To Breathe or Not To Breathe: Cookie's Hind Legs Transiently Fail to Work (Again)

In June, Cookie experienced a weird event which we didn't understand but scared us to near heart attack.

She was lying down, resting and when she tried to get up, it looked as if she couldn't.

One or more of her legs weren't supporting her and when I helped her up she was clearly leaning to one side and would have fallen over if I wasn't holding her and there wasn't a couch for her to partially lean on. After our experiences with Jasmine, my first thought was that she somehow hurt her spine.

She looked scared and I was freaking out, trying to keep it together for her (but probably mostly failing).

We got her on a dog bed and helped her to settle down on it. Shaking, I was going to call our vet's emergency number, letting them know that we we're on our way with what seemed to be a paralyzed Cookie.

Panicky thoughts were running through my mind, including how we were going to safely get her to the vet without inflicting more damage.

Hubby stayed with her and she must have looked better to him so he called her and she got up and came up to him as if nothing ever happened.

Relieved and confused I had no idea what to make of it.

I got hold of Dr. Krista of to either get talked down or to figure out whether we should rush to an emergency vet anyway. She figured it could have been a seizure of sorts and the event may or may not be the last of it. It was also possible that her leg fell asleep. I wasn't really buying either of those theories but, as you imagine,  I liked the idea of a leg falling asleep.

For a long time, however irrationally, I was scared every time Cookie laid at the same spot.

But nothing happened, everything was fine.

Until October 14th.

We were out on a walk, as usually. Cookie was running through the bush, chasing after squirrels, as usually. We let her run around in there for a while and then called her.

She came running to us but ...

... she was running lop-sided, leaning to one side and her left hind leg was tucked in towards the other and not really working right. She ran all the way up to us and sat down.

It was not a limp.

At least not a limp I've ever seen before and I've seen plenty. What happened? We started examining her. Meanwhile, she heard another squirrel and dashed off after it. The gait still looked wrong but, clearly, she didn't care. We did.

I went after her, fetched her, put her on the leash and we slowly and carefully started making out way home.

By then, she seemed to be working normally. What the heck was that?

We came home without any further incidents and I immediately made an appointment both with her primary vet and her chiropractor for the next day.

We watched her like hawks but nothing seemed amiss.

The next morning, her primary vet examined her head to toe. Cookie got a physical exam, neuro exam and TCVM exam. Nothing seemed out of place except pain response at her sacroiliac joint. We knew she had issues in that area; this made sense. The vet said that a chiropractic adjustment would be a good idea--we already had an appointment for later that day.

The chiropractor confirmed that the pelvic area indeed had issues and that this could have been behind the event.

Cookie got adjusted and seemed as good as new. Except that last Thursday it all happened all over again, pretty much exactly the same way.

Before we got to the bush, Cookie dashed toward a puddle and as I was watching her gait, she wasn't running right and kicking her right hind leg out to the side. I said that I felt she needed another adjustment. But she seemed fine enough that we proceeded with the walk.

We got to the bush and she went after her squirrels. As always, we let her run around for a while before we called her. And just like the last time, she came running up to us, all wrong. This time it looked like both hind legs weren't working properly, lagging in response and not really baring the weight the way they should.

It really looked to me like some kind of partial paralysis thing.

We got her to stop and sit down, she sat down with one leg kicked out to the side and one kind of folded under. I wasn't liking the looks of that at all but at least hoping that it would be short-lived like last time. She seemed perfectly fine otherwise, not upset and not distressed. We leashed her and started carefully making our way home. Her gait was once again sorting itself out quickly.

In a short while, she was willing to go on chasing mice like if nothing happened. But as she made a leap into the grass, the weird weakness of the legs returned.

I gave the leash the hubby because while with me it's always all fun and games, being on a lead with daddy is serious business and he was going to be more successful to keep her subdued so we could get home without putting any further undue strain on the legs, back, or what the source of the problem was.

Is this going to keep happening now?

Is it that a nerve gets pinched somewhere, messing with communication between the brain and the hind legs? Is it possible than one day the nerve gets damaged for good? My heart was in my throat.

We made appointments with both her vet and her chiropractor again but this time I was REALLY worried about the little girly.

