Proprioceptive Deficits in Dogs

Proprioceptive Deficits in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
10 Veterinary Answers
Proprioceptive Deficits in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What are Proprioceptive Deficits?

If your dog is experiencing this condition he will be knuckling with his paws or dragging them instead of lifting and placing them properly. If you notice your dog doing this, you should bring him to your veterinarian. While it may not seem very serious, this action can actually be indicative of a more severe underlying issue. The sooner your dog gets a proper diagnosis, the sooner a treatment plan and therapy can be put into place.

If your dog is experiencing proprioceptive deficits it means he is not using or placing his paw as he should. This can be from an acute injury or chronic condition. If you notice your dog dragging his feet in an odd way, or if he sleeps with them in an abnormal position, take him to his veterinarian for evaluation.

Proprioceptive Deficits Average Cost

From 381 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,800

Symptoms of Proprioceptive Deficits in Dogs

Symptoms of deficits in proprioception can be subtle or very obvious. Symptoms may include:

  • Worn nails in an abnormal pattern from dragging the limb/paw
  • Staggering
  • Misplacement of the foot
  • Not realizing when his paw it placed on its dorsal surface instead of its ventral side ( its normal paw pad surface)
  • Odd postures when lying down or sleeping with legs in abnormal positioning

Types

Proprioception deficits can be acute or chronic. If your dog experiences some type of injury or trauma it can cause the proprioceptive deficit to appear suddenly. This is also known as acute onset. If your dog has a degenerative disk disease or other developing back condition, the symptom may appear subtly at first but then worsen as time progresses.

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Causes of Proprioceptive Deficits in Dogs

There are many causes that can lead to your dog developing proprioceptive deficits. Almost every type of back disease or condition can cause this issue. There is also injury, pinched nerves, and even something as simple as inflammation of specific muscles that can contribute.

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Diagnosis of Proprioceptive Deficits in Dogs

If you suspect your dog is having issues with his walk or feet, take him to see his veterinarian. She will begin by performing a physical exam in order to evaluate your dog as a whole. One of the typical tests veterinarians do as a part of their exam is testing his proprioception. Your dog will be standing on all four legs, she will take one paw, flip it so that his knuckles are down and see if he flips his paw back to its normal posture. A dog without a problem will flip its paw back immediately or will barely let you flip it in the first place. However, if your dog is experiencing deficits, he will take a few seconds before flipping it back over or he may not flip it back at all. This is what is known as delayed or lacking conscious proprioception. 

This will lead to further diagnostic testing in order to confirm her suspicions. The veterinarian may recommend radiographs. She will want to look at your canine’s knees, hips, and spine. Since proprioception deficits are usually due to a compromised nerve, she will be looking for the source. A radiograph will allow her to check for any pinched places or compressed spinal cord. 

If for some reason the radiograph does not show any obvious causes, the veterinary caregiver may take a thermal image of your pet. This is done through the use of a heat sensing camera that shows areas of inflammation and areas with poor circulation. It there is an area that is compressed, it will typically show more heat in the area due to inflammation. In the area behind or below the affected area may appear to be cooler due to lack of circulation and senses. 

The veterinarian may recommend you go to a specialist for an MRI. This is the most complete imaging system there is to find the exact cause of your dog’s proprioceptive deficits, and this tool can pinpoint the location of the misfiring of the nerves. In most cases though, this is not required for diagnostics. It is used only if your dog is one of the abnormal cases where your veterinarian cannot find a cause.

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Treatment of Proprioceptive Deficits in Dogs

When it comes to treatment of proprioceptive deficits in dogs, the veterinary doctor will have to find the source of the problem in order to have the best opportunity of fixing it. When she does find the cause, the main option is surgical correction. Spinal surgery is complicated and not every veterinarian is able to do this type of procedure. This will require you to see a specialist.

If you do not want to put your dog through surgery or want to try something else, you can try treatment with supportive therapies. Your veterinarian can prescribe anti-inflammatory medications as well as suggest some physical therapy exercises. If you are unable to do the exercises at home, there are facilities that provide rehabilitation for animals. 

Light laser therapy is another form of treatment some veterinarians can recommend. This is a therapeutic light that penetrates down to the affected area. In no way will this harm your pet, it only benefits him; the worst thing that may happen is that it will not help. This therapy reduces inflammation, offers pain relief, and increases flow throughout the treated area. Not many veterinarians have access to laser therapy or may not have used it personally in their practice. Research this option in order to find a veterinarian that can provide this therapy.

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Recovery of Proprioceptive Deficits in Dogs

The cause of your dog’s proprioceptive deficit will play a significant role in his recovery. Without surgical correction, you are only giving him supportive therapies and managing his condition. These options can work very well for some dogs and reduce their symptoms significantly but may be ineffective for others. Even if you do have surgery performed on your dog, there is no guarantee it will fix the problem. 

The proprioceptive deficit alone will not harm your dog; it may just trip him up at times and may become more pronounced as the underlying cause progresses.

