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Thread: Mysterious hip/tail problems in young/middle aged cocker spaniel.

  1. #1

    Mysterious hip/tail problems in young/middle aged cocker spaniel.


    I have a 4 1/2 year old working cocker with a legally docked tail, over the last week he has had a problem with his backend.

    At the start he was not really wanting to walk and you could see he was in pain, it has gotten better then three days later back to as bad as before(this happened twice back to back)

    So yesterday he was taken to the vet to find out what was the problem. The vet has told me that there is absolutely no skeletal issue with his hips ( no dysplasia, one of the best hips he has seen) or with his upper back, knees or shoulders but at the base of his tail( where it joins to his hips) there is a small area that he was unsure of, it looked like the tail had dropped below the line of his spine then back up. This area was not easy to see due to the hips blocking the view.

    The dog is moving well and can run about quite happy on level ground but if he is asked to go up or down steps he is in a lot of pain. Same if you try and lift him.

    This morning he is in a much better mood, I watched him running about for 20 mins and noticed that there seems to be little or no movement in his tail today, he was trying to go to the toilet but his tail was not moving out of the way, I didn't see if he was successful has he disappeared behind the shed. I also noticed from the first time last night that he was dripping pee, I assumed it may be for the anesthetic he was giving for the x-rays.

    I know we have a number of vets on here, does anyone have any idea? The x-rays have been sent to a specialist for there opinion.

    Could it be a broken/dislocated tail?

    Thanks for your help

    "Amazing things can happen when preparation meet opportunity" Richard Schatz

    "The will to win, compares little with the will to prepare to win" Donovan Moran

  2. #2
    Tail fracture is a possibility, but I'd want to rule out spinal problems. Dripping pee is not a normal effect of anaesthesia, so I'll add prostate infection to my list of problems along with anal sac abscess. Sorry, it's one of those "I'd have to see him" ones. Good luck and speedy recovery

  3. #3

    He had bloods taken yesterday, waiting for the results.

    He had z rays the full the length of his spine and he has no tenderness in that area.

    "Amazing things can happen when preparation meet opportunity" Richard Schatz

    "The will to win, compares little with the will to prepare to win" Donovan Moran

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Buchan View Post
    Sorry, it's one of those "I'd have to see him" ones.
    Agreed. I'd want to get this over to a specialist ASAP, especially given a progressive nature. How far are you from Kendal...............

    Section 161 of the Highways Act 1980 (England & Wales) makes it an offence to discharge a firearm within 50 ft of the centre of a highway with vehicular rights without lawful authority or excuse, if as a result a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered.

  5. #5
    Find a grey hound osteopath if its a trapped nerve or a muscle in spasm most vets won't spot it I had a spaniel that acted like you describe he had jarred his back jumping a ditch I think vets could see nothing wrong grey hound guy spotted it straight away must be one near you

  6. #6
    Just my 2p for what its worth.....

    A lot of the symptoms you describe (reluctance to exercise, reluctance to jump, urinary or faecal incontinence) could (amongst other things) be associated with disease of the cauda equina (nerve roots) between L6 and S1. Symptoms are not however specific for the condition, but depend on the location. Therefore a slipped disc in this location can look the same as an infection e.g. discospondylitis, inflammatory diseases like steroid responsive meningitis/arteritis or a host of other conditions. As signs progress you commonly get scuffing of the claws as the sciatic nerve roots become affected. Most commonly this manifests on examination as reduced hock flexion. When you look from the side is his lower back hunched slightly? most dogs with lumbosacral pain will adopt this sort of posture though it is sometimes subtle as it is more comfortable. Their reluctance to climb stairs or to jump is to stop them adopting the painful dipped back posture. If you push down on the lower back immediatley in front of the pelvis whilst simultaneously pulling up between the hind legs (to tip the front of the pelvis down) then you will typically get a reaction from a dog with lumbar pain.

    Xrays can rule out certain conditions but will miss a lot more... Unfortunately, to assess the spine, (paticularly the lumbosacral spine) you need to use more advanced imaging techniques like CT or MRI

    If you want to see a properly qualified physiotherapist choose one who is registered with ACPAT. Dont bother with an osteopath or poorly qualified physio until you know whats going on for certain, almost every time they will say there is a muscle imbalance or the pelvis has twisted or other such tosh, but they miss the more significant underlying problem that causes it to be so. Thats why their treatments frequently last for a few weeks before the symptoms come back. The best course of action is to find out what is wrong by careful neurological assessment and advanced imaging before choosing what specific treatment is most appropriate.

    Sorry if this comes across as a rant...not feeling subtle tonight!!

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