es?Lyme?

Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. There are numerous things that could be causing these symptoms. Lunes disease is on the list, but if she does not have other symptoms (fever, lethargy), it is likely something else. Degenerative myelopathy and degenerative spinal disc disease would be my first thoughts knowing her age and breed. It is important that you seek veterinary help to determine what the cause actually is because proper treatment depends on proper diagnosis.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Weakness in back legs of dogs can be caused by a variety of things, including myasthenia gravis, heart problems, anemia, hypothyroidism, and Addison`s disease.
Like humans, dogs can sprain or strain their muscles. They could have also overexerted themselves and are now feeling weak. Your dog may have been involved in an accident that caused fractures or trauma, which can make their back legs shake. Your pup could have injured their spine, which is painful for them.
It may include orthopedic braces, mobility aids, or physical therapy. Also, pain medication can be administered for pain relief. In addition, dogs suffering from hind leg weakness may benefit from joint supplements for better joint health, which is a common cause of back leg collapse.
Osteoarthritis of the hips and knees may eventually lead to hind leg weakness. This may cause your dog to have difficulty rising or walking and you may notice his or her hind legs collapsing. Additionally, arthritis may affect the front legs, back, and other joints.
Sadly, most dogs with degenerative myelopathy eventually lose control of their legs, bladder and bowels completely, and need to be put to sleep. The average life expectancy of a dog with degenerative myelopathy is 1-2 years from diagnosis.
What does it look like when your dog`s back legs are weak? Slow to rise, sinking on hind limbs, dragging the tops of the toes, hind end swaying, limbs crossing sometimes, exercise intolerance, slipping, sliding, and hind-end collapse are all signs of hind-limb weakness.
Pain or Illness

Shivering could be a sign that your dog is in pain or suffering from an illness. Shivering and muscle tremors can be symptoms of serious conditions such as distemper, hypoglycemia, Addison`s disease and inflammatory brain disease, as well as more common ailments like an upset stomach.