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Proprioceptive Deficits Average Cost

From 381 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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Proprioceptive Deficits Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Ask a Vet

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Macy

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Moderate severity

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2 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Diarrhea, Hanging Head, Vomiting

My 5yr old dog, since taking simparica for flea/tick control about 1 1/2 wks ago, has started to behave strangely. She is holding her head down, in line with her body. Doesn't seem herself. Has thrown up 1 or 2 times since then as well. She had some diarrhea as well. Is this normal possible allergic reaction to this medication?

June 9, 2018

Macy's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Reported side effects of Simparica (sarolaner) include vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite; whilst these side effects are uncommon, they may still occur. Generally if the cause is due to Simparica, there is no real course of treatment apart from symptomatic care (if effective) and waiting for the active ingredient to the excreted from the body. You should visit your Veterinarian for a discuss or call the manufacturer (1-888-963-8471) if you have any concerns. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.zoetisus.com/products/dogs/simparica/pdf/simparica-pi-2016.pdf

June 10, 2018

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Amos

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Pug

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13 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Licking

My 13 year old pug has delayed proprioception in his hind legs, but I think his front ones are fine. Harder to tell. His hind legs seem to be getting very very slowly worse. Could that be caused by the same thing which caused some sort of central nervous system deficits a few weeks ago? Brief ataxia, head tilt, hypermetria. And/or the daily vomiting (and re-eating) which started a month ago, and was helped by famotidine. And/or his very recent new impulse to lick my comforter instead of his stuffed frog. Ewww! He had a bunch of vaccinations in early March, and then the daily vomiting three weeks later (plus one eye was red). Then about two weeks later the CNS symptoms. He was put on antibiotics and steroids and seemed to feel much better, and no returning CNS symptoms, but not sure about proprioception. The comforter licking started two or three days after the steroids stopped. He also had a much worse (but different) CNS problem two years ago around the same time and also I guess about a month after lots of vaccinations. Seemed completely better after two rounds of antibiotics and a month of tapering steroids that time. Could both of these CNS incidences actually be a reaction to the vaccines? (Or infected cat poop he eats in the backyard?) Is it possible that the two rounds of antibiotics really helped two years ago and he would benefit now from another round? Would a CBC panel show evidence for whether or not antibiotics would help? My vet says unless I get an MRI, all she can do is give steroids to treat the symptoms, so I'm looking for other possibilities.

May 11, 2018

Amos' Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Without examining Amos it is difficult to say what the specific cause of these symptoms are, if your Veterinarian was unable to determine a cause from a physical examination then it may be worth having blood tests and an x-ray to be on the safe side before going for more expensive diagnostic tests like an MRI. Vaccinations don’t really cause proprioceptive defects and you didn’t note when Amos was last vaccinated so it is difficult to comment. Another option you have is get a consultation with a Neurologist to help narrow in on a specific cause for the symptoms. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 12, 2018

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Smokey

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German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Difficulty Walking

Where can I find a Vet clinic or an Hospital that use the heat sensing camera in New York state near Montreal, Quebec, Canada? Signs of proprioceptivef my dog: light to moderate dragging foot, placing toes on dorsal side, balancing his tail when walking, light to moderate staggering and a bit of worn nails

March 25, 2018

Smokey's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I'm not familiar with the heat seeking camera that you are asking about. Smokey seems to be showing some neurologic dysfunction, and without being able to see him or know more about his situation, it might be a good idea to see a veteirnary neurologist for him, to seek more advice.

March 26, 2018

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Zig Zag

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Dingo

dog-age-icon

12 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Paws Knuckling, Unable To Stand Up From A Laying

I have a 12 year old Dingo named Zig Zag that seems to have Proprioceptive Deficits. Myself like many people in the community have fallen on a financial hardship resulting in no moneys to see a vet. For the past 2 years my guy has occasionally had days when he would fall while running or out on a walk. This last week he had out of the blue fallen multi pal times on a Friday. The again on Saturday he had a few falls. Sunday he fell about two times then at one point he couldn't stand up by himself. Later in the evening on Sunday he was able to walk after help in lifting him to a standing position. Monday he cant stand up by himself and it seems like his paws are paralyzed he try to walk and lands paw knuckled and cant right them and down he goes. Mind you my guy is about 110lb Dingo so hes a big guy. I cant pick him up hes bigger then me. So the question weighing on my mind is should I continue to cart him around in a wagon I have gotten him some joint supplements and multiple vitamins plus I have been giving him leg,paw,and back massages in hopes to help him out. I dont want to put him threw all this if there is no chance he will improve and with no money I cant go to a vet there is now free medical for animals that I have found. I love my guy so much I cant even bear the thought of loosing him especially if there is a chance for him to improve. I have even thought of making him a walker to help him not fall. I have not seen anything for the front legs only the back legs . Again is it a prolonging of the inevitable. He doesn't seem to be in pain but I dont know for sure. Please any suggestions would be extremely appreciated.

