I hope you are still running your advice section in Dogs Today magazine as we would appreciate some help about our dog's health problem outlined below.
We have a beautiful five-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog called Skye. Recently she has developed a strong limp where she can put hardly any weight on her back right leg. After many trips to the vet and an x-ray of her spine and hips the diagnosis is still unsure. The most likely cause we have been informed of is that it is a neurological disorder, where a trapped nerve or other spinal disruption is affecting Skye’s right side, because her right front paw is also weak and less responsive. Quite often her front paw will bend in on itself and Skye is unable to notice and flop it out the correct way again. However there is also the possibility that these problems are the result of a brain tumour. To investigate this fully would involve an expensive MRI scan which we are not in a position to do.
The vets have assumed it is a neurological problem and as such have put Skye on large painkiller tablets (Gabapentin) and some smaller steroid tablets (Prednicare) to act as an anti-inflammatory. Skye has experienced bad side effects with both of these, the painkiller causing diarrhoea which we have now cut out of Skye’s diet so that has stopped, and the steroids causing excessive thirst meaning that Skye cannot go through the night without needing to go in the garden. The main issue is that despite all these tablets Skye’s limp is no better and she still struggles to walk normally. We have been exercising her daily with very short walks of about 10-15 minutes which she definitely enjoys and once she gets going sometimes her limp eases off slightly.
Are there any alternative medicines or exercises we can try to cure Skye’s legs and have her running around as she once did?
Beth Leedham, by email