Is your older pet suddenly having difficulties walking? In addition to problems such as tick paralysis, which can affect pets of any age, senior pets can be at risk of specific age-related issues that can impair their ability to move normally.
Here are some potential causes of sudden changes in your older pet’s mobility.
Whilst spinal pain can occur in any pet (particularly in long-backed breeds such as dachshunds), older pets are at an increased risk of specific spinal issues, including:
- Progressive intervertebral disc disease (gradually bulging discs within the spine)
- Spinal tumours
- Arthritic changes within the bones of the spine
Pets with spinal issues may show non-specific symptoms such as a reluctance to move, intermittent yelping, trouble eating and drinking comfortably, or changes in behaviour. If the spinal cord becomes significantly compressed, these pets may also develop neurological problems, affecting their coordination, leg strength, or continence (ability to control urination or bowel movements).
As well as arthritis of the spine, older pets are also commonly affected by degenerative joint disease (a type of arthritis) in areas such as the hips, knees, and elbows.
As well as general stiffness (particularly after rest), slowing on walks, and sometimes a reluctance to jump up or climb stairs, affected pets may worsen suddenly after an awkward slip or fall and show significant pain and lameness.
Geriatric vestibular disease
Geriatric vestibular disease is when older pets suddenly develop vertigo-like symptoms, which usually cause them to have an uncontrollable head tilt and generalised loss of balance. They may also feel quite nauseous and be reluctant to eat and drink. The exact cause of this condition is unclear.
If your pet shows a sudden change in their mobility, it’s always best to consult our experienced team promptly. With the proper support, we can hopefully have your pet back on track quickly!