Sept. 26, 2017

Zig Zag's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Normally when a dog is showing issues with the hindlimbs, a physical examination and x-rays would indicate a possible cause; without an examination and x-rays we can only start to guess at the possible causes which may include: vertebral disorders, hip disorders, intervertebral disk disease, mass in the vertebral canal, subluxation among other issues. It is important that you try to cut down his weight as this will put more pressure on his spine; other than that, I cannot recommend anything else as I haven’t examined him. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Sept. 26, 2017

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Coco

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Miniature Pinscher

dog-age-icon

14 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

My dog has had a couple times where her limbs became weak but yesterday they were so weak that she fell down 5 stairs. Now she can't stand AT ALL. Her front legs are buckled and she falls face down and I put her outside and she got a mouth full of dirt. She looks at me with lucid eyes but has no control over her legs to stand or walk. I have an appt to have her put down in two hours. She is old, maybe 14 or so. I rescued her from a puppy mill where she birthed many litters. She is a Min Pin. Is there any hope?

Sept. 11, 2017

Coco's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

I think by the time you get this response, you will have already have visited your Veterinarian. I cannot say whether or not Coco has any positive prognosis as I haven’t examined her and the cause for the weakness may be attributable to many different causes. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Sept. 11, 2017

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Rosie

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Miniature Australian Labradoodle

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Dragging Nails
Dragging Nails, Delayed Placement

Rosie, age 3, suddenly, one day couldn’t walk or bear weight on her 4 paws. After spending 3 days at 4 different vets, including seeing a neurologist vet, there was no definitive diagnosis, but polyradiculoneuritis was suggested. She finally walked on day 4, albeit clumsily and awkwardly. Over the next month, she improved to the point of others not noticing anything being wrong. We noticed she didn’t run as fast, or jump as much or as high as previously. Unfortunately, we are now noticing, approximately 2 months after the initial incident that she is a bit clumsy with her back legs, tripping going upstairs, occasionally hearing nails drag when on walks. The vet noticed delayed placement of her back paws at her exam, 1 week ago. Any ideas?

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Midnight

dog-breed-icon

Havanese

dog-age-icon

11 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Weakness
Unable To Walk

May 21st 2019 I noticed that my dog was having difficulty walking. He would yelp a lot and would not want to be moved. He lifted his back up like a cat when he tried to walk. I took him to the vet on May 23rd and he was prescribed Metacam. Over the weekend, he stopped the yelping. He didn’t show much improvement though. He started falling over everytime he tried to walk and was completely unmotivated to get up. He was motivated to be outside and would try his best to walk but would fall over after a few steps. A few days later, he started not being able to get up at all and he did not have movement on his back legs when trying to get up. I got very worried and called the vet who suggested an x-ray or wait a few more days. He lays down and drags himself where he wants to go. He is able to pee and poop but does it while laying down. He then started knuckling on his front paws to try to move. I took him to the vet on June 1st and he had an x-ray which only showed arthritis. The vet believes it is neurological such as something with his disc or meningitis but cannot know for sure without very expensive exams. The vet also said he does not have a sense of his proprioreceptors. He was prescribed Prednisone (1 tablet in the morning, 1/2 tablet at night). The vet said I should see improvements within 3 days and if he does not get better then he will not ever improve without expensive exams and possibly surgery and would have to be put down. That night, he itched himself with his back legs, maybe showing that he does have proprioreceptors. Today, June 2nd, he tried to get up and was able to somewhat move his back legs. He is still laying down most of the times but has motivation to get up at times. He rarely yelps, seems as though he is not in pain. I strongly believe there is something else I could do for him that does not require expensive exams. He is eating fine and drinking water. He still looks at us begging for food. He barks when he hears noises like his usual self. I believe that he has a few more years left in him. I think the vet is making a very fast decision about recommending euthanasia so fast. Please let me know what you think. It would be greatly appreciated.

dog-name-icon

Peachs

dog-breed-icon

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Cocker Spaniel

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Proprioceptive Deficit
Ivdd
Slipped Disc

Let me start by stating that this is not necessarily a question/inquiry, but rather a possible beacon of light for other pet parents out there who are afraid of the unknown possibilities. My little girl, at the time was 10 years old, simply walked outside to use the bathroom when BAM! she let out the most blood curdling scream I have ever heard (I have been a Vet Tech for 18+ years now). I turned around to see her sitting, not on her bottom, but on her lower back with her hind legs twisted around each other. I picker her up, untangled her legs and she went right back into her previous position. I quickly jumped in a warm shower with her, running the water down her back and hind legs while gently massaging her, after 30 minutes she could bare a minimal amount of weight on her legs. Long story short, I took her to the vet who diagnosed her with IVDD/"slipped disc." Immediately started her on pain medication, muscle relaxers, 'bed rest', a regiment of at-home physical therapy (simply walking her over a broomstick on the ground), and laser therapy 3x weekly. Within 2 months, Peachs was not only baring weight on her hind legs, but was running (controlled on a harness/leash) with her siblings. She is now 12 and nobody can believe she suffered through what she did, her life has returned to completely normal with daily activities and her mobility. While she still takes medications to manage her condition I would suggest trying different pharmaceuticals, I did not feel comfortable with her being on such strong drugs. Our last medication change was almost a year ago and she is going strong. NEVER GIVE UP HOPE!!!

Proprioceptive Deficits Average Cost

From 381 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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