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Progressive weakness in hind legs 8 year old Jack Russell

by pat

About 2 months ago our female 8 year old JRT became lethargic, weak and unable to jump into car or run up steps. Multiple vet visits haven't identified cause of problem; negative blood work, ruled out Lyme disease, X-rays of spine and hips were normal ( no arthritis). This is progressively getting worse to the point now that she has difficulty just turning over on her back and it is a struggle for her to get up. Her hind legs tremor when on her back. Once outside, she walks very slowly until she gets warmed up so to speak, then she trots along fine. In the house she just sleeps. She doesn't seem to be in pain, but maybe she is a stoic little girl or we atre't picking up on the signs. She is slightly overweight and needs exercise, but hard to know how much to push or if we should. Advice please.

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Apr 27, 2015
Jack Russell Hind leg weakness resolved
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your advice. I am happy to report that whatever was wrong has gradually resolved on its own. We had been to 3 different vets, X-rays, blood tests - no one could see cause. We think that she must have landed wrong when jumping off of sofa or our bed and it took time to heal. She can now do everything she did before and seems fine. It's difficult to know how far to go medically for a definitive diagnosis, but as with people, just giving the body time to heal is often the hardest thing to do....we want to "fix" the problem yesterday. We are so glad to have Chelsea back to her "normal"self. Thanks to all who responded.

Apr 26, 2015
Jack Russell with hind leg weakness
by: Sam

So sorry that your family and your Jack are going through this! Did your vet mention Degenerative myelopathy? It's a gene mutation that Jack's can carry and it causes issues with the hind legs.

If your Jack doesn't seem to be in any pain, then I would definitely take her for walks. Swimming is great as well especially since the stress is taken off the joints.

Maybe try seeking a different vet to see if you can get answers.

See about switching to a senior dog food - go for organic grain free - because senior dog food is higher in protein and also contains ingredients that are "joint friendly".

Try a Kong filled with peanut butter and biscuits to keep her occupied and alert while in the house.

I hope you get to the bottom of this soon and your Jack is soon on the way to healing!

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