walking on back paws back over ? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 02-19-2013, 07:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default walking on back paws back over ?

I'm sure the title is confusing so I will try to make it more clear. Our 13 year old male German Shepherd's back paws are bend forward when he is walking. It looks very painful but he is not showing the pain. He is almost acting very tired. We are going to try and get him to the Vet tomorrow as this just started today.

Any ideas?

Does it make sense what I'm trying to describe?

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Old 02-19-2013, 07:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Can you post a picture?

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Old 02-19-2013, 08:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First thing that comes to my mind is DM. (Degenerative Myelopathy) It's a common issue in our breed unfortunately. Vet would be my first stop to finding out.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It could be that. It could also be nerve damage from arthritis on the spine. By 13 a lot of things can start acting up. That is an honorable age. Definitely a vet trip and there is a genetic test for DM [there is some concern it may not be testing the exact right gene but it seems to be hitting the mark for the most part-so there may be other factors complicating the diagnosis]

Knuckling or dragging those hind paws a bit is one of the first signs. When you go for a walk do you hear his toes ocassionaly scrape?

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Old 02-19-2013, 08:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Agreed -- it sounds like he's knuckling under -- a classic DM sign. AWMP, when he's standing with his feet in a normal position, if you lift one back foot, and flip it over and set it down so that the top of the foot is on the floor, does he leave it like that for a bit before correcting it to put the pad down on the floor? A delay righting the foot is another possible (but not definitive) DM signal--they're supposed to have a reflex to right it instantly. I hope that's not what it is! **hugs**
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Sorry I can't post a picture.

Good info below and I will try.

I have been scanning and searching the internet and DM looks like a possibility.

Knuckling under does sound like a good explanation.

This dog means a lot and I'm sure you understand since your in this forum.

But this dog is even more of a value to me. I'm an MP in the U.S. Army and he was my Company Mascot when I was a MP Commander during 911 overseas. After I finished my command I brought the dog home with me to the states. We had a contest in my unit to name the dog, the Soldiers came up with the name "Ruger".

I'm calling the Vet early in the morning and see what they say.

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Agreed -- it sounds like he's knuckling under -- a classic DM sign. AWMP, when he's standing with his feet in a normal position, if you lift one back foot, and flip it over and set it down so that the top of the foot is on the floor, does he leave it like that for a bit before correcting it to put the pad down on the floor? A delay righting the foot is another possible (but not definitive) DM signal--they're supposed to have a reflex to right it instantly. I hope that's not what it is! **hugs**
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You can get him to wear booties to help with the alignment of the foot.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Other problems besides DM can cause a dog to knuckle under. Have you taken him to a vet? I know if it's something like Cauda Equina, giving him Tramadol and maybe something to reduce imflamation can help.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It's called knuckling. Although DM can be a cause, and certainly in an older german shepherd, really it could be ANYTHING. Knuckling is a very common early sign of neurological deficit. Either compression of the nerves - back or rear end pain. Neurological problems starting in the brain - tumor, etc... - disease affecting the nervous system. Definitely vet time, I wish you luck with everything!
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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You are correct, it was neurological. Nerve compression near the rear spin area due to old age.

We spent several hours at the Vet (U.S.Army), x rays, etc. Nothing can be done.

It all started within one day, we were told it is just a matter of time, not what we really wanted to hear.


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Originally Posted by Anubis_Star View Post
It's called knuckling. Although DM can be a cause, and certainly in an older german shepherd, really it could be ANYTHING. Knuckling is a very common early sign of neurological deficit. Either compression of the nerves - back or rear end pain. Neurological problems starting in the brain - tumor, etc... - disease affecting the nervous system. Definitely vet time, I wish you luck with everything!
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