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Dog losing control of back legs

SarahC

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Jul 24, 2021
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Hi. About a month ago my 13 yr old terrier mixed breed dog began losing control of his back legs. He also sways somewhat when just standing and acts somewhat confused. After eating a raw diet for over half his life he will now only eat boiled chicken and an occasional carrot. The onset of these symptoms was about 1-2 weeks after getting a rabies booster and 1 dose of Heartgard that I was talked into after moving to a more rural area in CT, he hasn't been on this or tick meds in years. I do not know if these symptoms are caused by the vaccine and meds but I figured I would be brushed off at the conventional vet and wanted another opinion on what to do. If this is connected are there options for testing/healing, or should he be tested for something completely different?
 

Dr. Jeff

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Hi Sarah, welcome to HA! and thanks for making your first post.

I'm sorry to hear about your pup's leg weakness and decreased appetite and BEAM. :confused:

It would be great to get more context (see the posting guide above) but this is a super important topic so I'd like to reply in broader terms even before you share more info (if you're comfortable doing so that is).

Even before getting into his specific symptoms (which we know are manifestations of a physiologic imbalance) I'd like to suggest a reason that this imbalance occurred in the first place, and a strategy that can help any imbalance.

A good way to start is by our looking at the most fundamental "job" of the body which is to maintain homeostasis (balance).

This balance is reflected by the freedom, flexibility and quality of life that his health enables. We see it every day through symptoms like BEAM (Behavior, Energy, Appetite, Mood). Clinically, BEAM is a super sensitive way to see this balance.

In vet terms, this physiologic balance is called the dynamic equilibrium and the strategies you'll learn at HA! are all about how to optimize it:
IMAGE Dynamic-equilibrium-balance-2021.jpg
All of this really just a way to say that yes, the stressors of the rabies booster (and less so) the Heartgard could very well have triggered the imbalance that you're seeing through his symptoms of leg weakness and decreased appetite.

However, and this a huge distinction, they did NOT cause his symptoms. They were just proverbial straws that "broke the camels back" and set him into abnormal symptom land.

As far as which diagnostic tests to run, that depends on how much you want to investigate. IMHO, the better characterized his dis-ease imbalance, and more data we have, the better.

The good news is that the strategies that improve cellular and physiologic function by raising dynamic energy will work regardless of data or diagnosis.

Perhaps start today by implementing the Happiness Protocol:


Here's an example of it's use with a pup and extreme leg weakness:


I look forward to hearing more about your pup later.
 

Dr. Christina

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Jun 15, 2017
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622
Sarah,
good for you to notice the connection to the Rabies and Heartgard. I usually do not see a lot of problems from the Heartgard (compared to fleas a tick meds) but over the 40 years of being a homeopathic vet I have definitely seen a lot of illness, especially neurological, triggered by the legally required Rabies vaccine.
Yes, the conventional vet would probably not see the connection and yes, there are multiple holistic approaches that can have a good chance of resolving his issues. There are many, as Dr. Jeff posted for you, that can be done at home.

To get the fastest and deepest response, especially at this age and with these symptoms, I would recommend a great TCVM (chinese medicine) vet or a homeopathic veterinarian. Since you live in CT and are a full access member, you can become a client of Dr. Jeff. Go to Homevet.com. There are others we can recommend, as well.

Dr. Christina
 

SarahC

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Jul 24, 2021
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Thank you Dr. Jeff and Dr. Christina for your responses. To give more context to the issue here are more details: Dante is our approximately 13yr old mixed breed terrier. He is neutered and was a shelter dog who was placed and then returned to the shelter after nipping the previous adopter. I'm not sure what that first year was like for him but when we did adopt him he was infested with fleas and had kennel cough so there were definitely some rough times. We assume he had gotten puppy vaccines and then possibly more vaccines through the shelter system. We also continued some vaccines (lyme, bordetella, DHPP) till around 2012 where we switched only to the required 3yr rabies booster.

He weighs about 25 lbs, all white short hair fur. I would say he tends on the side of a fearful dog, he has been this way since we adopted him. He is very loving with people he knows though, sometimes we say he is like a cat because he will hop right onto your lap and curl up there to be pet. He is typically energetic and runs a lot, although has slowed a bit in the last couple of years and currently is very slow, sleeping a lot, moving slowly. Over the past year his cataracts and hearing have declined. He typically barks at all kinds of sounds but now he has trouble hearing them so he barks considerably less. He always had a good appetite although has always been a little pickier than my other dog. Has been happily fed a mostly raw diet for years but over the past year or so will occasionally skip a meal here and there. We did end up adding a little bit of grain-free dry food because he would have runny stools on completely raw and this move countered that although a lot of times he would leave the dry food and only eat the raw. In the past he would guard his food from other dogs so I have always fed him separately. Now he is still eating at roughly the same intervals and quantity but will only eat boiled chicken and a milk thistle liver support supplement.

His back leg symptoms seem to be a little worse on days we have thunderstorms, upon waking in the morning and the evening. His general equilibrium is off which manifests as swaying sometimes while standing or having to do and extra turn or to to make a doorway or avoid an obstacle. He seems to have more than usual runny eyes. Yesterday and this morning he had pee accidents in the house. We do not have any diagnostics as of now but are open to getting them, at his wellness visit a month ago the vet was surprised that he was 13 due to his energy and spry activity at the visit. No abnormalities were noted except for a small fatty tumor on his abdomen that has been there for at least 5 years with no change in size.

