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German Shepherd Weak Back Legs

Why Do The Back Legs Of A German Shepherd Look Bent

German shepherd with no back legs getting prosthetics to learn to walk

Your German Shepherds back legs might look a lot different from those of the dogs in the show ring. Why is that?

If youve seen any dog shows on TV, you may have noticed something odd about the German Shepherd Dog.

While your own GSD may not be a shining example of the breed, why does it seem as though the show dogs have such bent back legs?

Diagnosis Of Back Leg Weakness In Dogs

If you have noticed signs of weakness in your dogs back legs, take him into the clinic to be checked, as many of the causes can be progressive. Relay all signs that you have noticed in your dog, including changes in appetite and behavior and the history of the weakness. Your veterinarian may also ask if your dog has been exposed to any toxins or infectious diseases, such as those found in an animal carcass.

Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam to see if there are any discerning neurological or physical abnormalities. This can also reveal the possible presence of an enlarged liver, a sign of diabetes, or a tumor. A urinalysis and bloodwork will be performed next to determine your dogs overall health. This will detect toxins and infections, high levels of glucose or liver enzymes, and electrolyte abnormalities. Results of these tests can point to poisonings, botulism, diabetes, or even Cushings disease.

Imaging techniques such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds can be used to find tumors, reveal any structural weakness in bones, joints, and tissues, determine the size and state of the adrenal glands, kidneys, and liver, and visualize the state of the spinal cord. Additional testing can include a spinal tap, aspiration of joint fluids, or hormone testing.

Why Do German Shepherds Lick Other Dogs

The affection and communication reasons discussed earlier why your German Shepherd Dog licks you also apply to his licking other dogs and pets. Below is a photo of my female German Shepherd Willow licking the face of her Boxer dog friend. Looks like he was more interested in the forthcoming treat!

But did you know that in the doggie world licking behavior also has a dominance element?

People who have lived in a multi-dog household know that one dog may lord it over the other and will access things first, , always win fights, go for attention first from the owner, and receive more licks from their subordinates.

In a study on dog dominance, licking their subordinates less was one of the indicators of dominance in 83% of dogs rated as dominant by their owners.

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It Is In Their Wolf Ancestry

In the wolf world where dogs have their ancestry, staring is rude and threatening. So, when your dog stares at you continuously, he might be manifesting an evolutionary holdover from his ancestral roots and communicating some displeasure. And if the uninterrupted hard stare is directed to a stranger, they should back away and not stare back!

Do German Shepherds Have Weak Back Legs

Weak hind leg

Yes, a German Shepherd may have weak back legs. There are certain reasons behind their weakness. One of the most important reasons is nutrition.

Any injury or infestation of some foreign agents like bacteria, viruses, or parasites may also lead to weakness of the legs. The causes behind leg weakness are listed below:

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Why Do German Shepherds Nibble

Nibbling is the gentle bite your dog will make on your body, especially on your toes! This German Shepherd behavior is generally considered an instinctual behavior characterizing puppies of all breeds, especially during teething.

When young puppies play, you will have noticed that they will display behavior consisting of gently biting each other as part of the game. Your doggo can transfer this nibbling behavior to you or your furniture if no other puppies or pets are around, which is why teething toys such as the KONG Puppy Toy from Amazon are essential. You can even stuff it with treats or peanut butter to keep your GSD entertained.

But German Shepherd Dogs tend to bring this growing up behavior into their adult life. Naturally, newborn German Shepherd puppies will explore their world with their mouths before using their sight and smell. And it appears that this instinct is maintained throughout life for important reasons, as shown by some studies.

A study investigating the meaning and emotion associated with nibbling in dogs concluded that the behavior is not related to negative personality traits. Instead, nibbling has two functions:

  • It manifests the highly positive emotions of one dog towards humans or other animals.
  • It is a special form of communication used to create and strengthen emotional bonds between animals, irrespective of their social status.
  • Despite these facts, nibbling behavior in German Shepherds can also be triggered by several other factors:

    Cardiac Causes Of Hind

    Adequate cardiac function is essential for blood flow and oxygen delivery to all the bodys tissues. When cardiac function is impaired, regardless of cause, weakness results. Again, for the reasons previously stated, weakness in dogs is usually first apparent in the hind limbs.

    Heartworm disease, congestive heart failure, heart muscle disease , cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac or pericardial tumors, and fluid in the sac surrounding the heart are all examples of cardiac diseases seen in dogs.

    Your dogs physical exam will clue your veterinarian into a cardiac cause for the hind-limb weakness youve identified, and diagnosis and treatment will move on from there.

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    Causes Of German Shepherd Limping

    Limping is a common occurrence in dogs. It occurs when your dog cannot walk normally due to pain or weakness. Your dog may walk slowly or awkwardly, and he will generally favor one leg over the other.

    There are two types of limping that your German Shepherd may experience. Some forms occur gradually over time, whereas sudden lameness happens instantly, usually after an injury. Some cases are minor and can be managed at home, while others will necessitate the assistance of a medical professional.

