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Why Can’t My Elderly Dog Stand Using Her Back Legs? What Could Be Wrong?


Dear VetBabble: Why Can’t My Senior Dog Stand on Her Back Legs?

As pet parents, it can be completely distressing to see our fur babies struggle with some of the physical challenges of old age. One of our readers recently reached out to us with a problem: their 13-year-old dog is having trouble standing on her back legs and is walking on her knuckles. Of course, no veterinarian can make a precise diagnosis online – that’s a task for your local vet who knows your pet’s unique medical history and can perform a physical examination. However, we can certainly provide some advice and information to help you understand what may be happening.

Understanding Canine Arthritis

Our older buddies can experience wear and tear that produces conditions like arthritis. Arthritis can cause substantial discomfort and decrease your dog’s ability to move. You could have noticed symptoms in your dog, such as a peculiar way of walking or a reluctance to stand on her back legs. This condition is very prevalent in older dogs, much like humans, and can be managed with the right medications and therapies.

Learn more about Arthritis in Dogs.

Other Possible Causes: Old Dog Syndrome and Limping

Another potential problem could be a condition called ‘Old Dog Syndrome’ or Vestibular Disease. This condition affects balance and could potentially be the reason why your dog is walking oddly. A distinctive symptom along with stumbling or walking on knuckles is repeated eye flicking. It’s definitely worth consulting with your vet if you observe this kind of behaviour.

Read about Old Dog Syndrome: What is Vestibular Disease in Dogs?

Moreover, a seemingly simple reason why your dog may be having trouble standing on her back legs is limping. Common causes might be a hidden injury, paw damage, infection, or even more complex diseases. Once again, an examination from your trusted vet is crucial to pinpoint the cause.

Dive into the reasons Why Is My Dog Limping? When to Worry and What to Do.

Could Feline Friends Have Similar Issues?

While this parent’s concern was about their dog, cat owners should be aware that feline friends can experience similar issues. Cats can also suffer from arthritis, which negatively affects their mobility and comfort level. If your cat is showing signs of difficulty moving, particularly in the hind legs, it’s crucial to consult with your vet and explore appropriate treatments.

Learn about Arthritis in Cats.

In conclusion, if your pet is showing signs of mobility discomfort, don’t delay a call to your vet. They can perform the necessary examinations and treatments to help manage your pet’s health challenges and improve their comfort and overall quality of life. Remember, your pet trusts you to take care of them – just like they take care of you.

Your Friend,


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