Leg Problems In Jack Russell
by Mark Hegedic
Reader Question: Jack Russell Hind Leg Problems
My jack Russell is five years old. It has never had a health issue. It is female. She has always been physically strong. Today however, she suddenly broke down in the hind leg area. First, her right hind leg was collapsing and was being supported by the left hind leg. As the evening has progressed, both hind legs have given way.
She virtually cannot lift herself off the ground and when she does, she staggers and falls. She does not appear to be in pain, just stressed and anxious. Her tail still wags and her appetite is as good as always. She continually raises her head toward the sky, unorthodox for her. All this has happened in a mere 3-4 hours...very sudden. Can you give advice.
Thank you and regards Mark.
Mark HegedicVet's Advice Regarding Jack Russel Leg Problem
I can’t say exactly what might be going on with your dog without first examining her, but I can give you an idea of what my top rule outs would be under these circumstances. I am most concerned about a neurological problem affecting a part of her spinal cord. Intervertebral disk disease is a possibility. So is a fibrocartilagenous infarct, a blood clot, or a tumor affecting the spinal cord? Infections in the vertebrae that surround the spinal cord can also produce similar clinical signs as can injuries to the area. I also can’t rule out heart failure or other causes of extreme weakness based on your description.
If your dog were my patient, I would start by performing a complete physical and neurologic exam followed by X-rays of the relevant area of the back if I confirmed that a problem with the spine was a likely culprit. Some of the problems that I mentioned can quickly worsen without appropriate treatment, so I recommend you bring her in to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Jennifer Coates, DVM