    Reasons Why Your Dog May Be Limping

    Here are 23 reasons why your German Shepherd may be limping:

  • Overexertion. Too much of a good thing such as fetch, frisbee, intense running, or rough play with other dogs can leave your German Shepherd sore and hobbling with a muscle strain. Most dogs, though, will recover quickly after a few days of rest.
  • Wounds on the footpads. Check your dogs paws for foreign objects that could cause lacerations, such as a piece of glass, or a nail. Look out for your GSD incessantly licking his paw. Burns caused by hot sidewalks or frostbite can also cause your dog to limp. In extreme weather, hot or cold, get your GSD some booties or paw protectors.
  • A thorn or stone stuck in the pads. Again carefully check the pads for a thorn or small stone that may have lodged between the paw pads. Remember to keep the fur around the pads and toes trim to enable you to examine the paws easier, especially as some dogs find this area quite sensitive.
  • Old Dog Back Legs Collapsing Treatment & Home Care

    Our Dog Gets A Wheelchair!

    There are many things you can do to help your senior dog maintain his quality of life despite his hind leg weakness. Ill cover just a few of the ideas Ive used and seen my clients use.

    • Adaptive furnishings like carpet runners for slick floors
    • Braces, socks and booties
    • Assistive vests and rear leg protectors
    • Dealing with incontinence

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    What Is Degenerative Myelopathy

    A disease found in dogs, especially German Shepherds, that is very similar to ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Basically, there is a breakdown of Myelin around the spinal cord. The prognosis for progression of degenerative myelopathy is approximately 6 months to 3 years, with no cure at this time.

    I have no doubt, being the owner of a dog who gets this diagnosis is undoubtedly heart-breaking. The disease will slowly or quickly progress.

    Stages Of Degenerative Myelopathy

    Upon diagnosing your dog with degenerative myelopathy, your veterinarian should also tell you at what stage it is in. When we found out Rockys diagnosis, he was at the early stage of the disease.

    The progress of degenerative myelopathy is divided into four main stages.

    • Unmotivated to go for a walk or climb stairs due to hind-end weakness.
    • Tremors on the hind legs.
    • Muscle loss in rear legs.

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    Reasons Your German Shepherd Is Limping

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    Categories German Shepherds

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    A few months ago, my 6-year-old German Shepherd started limping on her back leg. Its not a pleasant sight to see any dog limping, and if your German Shepherd starts limping on either his front legs or back legs, its only natural to wonder if it is a minor issue or something more significant. However, before you rush your dog to the vet, you might want to learn more about why he may be limping in the first place.

    German Shepherds may limp for various reasons. Minor causes could be simple over-exertion, an insect sting, an ingrowing toenail, or a thorn stuck in the paw. Injury or disease, such as fractures, sprain, hip dysplasia, spinal cord disease, or bone cancer, can be more serious causes.

    These are just a few of the reasons your German Shepherd might be limping, but well cover a great deal more in this article. This will help you figure out what might be wrong with your dog.

    Ill also tell you how to treat your limping German Shepherd at home and when to take him to the veterinarian.

    Want to see the latest dog supplies that are popular right now? You can find them on Amazon. You can also click the button below.

    Common Leg Problems In German Shepherds Every Dog Parent Must Be Aware Of

    Weak hind leg

    German Shepherd is one of the most active canines that people bring home and look up to for company. This beautiful dog breed is an awesome bonding expert. How? It does so by bringing all family members together in the living area by using cute tactics. The dutiful nature of this dog is sure to impress you but do you have any idea about the discomforts that GSD deal with?

    In this post, we intend to focus on leg problems. It is because these seem trivial and are quite likely to miss your radar if you are a new dog parent. The leg problems in GSD do need immediate attention and consistent monitoring. If left unattended, these may lead to severe discomfort or a handicap of permanent nature in him. So, here is a quick overview of all common leg issues that are typically found in GSDs.

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    Degenerative Myelopathy Dogs Final Stages

    As we were making the decision to euthanize Rocky, we noticed his hind legs and tail started to have spasmodic movement. Poor Rocky! Many times throughout the day, it seems as if Rocky was about to defecate because he would try to kick out of his rear legs and his tail would raise and lower.

    Rocky was definitely living a poor quality of life at this point with this level of discomfort and pain. Our vet warned us that the development of this disease is now more rapid than before. Here are the signs we notice in the final stages of degenerative myelopathy in dogs and these were confirmed by our vet:

    • Loss of muscle and muscle control in the forelimbs and shoulders.
    • Trouble swallowing.
    • All four legs became weak and could no longer move.
    • All four legs were not able to support the dogs body weight.
    • Heart, lungs, and kidneys were affected.
    • Difficulty breathing due to the disease reaching his neck, cranial nerves, and brain stem.

    Three Major Types Of Acute Spinal Cord Injury

    The most common causes of acute spinal cord are intervertebral disc extrusion , acute non-compressive nucleus pulposus extrusion , and fibrocartilaginous embolism .