Continued here

Related articles:
From The End Of A Lead Line To Casa Jasmine: Meet Cookie, Our New Adoptee
And So It Begins Again(?) Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie 
I Didn't Know I Could Fly: Why Cookie Wears A Harness Instead Of A Collar
C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Chews For Dogs CAN Be A Choking Hazzard 
Our First Health-Related Heart Attack With Cookie: The Knee Or The Foot? 
Creative Solutions And An Incidental Product Review
Too Young For Pot: Cookie's Snack With A Side Of Hydrogen Peroxide  
Taming Of The Wild Beast: Cookie's Transition To Civilization  
Staying On Top Of The Ears: Cookie Is Not Impressed  
Putting The Easy Back Into Walking
Cookie's Ears Are Still Not Happy 
The Threat Of The Bulge Is Always Lurking 
Today Is Cookie's Three-Months Adoptoversary  
Cookie Meets The Electric Horse Fence And Her First Chiropractic Adjustment  
Why Examine Your Dog's Vomit? 
Why Is That Leg Still Not Happy? Cookie's Leg Keeps Getting Sore 
Cookie Too Is Insured With Trupanion
Does Being Insured Mean Being Covered? Our First Claim With Trupanion
Is Cookie's Leg Finally Getting Better?
Is Cookie Going To Be Another Medical Challenge Or Are We Looking To Closely? 
The Project That Is Cookie: Pancreatitis Up Close And Personal  
Pancreatitis: Cookie’s Blood Work   
Another Belly Upset: Pancreatitis Again Or Not?  
Happy Birthday, Cookie 
Incontinence? Cookie's Mysterious Leaks 
Who's Training Whom? Stick And Treat 
Don't Just Stand There, Do Something? Cookie's Mysterious Bumps 
Cookie's Mysterious Bumps Update
One Vomit, No Vomit 
Happy One-Year Adoptoversary, Cookie!
Cookie's Leaks Are Back: Garden Variety Incontinence Or Not?
Cookie's Leaks Update 
Don't Panic, Don't Panic: Know What Your Job Is 
The Continuing Saga Of Cookie's Leeks: Trying Chiropractic Approach 
Cookie's Minor Eye Irritation
Regular Wellness Exam: Cookie's ALT Was Elevated 
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury 
How Far To Take It When The Dog Isn't Sick?
Cookie Has Tapeworm Infection 
Cookie's Elevated ALT: The Ultrasound and Cytology  
Cookie's ALT Update
The Importance of Observation: Cookie's Chiropractic Adjustment
Sometimes You Don't Even Know What You're Looking at: Cookie's Scary "We Have No Idea What that Was" 
Living with an Incontinent Dog 
Summer Dangers: Cookie Gets Stung by a Bald-faced Hornet 

Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you!


  1. Too strange and way too terrifying. Will be watching for an update.

    1. Very strange and totally terrifying. After this, when going out for walk I literally couldn't breathe how scared I was what could happen next. But she looked good and she needs to get out ... I've been praying a whole lot.

      Primary vet seems confident it's not cellular and reasonably convinced it's not neurological. Mechanical I could live with. Hoping for some major insights from ortho specialist appointment on Sunday.

  2. My 13 yr old Kuvasz sister has similar issues that come and go. We know she has arthritis in her spine, but she sees the chiropractor about every three weeks and it has really helped. The first few days she is sometimes almost worse off, but then she is much better. Rejenease has cured her limp and gotten her walking form back. She doesn't run, but she walks. Sometimes she falls because her back legs fold on her, but she has been on this regimen for over 6 months and is doing better than everyone said she ever could. Hope your pup can get things ironed out too.

    1. I'm glad you found what's working for her. Cookie is doing great outside these events. She's only 3.5! She's been getting chiropractic adjustments about once a month; for now we'll be doing once a week to see if we can get ahead of it.

  3. Awww poor Cookie! I have to agree, this is very scary indeed. Sending prayers your way. :(

    1. Thank you, Brandy. By the looks of it we were way more upset about it than she was (except that first time). I've been praying for her a lot too.

  4. Oh, I'm sorry to read this about Cookie. Hopefully it's just some weird thing that goes away and is never an issue again. I know you must be really worried.

    1. Thank you, Lindsay. It's a weird thing for sure. But came back three times (as we know of. Because so transient could have happened while she was chasing critters without even knowing). I hoped it was a one time deal the first time. Than I hoped the second time was something else and it was a one time deal. Gotta see what orthopedic specialist says.

  5. That's so scary. My dog had a weird gait & the Vet said it was an issue w/ her knees that us common in older dogs. She was kind of skipping her hind right leg when walking fast. He said we didn't need to do anything at this time, just keep an eye on it. I hope Cookie will be OK.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    1. Thank you, Cathy. Yes, very scary. I know what you're describing but Cookie is only 3.5 and it most definitely isn't an knee issue. Hoping we can find a good way of fixing it whatever it is.


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