Possible back or lower muscle injury? Need some direction.

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Pet me....Now...
Barked: Wed Jul 7, '10 4:29pm PST 
My four year old mini schnauzer just got a clean bill of health just a mere three weeks during his annual checkup and I couldn't have been happier.

When I left for work yesterday, Frankie, was 100% perfect from what I could tell and no behavior yellow flags. However, when I got home last night, I noted that Frankie attempted to jump up on the couch (as he's done 100's of times before) and missed, as if his hind legs gave out or had no power behind them. My daughter who stayed home yesterday said he's made a few attempts and they didn't work out so good. (Now I feel horrible for think this way....but sometimes she plays a littel rough with him, and sadly, the first thing that popped in my head was she knows more than she's letting on because she's afraid she may be in trouble).

I took Frankie for a walk, and he seemed fine on even/flat surfaces. Although he wasn't racing ahead, he also wasn't limping or acting lethargic at all. Frankie is not limping or favoring any leg.

When we got home from our walk, his appetite was normal, but we did notice again he didn't want to jump on the couch. It's as if he got up to it, thought about it, and stopped. He allowed me to pick him up and place him on the couch. At this point I examined him as best I could. No observable cuts or injuries.

I felt each leg independantly, squeezing each gently starting from the paw, up the lower leg, knee, and thigh. Frankie did not wince, yelp, or flich once.

I rand my hands down both sides, underbelly, back and could not feel anything different, and again, he did not flinch.

However, upon going to bed on our second floor, we noted he struggled to climb the stairs. Doing only a few at a time and seemingly resting a few times as if it were harder than normal. Of course I am puzzled and very concerned. I picked him up and put him to bed where he slep all night.

This morning, I lifted him out of bed and placed him on the ground and he did fine going DOWN the stairs. But a quick test on my part revealed he struggled once again to get back up. It's as if he lost the strength of 'push' in his hind legs on going up or jumping.

He ate his breakfast just fine, went outside to do his business and came back in. I watched him and could not detect any limp or favortism to any one leg.

He's been resting again today and my wife came home early from work and 'felt' him all over again and did not discover anything either, but said he will not jump on the couch, but he clearly wants to be up there and next to her.

I spoke with the vet today and said he possibly injured his back, but won't know unless he gets an Xray. Of course, I will do anything and everything I can for my 4 year old boy. It's only been 24 hours, and I'm scratching my head. I don't want to be premature in case it's just a sprained or inflamed muscle that a day or two of rest wont fix. Of course I don't want him in pain or make the injury worse, but he's clearly not himself, but also doesn't appear to be in pain.

I will most likely take him in by Friday, allowing for one more day of our combined observations.

Anyone else have some insight?

little- dog big- life
Barked: Wed Jul 7, '10 4:39pm PST 
i would definitely rule out the stairs and jumping up or down on the couch until things go back to normal. you could have sprained a muscle or pinched a nerve.
i have a homemade ramp for the couch and i love it so much, i race up and down. jumping up and down is hard on your back.
dodgerslist (click to link) is the ultimate source of info for any back troubles and treatments and can put your mind at ease.
i hope you feel better soon. hug

Edited by author Wed Jul 7, '10 4:42pm PST


Leader of the- Dog Gestapo
Barked: Wed Jul 7, '10 8:54pm PST 
I would say that there's probably something wrong with his spine - probably (as was suggested previously) a pinched nerve. He may have been playing (possibly with your daughter) and twisted or moved wrong and something shifted. Sometimes doggies are a little too daring for their own good smile

We've had a few simple back injuries in my house; you can't really avoid it with the way my guys wrestle. A minor pinched nerve will usually fix itself, but it has the possibility of being something more serious, like a slipped disc. If the weakness doesn't resolve in another 24 hours, I would schedule an appointment and get x-rays done. You can help healing by trying to keep the pup from jumping or using the stairs and limiting any hard exercise. Hope all goes well!


Pet me....Now...
Barked: Thu Jul 8, '10 8:43am PST 
Thank you both for your responses so far.

The good news is that Frankie seems to be improving. When I got home from work last night I took him for a small walk, and he seemed pretty good. He's usually a little bit of a puller, and while he was pulling last night, it was at about 85-90% of his normal effort. I allowed him to walk in front of me the whole time so I could observe his walk. Looked pretty normal.

When we got back from our walk and I took his leash off, he made a dash for the couch before I could stop him and he jumped up okay.

The rest of the night I more or less carried him up and down the stairs and helped him on and off the bed and couch.

That being said, one time last night he did beat me to the stairs and he was able to climb them pretty good. Not 100% as normal, but again much better than the day before. Again, maybe 85% where as the day before I would have given him a 50%.

My father volunteered to go to my house today in the afternoon to check on him and also take him for a limited walk and he's supposed to call me afterwards to report. Depending on how Frankie acts this evening will determine if I take him for X-rays tomorrow.

I am taking this seriously, and am just praying it's a pinched nerve or a muscle strain that these 2 days of rest is helping to correct.

little- dog big- life
Barked: Thu Jul 8, '10 10:49am PST 
great to hear you are improving! happy dance
back injuries can happen with just a little twist in the wrong direction, so you don't have to suspect overly rough play. i've heard stories about doxies running along in joy and then suddenly, they yip with pain, something wrong. frown
from our family's limited experience with skeletal problems, we had 2 xrays done for a chronic problem (my angel sis) and the images were not helpful in pinpointing the issues..we were told an MRI was the only way to 'see'.. so it was more or less money down the drain.
you could ask your vet about that should it be necessary, just thought i'd mention our experience.
definitely keep taking it easy until you're back 100 pawcent! hug
POTP Frankie!
btw: staying fit and proper weight is the best way to avoid back troubles! i hate that because i would love to eat double my present diet. confused
you look ready for the olympics Frankie..very buff! way to go