Is my dog paralyzed or just getting the kinks out?
June 11, 2009 1:52 PM   Subscribe

PetFilter: Can a dog's neck of paws "fall asleep" from lying around in a funny position? Or is it something more serious? More inside.

My dog has been seriously napping all day on her bed, next to the heater, in positions that I normally don't see her in. When I called her to come over, she kept her head lowered, and veered to the left. She wouldn't even raise her head for a treat, and will not look over her shoulder. She was fine this morning. Also, we went outside and she was running fine, but kept her head down.

Any previous experience with something like this? Did she just tweak her neck? She doesn't seem to be in pain, as she is not whimpering, but she looks funny. Kind of like a big lump. I know the Vet will tell me to just come in, but I wanted to know if perhaps I should just watch her for a while first, and if this just maybe a crick in the neck.

posted by anniek to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
What sort of dog is she? I believe some breeds (pug-faced ones, I believe) may be prone to having breathing/neck problems that cause them to hold their necks in a certain position to be able to breathe. Not to scare you, but I once knew someone with a French bulldog who woke up one day, could barely breathe except in a certain position, and had to be put to sleep. That's the danger that's faced when dogs have short snouts.
posted by choochoo at 2:03 PM on June 11, 2009

Response by poster: She's dalmatian/rhodesian ridgeback. Pretty long snout.
posted by anniek at 2:12 PM on June 11, 2009

I'm not a vet but, YES, doggy parts can fall asleep just like people parts. They can also get pinched nerves.
posted by katillathehun at 2:18 PM on June 11, 2009

dalmation/ridgeback is a crazy awesome combo.

I'd go to the doctor if my toddler started acting like that, so I'd go to the vet in your situation. Not to get you too worried, but it could totally be something like a stroke/aneurysm. Unlikely, but I'd get it checked out ASAP.
posted by paanta at 3:00 PM on June 11, 2009

Best answer: My lab has started keeping his head down like that after waking up on occasion, but he is at least 13 years old. I took him to the vet, who examined him and said it an age related muscle-skelton issue. He gave him some rimadyl to use if he is having a bad day.

But veering to the side, and not raising her head for a treat would worry me, especially if she's food driven.

My vet once told me that lethargy, and not wanting to do stuff that they usually enjoy such as eating, being petted, or going for a walk, are the indicators that the dog really needs a vet visit ASAP. He said that dogs are a lot more stoic than we are and he's seen dogs that are dying want to get up and go for a walk to be with their person. If they look like they're feeling bad, they're really feeling horrible.

Good luck, I hope your girl is better soon.
posted by txvtchick at 3:28 PM on June 11, 2009

Head down and to one side? That happened to my dog about a month ago - it turned out to be idiopathic vestibular disease, which is extremely common in older dogs like mine, but not uncommon in younger dogs as well. The "cure" in this case was to be extra-nice to her for a few days while her brain sorted it all out.

I would definitely get it checked out by a vet, but I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it.
posted by deadmessenger at 4:24 PM on June 11, 2009

Could be an ear infection, or she could have had a mild stroke. I would not put off going to the vet.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:40 PM on June 11, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks! I got worried and took her to the vet (she's almost 8, so starting her senior years) and it turns out that she has arthritis, albeit in only two spots.

Also, the vet informed me that dogs don't have strokes, that hey have "similar" ailments, but then listed things that didn't sound similar at all. That was certainly a relief.
posted by anniek at 6:45 PM on June 11, 2009

Great, glad she's okay. Thanks for posting a follow up.
posted by txvtchick at 7:41 AM on June 12, 2009

Glad it's something mild.

Also, the vet informed me that dogs don't have strokes, that hey have "similar" ailments, but then listed things that didn't sound similar at all.

What? Dogs have both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, and head tilt is one of the symptoms. I was just discussing this (peripherally) with a neurologist a few weeks ago, as my dog has suddenly begun having seizures.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:00 AM on June 12, 2009

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