Recently, I ran across a post on this question on At Scout’s House: A Blog About Special Needs Dogs and Cats. Scout’s House is a physical rehabilitation therapy center for animals in Menlo Park, CA.
The answer just seems like common sense when you’re considering the question during the course of an average day. But for caregivers of senior and/or special needs dogs sometimes average or “normal” days are few and far between. When your senior dog is dealing with multiple health issues it can be difficult to clearly see the bigger picture—or recognize its timeframe.
The message of the post, “What To Do When Your Pet Suddenly Can’t Walk,” is don’t mess with sudden loss of mobility. The post is short so here it is in its entirety:
“Having started a rehab therapy center for animals, I often get calls from friends–and friends of friends–about sudden-onset health problems their pets are having. In the last month, though, I’ve had a run on those calls, all from people whose dogs suddenly couldn’t stand or walk. They all wanted to know what to do. And to be honest, I want to scream into the receiver: TAKE YOUR DOG TO THE VETERINARIAN!
If your spouse or parent or child suddenly couldn’t walk, what would you do? Would you call a friend to ask what she or he thinks you should do? Would you just “wait and see” because maybe it’ll get better on its own? No, I don’t think you would. I think, at the very least, you’d call a doctor, who would probably tell you to call 911 as it would clearly be a medical emergency.
Likewise, it is a medical emergency when your dog or cat suddenly can’t stand or walk.
There are any number of reasons for sudden paralysis in pets, but I’m here to tell you, none of them are good. And for most of those issues, time is critical. If it’s a disk rupture, for example, you have a 24-hour window to have a surgery performed that may give your pet a chance to walk again. And if it’s a saddle thrombus, your pet is in excruciating pain and needs to be treated immediately.
So if your dog or cat suddenly can’t walk or use even just one of his or her legs, please call your veterinarian immediately. I guarantee you, it will save you money, time, and heartache in the long run.”
… Over at The Bark Magazine’s site tomorrow from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. PT Dr. Nancy Kay will be the guest for “Off Leash,” the magazine’s online weekly conversation “when Bark readers chat in real-time about whatever is on their minds with each other and Bark writers and editors.” The chat is a great opportunity to send a question to Dr. Kay, who often addresses older dog issues on her Speaking for Spot’s Blog. Find the “Off Leash” details here or here.