Paralysis in dogs is usually caused by a problem in the spine or brain. Spinal compression, herniated discs, and nerve problems can all disrupt the communication between a dog`s spine and brain. When the nerves are unable to function normally, dogs will lose the ability to walk, stand, and control their legs.
Vestibular disease refers to a problem with a dog`s balance system. Most commonly, older dogs are affected by the idiopathic form, known as old dog vestibular syndrome, which comes on suddenly and severely, but oddly enough, improves on its own within a few days.
With support from orthopedic braces, a healthy diet, regular exercise, as well as homeopathic support, your older dog may have many happy and healthy years ahead, free of back leg collapse. Talk to your vet and ask if a hip brace may alleviate your older dog`s hind leg weakness.
As kidney disease progresses in your dog, they can become very lethargic and prefer to sleep much of the day. When they are awake, their back legs may appear weak and cause them to shake while they walk or even stumble and fall.
This is another question to ask yourself before knowing when to let your dog go. Most often, weakness and inability to move freely are clear signs that the animal needs urgent medical help or has declined to the point that it`s time to consider euthanasia or putting your dog to sleep.
Many mobility issues can cause a dog`s hind legs to give out and collapse underneath them suddenly. For example, a dog`s back legs can collapse due to an injury, leg weakness in an older dog, arthritis, or a more serious health condition such as Degenerative Myelopathy.
Dogs that are paralyzed in the hind legs or all four legs need extra help doing everyday things. But don`t panic! Many dogs can live happy and healthy lives, even with paralysis.
Strokes can affect how your pet controls their eyes. Look out for abnormal eye movements such as your dog`s eyes constantly rotating or darting from side to side. Furthermore, one eye may stay still while the other moves, or both your pet`s eyes may look as though they are focusing on two different spots.
It`s important never to give paracetamol to your dog unless your vet tells you to – it can be very dangerous if it`s given incorrectly.” Claire explains that you should always head to your vet for advice, including if your pup accidentally digests a painkiller.
Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it`s a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they`re stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!
Some signs of a stroke in dogs include a head tilt, circling, loss of balance, and unusual eye movements. If you think that your dog is having a stroke, don`t delay getting them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. Treatment is mostly supportive, and it`s important to treat any underlying causes.
If your dog has trouble standing up or sitting down, you might suspect natural, age-related changes such as osteoarthritis. However, for many dogs, the actual problem lies with an inherited condition known as hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia can cause pain and stiffness in the hip joints at any stage of life.
Getting older may mean that your dog is less aware of their surroundings. Their hearing and sight might not be what they once were, and they may generally be slower to react. Try keeping a closer eye on them while out walking, and if those `senior moments` become more frequent, talk to your vet.
Weak hind legs makes pushing up off the floor a struggle as older pets begin to lose leg strength. The Walkin` Up-n-Go Rear Support Leash is a fast solution to help your dog stand from a laying down position. Easily slip the leash on your dog while they are lying down to give them a boost up.
In addition to being less active, many dogs at this age begin to develop digestive issues, kidney problems and other conditions that can benefit from diet modification. Only your veterinarian can accurately assess your dog`s needs.
Even if your dog is considered senior, you`ll still want to give them at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. Because of their age, exercise might need to become shorter but it`s still necessary to make sure they`re getting the required stimulation. Choose low-impact activities. Go on walks, not runs.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. How do I teach my dog to sit still enough and not move his head while I clip on the gentle leader?
ANSWER : A. Most dogs HATE the gentle leader, and it’s not at all surprising. Would you want something foreign on your face? It’s an uncomfortable training tool, and no dog enjoys wearing it. If you are looking to have your dog behave better on-leash, you should consider tossing out that gentle leader, and using a front hooking harness like the Sensible http://www.softouchconcepts.com/index.php/product-53/sense-ible-harness, or the Sensation http://www.softouchconcepts.com/index.php/product-53/sense-ation-harness harness. These harnesses will eliminate the pulling power of your dog, and put you in control in a positive, and gentle way. Any time your dog pulls, he is redirected until he is facing you. You can practically walk your dog with your pinky.

I dislike the gentle leader because it can cause neck injuries in an avid puller/lunger. You also can’t ever hook a long-lead to the gentle leader and allow your dog to run around because it would break his neck. Another thing I dislike about it, is it discourages sniffing the ground during walks. When your dog attempts to sniff, and the leash is short, his nose is redirected upwards. When you trip on the leash, the head is jerked around and the nose is directed upwards. Sniffing during walks is extremely important. Sniffing = mental stimulation, which will tire your dog out more during your walks. The more your dog lags, or forges, the less he can sniff the ground, and the more frustrated he becomes.

If you’re dead set on using the head halti.. you should be using treats to hold his attention. Place the head halti on the floor, reward him for sniffing it, pick it up, treat him, put it near his face, treat him, lure his nose through the loop, lots of treats, take the head halti off, more treats, lure his nose through again, more treats. Take baby steps going forwards AND backwards so the “game” of getting the halti on isn’t always getting more difficult.

Q. I have a 10 year old mutt who is hyper but doesn’t like hyper dogs. Getting another dog from a shelter soon any ideas on calm breeds?
ANSWER : A. If your dog is uncomfortable with other dogs (of any sort), it is important that you bring your current dog to the shelter so he can meet the dog you plan to adopt. You should check out your local shelter, and walk around looking at all of the dogs. Mixed breeds have mixed amounts of energy and it’s tough to recommend a breed. I suppose I would say calm breeds would be the Great Pyrenees, the Newfoundland, the Bernese Mountain dog CAN be a calm breed.. really with any breed you will have mixed litters. Many breeders breed specifically the “calm” Newfies, or the “hyper” Bernese. If you are going to adopt from a shelter however, it’s impossible to expect that level of breeding.