Thank you,
Sarah
 

SarahC

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Jul 24, 2021
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Hi again, since I last wrote my dog Dante has been eating less, mostly turning his nose up at the boiled chicken, chicken broth, rice, egg, vegetables and beef with mixed organs. Yesterday he hardly ate at all and today he ate a few bites of chicken dipped in egg yolk and a couple of slices of chorizo that I was eating. I have an appointment with Dr. Jeff on the 18th but until then I was hoping someone could recommend something or someway to get him to eat more. He seems interested in eating in the sense that he always gets up to see what is in his bowl and will come and circle 4 or 5 times to recheck what is in there if he didn't approve the first time. Often I have to hand feed before he will take more bites on his own. The control of his legs is better when he eats and when he doesn't he is very wobbly, swaying when he stands and bumping into things when he moves around the house.

Thank you,
Sarah
 

Dr. Jeff

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Hey Sarah-

I'm so sorry to hear that Dante's BEAM is way down and abnormal symptoms (wobbliness, pickiness, etc.) are up.

As his BEAM improves, his symptoms should reduce.

This forum thread contains a dramatic example that may be especially pertinent:


Let's therefore see if we can perk him up even before we get together. This will "prime" him for the individualized remedy he'll receive after our evaluation.

In the next week, try offering him raw (frozen and thawed) raw marrow bones with meat/grizzle on them (most butchers can get you these), other raw meaty bones, eggs (raw, lightly scramble, or however he likes it) to eat.

Just as important are finding high value treats he will eat. Raw-freeze-dried hearts, beef, liver, turkey, etc. usually works well. So can pure heart or liver.

Start trying to engage him in playing the hunt for treats game or using a snuffle mat. The former just involves throwing the broken up (tiny pieces) treat in the grass to help him connect, engage and be happy.

These three things are all known to increase longevity, physiology and quality of life in people. My clinical observation is that it does so in pets as well. It's actually much easier to get pets to do this because they don't have the same cognitive "baggage" as people.

Breathing and happiness seem to increase cellular function by increasing energy.

Dante's symptoms should reduce if we find something (like sniffing) which he loves to do. This is the basis of the Happiness Protocol which you can start today.


I look forward to seeing you next week!
 

SarahC

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Jul 24, 2021
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HI I have a follow-up question to our appointment. I had given Dante the dose of Lachesis after our appointment and you said if there were no changes to give again on Friday. What I am not sure about is he is refusing the freeze-dried food again now since giving the dose but this was something he was doing on and off before. Do we consider this a change or no change? Nothing else has really changed that I see.

I gave him another dose based on your email last night and now I am wondering how large of a change am I looking for before I stop giving a daily dose and does it matter if it is a positive or negative change? Thank you.
 

Dr. Jeff

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Sarah, thanks for the great question about when to redose a homeopathic remedy!

It will always depend on the specific situation and individual, but in general the medicine is given in order to initiate a healing response in the body.

You can see this by any big change (good or bad).

but this was something he was doing on and off before


Since you didn't see any significant shift in Dante's BEAM or other symptoms, the redose should help start that move towards healing.
 

SarahC

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Jul 24, 2021
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Hi! So about a week ago Dante had an extremely bad day where he slept the entire day, wouldn't eat, had to take water from my finger. I figured that change in Beam was enough to stop the Lachesis. Since then he has been eating a little more and definitely has more energy. I gave birth on Monday so my husband took over doing more of the care for Dante. During this whole week he has not been getting the Lachesis, do you think we should back to giving it?
 

Dr. Jeff

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Congratulations on your new baby Sarah!👼

Continuing to hold off on dosing is perfect.

How is Dante doing with the new family member?

Does he continue to slowly improve now that you've stopped dosing?
 

SarahC

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Jul 24, 2021
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Thank you very much!

Dante has not been very interested in the baby, he ignores the cries (which was quite the opposite from the birth of my first child where he barked for several days in a row upon her arrival). He cannot go up and down the steps so he is only upstairs with me and the baby at night, otherwise he is downstairs with the rest of the family.

I'm not sure if he is improving or just staying the same. He has refused food for the second day in a row now. He will have a couple of days where he will eat a little of one thing and then stop and not eat till we find something new he will accept. The only thing we could get him to eat a few days ago was turkey jerky, he would refuse all other foods tried, and we tried many. It feels like he is too dizzy to eat. He gets more and more unstable when he refuses the food so it doesn't look like there is improvement when he won't eat. When he eats he is more stable and he looks better for a period and then he refuses to eat again and becomes very unstable all over again. He has not been as bad as the day I stopped dosing though, that day was very scary and I was afraid we were going to lose him. So there is improvement from that day but not necessarily from the onset of symptoms. It seems more cyclic than an upward trajectory.
 

Dr. Jeff

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You're welcome Sarah!

Is there any activity that he seems to love and motivates him?

Whenever you're able, it would be great to do a virtual recheck or in person with your local vet.
 

SarahC

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Jul 24, 2021
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He loves hiking but it is a struggle for him to even go for a walk most days now, it breaks my heart. He always loved going in the car maybe we can try to motivate him with that. I wasn't driving there for a bit at the end of pregnancy/birth but I am coming back around to it now so I will try and see how he reacts to that activity. Also I'll setup a virtual recheck soon, thank you.
 

Dr. Jeff

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Yes, daily rides in the car (just before you feed him) would be perfect!👍

He also will need a virtual visit recheck whenever you're ready.
 

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