammatory arthritis of the knee -- may cause weakness in a dog's hind legs. While osteoarthritis is more common in older dogs, as well as breeds larger breeds, the fact is that any dog can develop it at any given time in their life.

What Can I Do to Help?

Now for the million-dollar question: how can I ease my dog's symptoms so they aren't experiencing pain or weakness in their hind legs? First and foremost, you should take your dog to the local veterinarian for a complete checkup. Even if you believe one of the aforementioned conditions is to blame for your dog's condition, you simply won't know until you visit the vet.

Using Puppy Stairs or Ramps inside your home can help to ease the symptoms of many conditions associated with hind leg weakness. If your dog normally jumps on and off the bed, it could lead to further wear and tear of their joints, increasing the severity of their symptoms. With Puppy Stairs or Ramps, your dog can reach the bed or other elevated surfaces simply by walking.