Dog can’t stand on back legs

If a dog can’t stand on its back legs this can be a sign that something is not right with the animal’s health. In this post we are going to talk about the main causes that cause dogs to lose the movements of the back legs, we are also going to talk about what should be done to provide well-being for the animal.

Dog can’t stand on back legs

Loss of movement in the dogs’ back legs is a symptom that can have several causes such as:

  • Pain;
  • Trauma;
  • Drug effects;
  • Infections;
  • Orthopedic diseases;
  • Neuromuscular diseases.

However, more symptoms should be observed so that the dog pathology is correctly diagnosed, thus the appropriate treatment can be carried out. For this, a veterinarian should be consulted for examinations and even consultation with specialists in neurology and orthopedics when necessary.


Pain can be one of the causes that makes animals not want to support themselves on their hind limbs. Wounds, burns or even injuries to the paw or hind legs generate a lot of pain. The dog, when feeling pain, avoids the movement of the hind limbs.

The most common symptoms to observe are apathy, loss of appetite, frequent licking at the wound site and even vocalization. To relieve the animal’s pain, the veterinarian can prescribe some anti-inflammatories and the treatment of the pain causes is often enough for the animal to walk on its back legs again.


Dogs can suffer spinal trauma, especially in the lumbar region, which can affect locomotion with the hind limbs. The most common traumas are run over accidents, falls from heights and aggression from tutors.

The main symptoms to be observed are pain at the site of injury, vocalization, prostration and loss of movement of the back legs. A veterinarian should be consulted, often dogs may need surgery.

The diagnosis can be made by imaging exams, in some cases specialists in neurology or veterinary orthopedics can be consulted. Some dogs can walk again after treatment and physical therapy.

However, other dogs can lose movement forever, and palliative care is needed to avoid injuries to the hind limbs, as dogs tend to drag them along the floor during movement.

Drug effects

Some drugs used for anesthesia can lead to temporary paralysis of the back legs. However, when these drugs wear off, the animals return to moving normally.

Some animals may suffer from spinal injuries due to the application of local anesthetics. So many can lose the back loss movement irreversibly.


Diseases such as tick disease, distemper and meningitis can lead to neuronal changes that cause some animals to lose movement of the back leg.

Dogs may have other symptoms such as apathy, lack of appetite, tremors, vocalization, and fever. A veterinarian should be consulted for proper diagnosis and treatment.

When treatment is started at the beginning of the appearance of symptoms, it can reduce the chances of the animal having sequelae. Therefore, the correct diagnosis and at the right time can benefit animals.

Orthopedic diseases

Diseases such as hip dysplasia, Disco spondylitis, osteoporosis, arthritis and even bone tumors can cause animals to lose movement of the hind legs.

Consultation with a veterinary neurologist may be indicated. Imaging and laboratory tests can help with the diagnosis. Some dogs can be treated surgically, but others must live with the loss of movement in their hind legs. For these animals, therapies such as acupuncture and physiotherapy may be indicated, in addition to palliative care to provide well-being for the dog.

Neuromuscular diseases

Some neuromuscular diseases such as degenerative myelopathy in dogs can also affect animals. These diseases affect the spinal cord leading to weakness and loss of movement in the hind limbs.

Dogs with this pathology should be diagnosed as soon as possible. Medications can be taken to prevent the disease from getting worse. Some dogs can re-establish the movement of the hind legs.

How to prevent dogs from losing movement in the back legs?

Prevention can be related to changes in the environment, such as avoiding slippery floors, stairs, access to the street without a tutor and high places without a fence. A good balanced diet for dogs can also prevent metabolic changes that can favor the appearance of some pathologies in dogs.

Infectious diseases can also be prevented with periodic vaccines and the use of medicines to prevent fleas and ticks. That’s why veterinary checkups are indicated from time to time to assess the animal’s health.


Dogs can lose the movement of their hind legs due to several diseases. However, some animals can be treated and walk normally again, while others will have to live for the rest of their lives without the movement of their back legs. For these animals, therapies such as acupuncture, physiotherapy and palliative care are indicated, providing comfort and well-being to the dogs. Many of the diseases that lead to loss of movement in dogs can be prevented with some practices of changes in the environment and in the tutor’s behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Dog can’t stand on back legs

How do I know if my dog has hip dysplasia?

The dog may have lameness, changes in the way it walks, sit with its paws more open, pain when palpating the region, difficulties in locomotion, in more advanced cases, the dog may even stop walking. For diagnosis, an X-ray exam can be performed that identifies and classifies the type of dysplasia presented by the dog.

How to prevent distemper?

Canine distemper is a viral disease that affects dogs and can be prevented by vaccinating puppies and performing annual booster vaccinations.

What to do to prevent dogs from generating wounds on their hind legs that crawl around the house?

The dogs can be placed in carts or structures made to prevent the dog from dragging its paws on the ground. You can also leave the animal on a rubber floor to reduce friction with thicker floors that can injure the dogs’ paws that no longer have movement in their back legs.


Chaves, R. O., Beckmann, D. V., Santos, R. P. D., Aiello, G., Andrades, A. O., Baumhardt, R., … & Mazzanti, A. (2014). Doenças neurológicas em cães atendidos no Hospital Veterinário da Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, RS: 1.184 casos (2006-2013). Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira, 34(10), 996-1001.

Joaquim, J. G. F., Luna, S. P. L., Torelli, S. R., Angeli, A. L., & da Gama, E. D. (2008). Acupuntura como tratamento de doenças neurológicas em cães. Revista Acadêmica Ciência Animal, 6(3), 327-334.

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