The dog's hind legs are taken away: reasons


2022-01-05 16:54:12




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Owners often turn to the veterinary clinic, complaining that the dog's hind legs are taken away. Each of them describes the symptoms in his own way: the pet limps, hunches his back, drags his paws, he has paralysis.


There is no single reason that can cause such symptoms. Veterinary medicine of dogs indicates that the first step in treatment should be a qualified diagnosis. To know how to treat, you need to know what to treat. And there's no way you can do without going to the vet.

Individual pathologies, when the hind legs are taken away from the dog, include age and breed predisposition. So, pugs, poodles, English and French bulldogs, dachshunds and Pekingese have a predisposition to destruction or displacement of intervertebral discs (herniated discs).


This pathology is quite serious and can pose a threat to the life of a pet. Shifting, the disc compresses the spinal cord. Externally, this will be manifested by periodic bouts of severe pain: the pet freezes in one position (usually with a hunched back and an elongated neck), shortness of breath appears, strong trembling, the hind legs weaken and give way.

The reasons why dachshunds have a decrease in the strength of the intervertebral disc, scientists have not fully identified. A genetic predisposition has been established in some dog breeding lines. Due to the mutual pressure of the vertebrae on each other, the gelatinous pulpous nucleus moves into the thickness of the fibrous ring and subsequently leaves its limits, entering the perinvertebral space. The fibrous ring has the least strength from the side of the passing spinal canal, and therefore parts of the destroyed disk usually shift in this direction. This causes compression of the spinal cord lying here, as well as its nerves.

If the compression of the spinal cord is not so pronounced, then clinically it will manifest itself only in this way - the dog's hind legs have failed. The pet drags them, tries to transfer the weight of the body to the forelimbs. He tries to jump on a chair (sofa, armchair), but he does not succeed. I can't bend down to the floor, the bowl. If there is a suspicion of discopathy, it is required to go for a qualified diagnosis and prepare for treatment, up to surgical intervention. Compression of the spinal cord can cause irreversible changes in the body when therapeutic measures will simply be ineffective.


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Pets of giant and large breeds (Labrador, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, Great Dane, St. Bernard, German Shepherds 4-12 months old) also have their own predispositions to the disease when the dog's hind legs failed. This is a lesion of the hip joints (dysplasia). Many things can affect the occurrence of this pathology: heredity, slippery sex, overweight puppy, unbalanced diet, etc.

Causes of dysplasia

Many scientific debates have been held about the causality of this disease. And so far, two theories have been formed about the heredity of this pathology and the mechanism of inheritance.

Many geneticists advocate the theory of additive inheritance. That is, the disease develops due to the action of genes that are involved in the final formation of the hip joint.

The second theory is based on the premise that these same genes influence each other, and their interaction is combined in different ways. This means that the defect has a much more complex hereditary character than is shown by the first theory.

There is a third theory in the world of geneticists. It combines the first two. According to it, the action of the genes responsible for the creation of joints can be summed up, and individual genetic pairs affect each other in different ways.

The general conclusion of experts: the disease is a classic example of a quantitative trait, which is influenced by many genes (polygeny), and in this case many environmental factors have their effect on the final formation and manifestation of signs. Not all animals have a clinical manifestation of dysplasia, when the hind legs are taken away from the dog. But this does not mean that a pet that falls into the risk group is not susceptible to this pathology if there are no pronounced symptoms. When choosing a partner for mating, you should study the pedigree for the presence of ancestors with dysplasia. It should be noted that the disease can be transmitted to descendants through fourteen generations.

The Swedish veterinary medicine of dogs has unequivocally proved that dysplasia is related to heredity and is inherent in certain breeds. And if the breed is characterized by a powerful physique and a large mass, then the probability of the disease is very high. The hip joint of a dog carries a huge load. It gives the trunk a pushing force from the hind limbs when moving. And during this push, the joint stretches out and runs the head of the hip along the entire acetabulum. A particularly large friction occurs in the joint when the animal, standing on its hind legs, jumps or walks.

If the hip joints are affected, the weakness of the hind legs will manifest itself immediately after a period of rest (during morning ascent) and decrease with physical exertion. Also, this defeat is rarely symmetrical, the dog will begin to "fall" only on one paw.


In middle-aged dogs, after too much physical exertion, muscle inflammation – myositis - may develop the next day. As a result of overstrain, tearing, rupture, loosening of muscle fibers and hemorrhage into the thickness of the muscles can occur. Due to the damage, traumatic edema develops, and with a significant rupture of muscle fibers, a scar forms, and the muscle shortens. This leads to myogenic contracture of the corresponding joint. If pathogenic microflora gets into the affected muscle, purulent myositis will develop.

One of the symptoms of this disease will be a "stilted gait" or weakness of the hind limbs, the dog limps on the hind leg. Treatment of dogs with such a disease will not cause great difficulties, but only a veterinarian can distinguish myositis from other diseases.


Another disease, because of which the pet may have problems with the hind legs. The main reason is a violation of the mineralization of cartilage. It is typical for puppies of large breeds. Osteochondrosis is a multifactorial disease. Feeding and genetics play key roles. Cartilage stratification in this pathology is more often observed in joints exposed to the greatest load (hip). The result will be the appearance of lameness, the dog limps on the hind leg.


This pathology is often found among puppies of large breeds. And many owners consider injury to be the cause. The dog squeezes its hind leg, can't lean on it. It reacts painfully to touch. In most cases, the fracture occurs with minimal impact from the outside. This type of injury is called a pathological fracture and indicates a low mineralization of the skeleton. The reasons are low intake of calcium or vitamin D, high intake of phosphorus.

For recovery in this case, it is not enough to fix the fracture. The main thing is to prescribe the right diet. The best option is to use ready-made feeds balanced in phosphorus, calcium, vitamins D and A. An excess of these substances will delay bone healing.

Old age

An elderly dog falls on its hind legs? This may be due to a malfunction of the brain. According to the observations of veterinarians, this is most often due to various vascular problems, less often the reason is the presence of brain tumors. Competent treatment in this case can significantly improve the well-being of the pet and prolong his life for years.

What should be distinguished from

Kidney problems cannot be the reason why a dog's hind legs are taken away and a hunched body appears if the pet does not have an extreme degree of exhaustion with auto-intoxication. But in this case, the weakness will spread to the entire muscular apparatus.

What not to do

The most common mistake of owners in detecting weakness of the hind limbs is the independent treatment of dogs with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (diclofenac, indomethacin, aspirin, etc.). The clinical improvements observed by the owners after the use of these drugs are only temporary, but they hide the underlying disease well, which significantly complicates the correct diagnosis of the disease, because of which the hind legs are taken away from the dog. Also, medical anti-inflammatory drugs carry a number of serious side effects for pets, including ulcers on the walls of the stomach and bleeding in it.

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