Dog drags its hind paw: causes and treatment

Violation of motor function, in which the dog drags its hind paw or both at once, is quite common. This is due to the fact that the causes of such a pathology are very diverse and can be associated with diseases not only of the musculoskeletal system, but also of some other internal systems. In most cases, the problem indicates only minor damage to the pelvis and extremities, but can also be a consequence of serious pathological processes in the body.

The reasons

If a dog drags its paws, then most often it is associated with such problems:

  • injuries of various origins, including bone fractures, sprains or ruptures of tendons, damage to nerve fibers;
  • joint diseases;
  • the appearance of tumors or inflammation.

These pathologies are determined by very pronounced symptoms, therefore, they are quickly and easily diagnosed. If there are no such violations, then the most likely causes may be more serious, including:

  • intervertebral hernia and discopathy (various degenerative changes in the disc, including with damage to the spinal cord);
  • inflammation of muscle tissue (myositis), which develops due to excessive physical activity, primarily in older animals;
  • vascular diseases, including impaired brain function, especially in older dogs;
  • valgus (curvature) of the femur or tibia, which does not allow the dog to move normally (most often caused by an excess of protein and carbohydrates in the diet, leading to accelerated growth or excessive weight gain, in which the limb bones are deformed from increased load);
  • osteochondrosis, developing due to a hereditary tendency or a high content of calcium and phosphorus in the diet;
  • diseases of the hip joints due to genetics, infections or injuries that are most characteristic of puppies of large-breed overweight dogs, especially under improper conditions (for example, a slippery coating on which paws constantly move apart).

Excessive training, giving a regular increased load on the joints, is also harmful to pets. At risk are both puppies with a weak musculoskeletal system, and elderly or weakened animals. If the dog drags its hind legs, the reasons can be associated with severe pain in the abdominal cavity due to diseases of the internal organs, as well as with the general weakness of the animal due to the presence of chronic diseases, poor nutrition, old age and many other negative factors.


Weakness of the hind legs in a dog can be manifested by the following symptoms:

  • the animal almost does not change body position, hunches over, stretches its neck, trembles, breathes heavily or unevenly, is unable to bend to a bowl with food and generally does not live a full life - these are signs of a pronounced pain syndrome caused by damage to the intervertebral discs and compression of the spinal cord;
  • the dog drags its paw only after sleep or prolonged lying, and then “paces” and starts to walk normally - this is a symptomatology of problems with one of the hip joints;
  • the pet moves on all paws, while the hind legs do not bend, and the gait resembles walking on stilts, which is most often associated with myositis.

It should be borne in mind that the symptoms of all these and any other health disorders are often manifested individually - depending on the characteristics and general condition of the animal. Therefore, a veterinarian should diagnose the cause, even if it has pronounced signs.


What to treat and what to do if the dog drags its hind legs should only be determined by a specialist after performing diagnostic measures. Each pathology can have complications, without the elimination of which it will not be possible to completely remove the weakness of the hind legs in a pet.

If such violations are detected, you should immediately contact a veterinary clinic, after analyzing the probable cause of their development:

  • the presence of injuries or diseases;
  • poor heredity;
  • unsuitable conditions of detention;
  • increased physical activity;
  • diet, including names and composition of feed.

Without this information, the diagnosis of the causes of pathological changes is sometimes difficult. In addition, in the early stages, many of them are eliminated only by correction of nutrition, but always on the recommendation of a veterinarian. In more complex cases, the necessary set of diagnostic measures is performed to identify the causes of the disease.


The treatment options can be very diverse, since treatment should primarily be aimed at eliminating the root cause of limb weakness in the animal. Therefore, emphasis is placed on the mandatory appeal to a specialist. In addition, it is extremely important to eliminate the provoking factors, if any. Most often, for this purpose, a minimum of measures should be taken:

  • establish nutrition;
  • normalize living conditions;
  • reduce physical activity.

The correct and timely treatment of hind limb weakness in dogs in most cases is the only guarantee that the pet will be saved. Such a pathology is often the result of more serious internal lesions, without the professional identification of which the animal may not survive. Therefore, for the diagnosis, prescription and implementation of therapeutic measures, it is extremely important to immediately contact a veterinary clinic. If this process is associated with any difficulties, for example, when a too large dog drags its hind paw, in Moscow and other big cities there is always the opportunity to call a veterinarian at home.

Self-medication with even the most effective "human" drugs is absolutely unacceptable, especially with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin, Indomethacin, Diclofenac and the like, which are common among dog breeders. The popularity of these drugs is due to the fact that after taking dogs, the clinical picture really improves. But these improvements are temporary and do not remove the underlying disease, but only eliminate its external manifestations. In addition, active substances intended for humans provoke the development of serious side effects in animals, in particular, perforation of the walls of the stomach and internal bleeding.


Subject to all these recommendations, the prognosis in most cases is favorable. But it should be borne in mind that even timely diagnosis and proper treatment is not a guarantee of complete recovery if the dog falls on its hind legs due to serious damage to the spine or irreversible changes in internal organs.

It is important to recognize the probable seriousness of the problem and take immediate action at the first sign. In addition, it is necessary to provide the pet with the correct conditions of detention, a balanced diet and adequate physical activity, as well as carefully monitor his well-being and timely respond to the slightest deterioration.

Watch the video: How to Care for a Dog with Degenerative Myelopathy (April 2020).