Confusing symptoms in 13 yo GSD any thoughts?
Hello everyone. I was hoping to get some input on a problem I am having with my dog, Sherman.
First I have to say he is 13 years old, has canine hemophilia, arthritis, and five years ago was treated for two crushed discs in his back. When he had the episode with the bad discs, he started in the morning with a hunched walk and was completely paralyzed by the time I had driven him to a specialist 2 hours away. We received what was, in my opinion, very expensive and poor treatment, but long story short, after a blood transfusion, pain killers, steroids, and three months of nursing a dog who could not walk (and having to guess and hope I was doing the right things - no support from the specialist), he regained mobility but with significant degeneration of muscle in his rear legs.
Fast forward to now - he started "wobbling" about a month ago upon rising and after too much activity. We assumed it was arthritis or hip dysplasia and increased his supplements, but then he had a very bad day three days ago of falling down and not being able to use his rear legs - toes curled under and dragging, muscle tremors, weakness, and signs of distress. We planned to go to the vet the following day, but when we got up the next day he was 95% better, walking fine and just seemed a little stiff when rising. So we waited on the vet (we are still paying on the $8000 dollars from the visit to the specialist, I am out of work and we are living paycheck to paycheck).
Yesterday he was even worse than the first day, having to be helped up to go outside, weak legs, only able to walk short distances (much to his annoyance). He doesn't show a lot of pain, but he has never been a whiney dog, and the panting seems to be part of his frustration more than anything. When he is in the midst of falling down and trying to drag himself (which we won't let him do - dragging and blood disorders don't mix) his feet curl under and will not return unless placed upright, but if you can get him on his feet and balanced, he can walk short distances, squat to urinate and deficate, etc. but he does "sway" as he goes like I have seen in dogs with dysplasia. If you pinch his toes while he is resting/not looking, he knows exactly which foot you are touching and he will give you a dirty "what did you do that for?" look and rapidly pulls his foot away and kicks at you with it.
Today he seems worn out, not trying to move unless made to. It is a holiday, so no vets open where I live, not that they can help much anyway. Any thoughts from experienced GSD people as what this might be? I was sure it was the bad back again (they were supposed to fuse the spine five years ago but decided not to), but the day of being o.k. has me confused. Eating, drinking, urination, etc. all seem fine so far. Sorry this is so long, thanks for reading and thanks to all who reply!