As I said, just be sure you bring your dog along so you can slowly introduce the dogs. If your dog is uncomfortable, immediately separate them, and try again in a couple of minutes. You don’t want to force them to get along, and you don’t want to move too quickly when introducing them.

Q. My dog is 75-80 lbs. mix Shep13 yrs.Could not get up,back legs flopping Then again today, lost balancethen ok to walk back legs shake at times?Lyme?
ANSWER : A. There are numerous things that could be causing these symptoms. Lunes disease is on the list, but if she does not have other symptoms (fever, lethargy), it is likely something else. Degenerative myelopathy and degenerative spinal disc disease would be my first thoughts knowing her age and breed. It is important that you seek veterinary help to determine what the cause actually is because proper treatment depends on proper diagnosis.

Q. My Bulldog puppy growls, barks and even tries to bite me when I say “no” to him. What can I do?
ANSWER : A. First, avoid scolding him and acting aggressively towards him if you don’t want him to be acting aggressively towards you. There are other methods you can use to communicate to your dog that you don’t want him to continue doing what he is doing. I recommend you stop telling him “no”, scolding him, or raising your voice at him. Everything coming from you should be 100% positive and 100% calm.

Try to figure out ways to clearly communicate what you want to your dog. If you want your dog to leave something or someone alone, I strongly suggest teaching your dog commands like “leave it”. Here is a link to a video in which I explain how to do it:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1TS5nA7z5Q

Another thing I suggest you use is a no-reward marker. This clearly communicates when your dog has done something wrong. No-reward markers have to be introduced during your training sessions. You should be doing at least three training sessions per day, that are something like 3-10 minutes long (working on different things each training session). If you are teaching your dog something BRAND NEW, do not use the no-reward marker, as you do not want to discourage your dog from performing behaviors for you. Use the no-reward marker for known behaviors only. Here is another helpful video about this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdU5a6fXKlg

Lure each new behavior (as shown in the video) using high value treats. Let’s say you’re working on “down” which is a behavior your dog knows fairly well. Present the treat to your dog. Ask your dog to “down” (only ask once). If he does not go “down” immediately, say, “uh-oh” or “eh-eh” in a gentle tone, and then place the treat behind your back. This communicates to your dog that they did something to make the treat go away.

After you place the treat behind your back to show your pup “that was wrong” you need to communicate to your pup “let’s try again” by getting your pup to walk around for a second, and then start the behavior all over again. If your puppy is very young, chances are you haven’t taught him a solid “down” behavior yet. So, as I said, do not use this method until you have lured each new behavior as shown in the video.

This is the order in which you should teach behaviors: Lure using a high value treat as shown in the video. After a few successful food lures, lure with an empty hand. If the pup is successful with the empty hand lure, reward with lots of treats. If the pup is unsuccessful, then go back to food-luring a couple more times. After a few successful empty-hand lures, you can begin to add the cue. Say “sit”, then lure with an empty hand, and then reward. Once your pup understands the cue, begin to work on the no-reward marker.

Q. Want a pet cat companion for my dog Lucky, who is 5. The problem is that I’m somewhat alergic to cats. So, not sure what to do!
ANSWER : A. Dogs can make friends with lots of species, including cats! If you are heart-set on a cat, allergenic breeds are available such as hairless or lesser haired Sphinx and Devon-Rexes. However these breeds can be rare and hard to find at times. A short-haired cat that is brushed regularly may also cause less allergies. Many people with allergies are also able to take medications such as a daily allergy medication or spray like Nasocrom which can make living with a cat much easier.

If your dog is very friendly with other dogs, then getting him a dog friend may be an option! That would keep you from needing to get a cat and having an allergic reaction. Looking at your local animal shelter may help you to find a dog for adoption that is similar in personality and play style to your current dog. Many shelters will also let you introduce your dog to the one you are interested in adopting to see if they will be a good fit! If you can’t get another pet at this time, taking your dog to a local dog park or dog meetup can help him to get more social interaction and get out extra energy without the need for caring for another pet.