    Think of the intervertebral discs as shock absorbers for the vertebrae , consisting of the protective outer layer and a spongy inside . With age the intervertebral discs can degenerate which can predispose them to herniation and subsequent spinal cord injury.

    In IVDE the intervertebral discs fibrous outside breaks, and the nucleus herniates and causes spinal cord compression. The severity of herniation will dictate the level of spinal cord injury and subsequent neurologic dysfunction. Certain breeds intervertebral discs will degenerate at an earlier age and therefore predispose them to this condition. These include including the Dachshund and the French Bulldog. However, any breed can suffer a disc herniation.

    In an ANNPE, a non-degenerated intervertebral disc will herniate and concuss the spinal cord causing a bruise or even bleeding.

    With an FCE, a piece of the intervertebral disc breaks off and occludes the blood supply to the spinal cord, causing a stroke that can range from minor to severe.. Both ANNPE and FCE are commonly diagnosed in large breed dogs and typically occur during high impact activity.

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    German Shepherd Health Problems

    Your German Shepherd is a large, energetic herding dog. German Shepherds are very intelligent, loyal, and obedient. Originally bred for herding, modern-day German Shepherds work with police and search and rescue units across the world because they are task-oriented, curious, and creative.

    Like all dog breeds, German Shepherds are uniquely vulnerable to certain diseases. German Shepherds are more likely than dogs of other breeds to suffer from degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, and dilated cardiomyopathy.

    Degenerative Myelopathy in German Shepherds

    Degenerative myelopathy is a nerve disease that starts in a dogs spinal cord. If your German Shepherd suffers from degenerative myelopathy, youll begin to notice them losing motor function in their hind legs.

    Over time, the weakness will get even worse. Your dog might struggle to get up, and, as the disease progresses, and your dog could lose bowel and urinary control. The dog might also struggle to get up because the disease causes muscles to atrophy. Dogs with degenerative myelopathy can become paralyzed by the disease.

    German Shepherds that become partially paralyzed by degenerative myelopathy are good candidates for wheelchairs. Custom made dog wheelchairs by K9 Carts can help your dog stay mobile and preserve their quality of life.

    Hip Dysplasia in German Shepherds

    Dilated Cardiomyopathy in German Shepherds

    Consult Your Vet

    Learn More About Your German Shepherds Health

    How Veterinarians Diagnose Dm

    Treatment / Physiotherapy for Degenerative Myelopathy in German Shepherds dragging leg.

    Veterinarians make their diagnosis based on your dogs symptoms and by ruling out other conditions, like the ones mentioned above.

    The only precise way to diagnose the disease is by examining the spinal cord after an animal passes away.

    If your vet suspects DM the diagnosis process will probably begin with a physical exam and a basic neurological exam. Blood work and X-rays are also routinely ordered.

    Many dogs are then referred to a veterinary neurologist where they undergo a thorough neurological assessment along with a CT scan or an MRI. These powerful imaging tests examine the layers of the spine. Theyre valuable tools to rule out other disorders.

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    What Is The Outlook For Dogs With Degenerative Myelopathy

    Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive condition with affected dogs gradually becoming incontinent and losing the ability to walk. This typically takes place over a 12 to 18 month period from the time of onset of signs. Unfortunately on welfare grounds it is often necessary to consider putting severely affected dogs to sleep .

    We are always happy to discuss any aspects of a case with you or your vet prior to referral.

    If you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    How To Make German Shepherd Back Legs Stronger 2022


    The German Shepherd dog is watchful and active. It is used for safety at homes. It is a dog that is known for its quick response. The question here is that how to make German shepherd back legs stronger:

    How to make German shepherds back legs stronger? A well-balanced diet full of all the required minerals and vitamins as recommended by a nutritionist, better management of the disease that may affect the muscles of the hindquarter, and proper exercise with full care makes the back legs of a German Shepherd stronger. The physiotherapist recommended exercises and massage is vital in case of any myopathy or arthropathy of hind legs.

    The back leg is common terminology while the hind leg is used as an anatomical term. Several questions arise while we ponder about the hind legs of a German Shepherd. Following are the reasonable explanations to the possible questions around the back leg.

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    Give Your Pet Bone & Joint Supplements

    Bone and joint supplements provide the necessary nutrients to your dog.

    Bone and joint supplements for your pet contain the following ingredients:

    • Glucosamine helps relieve pain and joint damage
    • Chondroitin reduces inflammation in your dogs joints
    • Collagen keeps your pets bones and joints healthy
    • Fish oils contain Omega-3, a nutrient that helps control inflammation and improves your dogs mobility

    Purchase A Pair Of Dog Boots

    Weak hind leg

    Search for âdog bootsâ on Amazon and youâll find hundreds of choices. After many failed attempts , I finally figured out that for a dog with degenerative myelopathy, only two factors matter: boot security and durability . A boot with a high, adjustable ankle section takes care of the first requirement, and flipping the boot upside down is my best advice for the second. I found that placing the boots sole-side-up didnât affect Gusâs ability to walk in them, and it kept them from becoming a shredded mess after just a walk or two.

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