View Full Version : Need some advise please - stiff back leg

19th May 2008, 05:33 PM
Hi all,
Something strange has just happened with Millie and Im not sure what to do. My husband has just left the house to bring Chloe to the vet to have her stitches removed following her spay. Millie cried a bit after they left, then jumped up on the bed and lay down.
After about 5 minutes I noticed that she had stood up and wasn't moving. Her back left leg was very stiff and I tried very gently to move it but couldn't. She didn't cry or yelp like she was in pain, but her face looked a bit dazed. I just held her in my arms for about 5 minutes and then put her on the ground to see if her leg was ok. The leg is moving fine now, but she looks very sleepy and her eyes are bloodshot.
I will call my vet anyway, but just thought maybe someone could advise on what could possibly be the cause? This is the first time that this has happened to her, so Im not sure if it should be treated as an emergency??

21st May 2008, 12:38 AM
Poor Millie.... :( What did the vet have to say?

Cathy Moon
21st May 2008, 04:24 AM
I don't know what that could be. Definitely take her to the vet and describe what happened.

Geordie's eyes get bloodshot when he is stressed, so perhaps she was stressed by whatever happened. Let us know what your vet says.:flwr:

22nd May 2008, 09:49 PM
Make sure the vets know about episodic falling disorder, just in case. There's info in the health section of the Library on this. I'd advise talking to one of the vets at Anicare.ie as several there are familiar with this condition -- let them know I suggested this might be something to look into.

25th May 2008, 02:05 PM
Thanks for the replies and sorry for the late reply, myy PC has been out of action for the past couple of days:crash:
I called the vet and he said to just keep an eye on her and to bring her down if it happens again. Thankfully she has been fine since and I haven't noticed any stiffness or rigidness in her back legs. I am keeping a close eye and will contact Anicare in Palmerstown (as they are closest) if anything like it happens again.

15th July 2008, 02:50 PM
Had to take Millie to the vet this morn :(, she had another funny turn where she couldnt move her legs (they were stiff and folded in to her chest), she just lay on the floor and her eyes were really bulging and bloodshot. It lasted about 3 minutes and then she came around and eventually stood up. She was really tired afterwards and quite thirsty too.
The vet took some blood samples and I just got a call to confirm that the results are all fine. He listened to her heart and said that it too sounded perfect, so it is more than likely a neurological problem that are causing these seizures.
He has advised that next time it happens to have a video camera at the near and to tape as much of the episode as I can. Im just worried that this could be happening when Im not around or at night time when we are asleep.
She is in fine form today, but I can't help but worry about her..

Fingers crossed she won't have another one again - but I need to keep the camera close at hand just incase she does :(

15th July 2008, 02:56 PM
Who had a look at her? If Anicare (or any vet), print out the information on episodic falling syndrome. It sounds like this could be the issue. Vets are unlikely to be too familiar with it. There's info in the Library health section and a website: http://www.episodicfalling.com/.

Tell Susan or Fintan to check this. The breeder needs to be informed as well if it looks like it is EFS as this is hereditary. Good luck -- I know it can be really difficult to get a session like this on video but the EFS site has a bunch of videos and you should be able to tell if it looks similar.


15th July 2008, 03:11 PM
From the EFS website -- this sounds like what you are describing:

Episodes may include one or any combination of the following:

* Freezing momentarily
* Freezing or walking with the head down and to one side.
* Stiffness in the back legs
* An apparent lack of coordination in the rear or front limbs
* A bunny-hopping gait
* Roached back with stiff back legs (may be a sign of back injury)
* Temporary loss of control in the hind legs
* Attempting to rise only to fall
* Rolling or somersaulting
* Laying on one side with the back legs extended, limbs may twitch
* Apparent 'spasm'
* Drooling
* Retraction of the front legs, sometimes over the head
* Tightening of the muscles around the mouth with an inability to open the jaws
* Eyes may appear to bulge as the muscles of the face contract.
* The 'deer stalker' position where the front legs contract and the rear legs stiffen (see the video of Penny)
* Chronic tenderness and stiffness may exsist in extreme cases.

After episodes, dogs with mild symptoms usually continue as if nothing has happened. If the episode is severe or lengthy, some panting may occur and the dog may rest. After severe episodes some puppies become frightened and take some time to calm down. Most get used to the events with age.

15th July 2008, 03:21 PM
It was our vet in Celbridge who had a look at her - he actually knew all about EFS when I mentioned it to him which was a bit of a relief.
How is EFS actually diagnosed? Can it be detected in a blood test (I read on the website about being able to identify it through the DNA of the dogs) or in our case will it be a matter of ruling out other possibilities first?

It would be good to know if we could get a difinitive yes or no on whether or not that is what it is.
Im going to have a look now at the videos on the site to see if there are similarities, but already just having gone through the list of symptoms I can see alot of things jumping out at me..

15th July 2008, 10:09 PM
I have no useful medical information to add, but I did want to say good luck and I hope you get this sorted out soon :hug::flwr:

Cleo's Person
16th July 2008, 10:16 AM
I hope you can identify what's wrong with Millie soon and work to get her beter. I have no sgae advice just wanted to send a :hug :hug: to you both. How is she today?

16th July 2008, 12:53 PM
How is she today?
She's fine today - thanks for asking. She seems to be fine once she comes out of the funny turn - just a little sleepy for a while after.
She has a nice bald patch on her leg from her blood test yesterday which I dont think shes too happy about - but I keep telling her it will grow back soon :)

16th July 2008, 02:35 PM
If you went to Beaufield vet in Celbridge, then I am not surprised :) ... they are very good on cavaliers as well (Finbarr is another one of the vets I use for cavalier rescue :) ).

I was talking to Fintan yesterday, who based on description of symptoms, felt this was very possibly EFS. It cannot be diagnosed by blood tests. There's some meds that can help control the seizures for some dogs. It isn't a very well understood condition -- you might eventually want to be referred to neurology at UCD but your vet will try to eliminate other possibilities first. Most of what is known is there on the EFS site and there's info as well on www.cavalierhealth.org including links to current research. It is very variable -- some dogs have a few of these seizures and never have them again, some have them at a very low level and rarely thru their lives, some have regular seizures, and for some it is very serious. Sometimes the seizures decline or disappear over time, sometimes they worsen.

There are not many possibilities to try -- it can be similar to epilepsy or syringomyelia, both of which can be diagnosed, but it isn't likely to be SM if this is the only sign you are seeing. Dogs that are at the point of having pain sessions severe enough to appear like seizures are usually showing a lot of other symptoms too -- perhaps scratching, air scratching, or yelping when touched in certain places, for example. Epilepsy seizures are different from EFS. That's likely why your vet wants you to try and get a session on video because as Fintan was noting the symptoms and seizures are very distinctive and unikely to be anything else but EFS.

I don't think there are DNA tests per se -- this is still pretty much a research area at the moment.

16th July 2008, 03:09 PM
If you went to Beaufield vet in Celbridge, then I am not surprised :smile:
Yes, it was Beaufield -Paddy is the VS who looked at her (dont think I ever saw Finbarr). He seemed to know all about EFS and said that it would be a possiblilty based on the sysptoms I described, but in saying that he wanted to keep an open mind and rule out any other possible problems also.
I am even more convinced having watched the video evidence on the EFS webpage - some of the recordings are just exactly the same.
Thankfully she never looked or sounded like she was in pain - no yelping or crying - just totally dazed and legs going from under her or totally rigid.
Thanks for all your help and fingers crossed I can get the next one on camera so that I can give the vets a better idea of whats happening with her.