The dog can’t stand up and is shaking

What to do when the dog can’t stand up and is shaking? Some illnesses and health conditions can result in symptoms such as tremors and difficulty getting up. In this post we are going to talk about some diseases that make dogs not stand up anymore and what should be done to prevent this from happening.

The dog can’t stand up and is shaking

Some illnesses can cause dogs to be unable to stand up and to have tremors. If this is observed, the animal must be taken to the veterinarian immediately to prevent the animal’s condition from getting worse, leading to death.

The tremors can indicate that the dog is cold, fearful, and stressed, as well as pain, intoxication, neurological problems and others. The dog not being able to get up can have several causes and is usually related to neurological and orthopedic injuries.

Some causes that can result in the loss of movement and tremors in dogs:

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

Neuromuscular diseases

Neurological changes can cause the animal to lose consciousness and become fearful and difficult to get up, convulsive and epileptic conditions should be further explored by a veterinary specialist in neurology. By treating the cause of such pathologies, the animal tends to live well.

Some other 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.

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.


Shock is a clinical state by which the tissues of the dog’s organism reduce the perfusion of oxygen resulting in cellular hypoxia. A dog in shock may show tremors, loss of consciousness and thus not being able to get up, usually these animals stop eating and have hypothermia and other symptoms. If the dog is not urgently attended by a veterinarian, the animal can go to death.


Some toxins can lead to damage to the nervous system so the dog tends to lose leg movements, in addition the animal may have tremors, salivation, vocalization and others. 

Intoxicated dogs should be taken to the veterinarian as an emergency, because if not treated quickly, there is a high chance that the animal will die and even have sequelae.


Dogs can suffer spinal trauma, especially in the cervical region, which can affect dogs’ locomotion. 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 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 give a better life for these dogs.

Drug effects

Some drugs used for anesthesia can lead to temporary paralysis of the 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 movement irreversibly.


Diseases such as tick disease, distemper, botulism, and meningitis can lead to neuronal changes that cause some animals to lose movement of the 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 fetal malformation, disco spondylitis, osteoporosis, arthritis and even bone tumors can cause animals to lose movement of the 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.


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

The most common symptoms to observe are apathy, loss of appetite, tremors, 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 legs again.

How to prevent dogs from losing movement in the legs?

Prevention can be related to changes in the environment, such as avoiding 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.

Prevent animals from having contact with toxic plants, toxins, and medicines. These can intoxicate the dogs, leading them to present neurological conditions. Care must be taken with industrial food that can mold over time, thus reserving many toxins that can intoxicate a dog when ingested by it.

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 with tremors and limited mobility may be having a neurological crisis and if not treated immediately, they may end up dying. Due to the various possibilities of diseases that leads to tremors and loss of dogs movimentation, a veterinarian must be consulted to diagnose the dog’s pathology and treat it properly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): ​​The dog can’t stand up and is shaking

How do I know if my dog has disco spondylitis?

The dog may have lameness, changes in the way it walks, 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 the disco spondylitis 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 from lying down for a long time?

Dogs can be placed on rubber floors or beds, to move the dog you can use carts or structures made to prevent the dog from crawling on the ground. The dog should not stay in the same position for a long time, being necessary to move from one side to the other. Care should also be taken with the place where the animal will stay, as the place has to be ventilated without direct sunlight.


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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