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Dog Rear Leg Weakness

Dog Rear Leg Weakness

You might have noticed rear leg weakness in your dog, and it can be worrying. The most common rear leg weakness conditions are cruciate knee ligament, hip dysplasia, Achilles tendon or more serious neurological conditions such as Degenerative Myelopathy. Once you have a diagnosis, get in touch and we can help get the right support for your dog.

Read below for rear leg weakness conditions to help your dog.

Rear Leg Weakness: Signs and Symptoms

You might start to notice your dog has rear leg weakness with a few of the following signs. The most common signs are:

  • A limp
  • Weaving or unsteady when they walk
  • Bunny hopping
  • Holding their leg up
  • Finding it hard to get out of their bed or up from lying down
  • Need back end support
Roxy, with hip dysplasia

Roxy, with hip dysplasia

Roxy has hip dysplasia, this means she's unsteady on her feet and often weaves when walking. With hip dysplasia the hips need to be held together and supported with a brace, so the leg and hip joint are held firmly. Dogs with hip dysplasia often have difficulty getting out of their bed or up from lying down.

Dog Hip Dysplasia Braces
Ben, with a cruciate ligament knee rupture

Ben, with a cruciate ligament knee rupture

Ben has a torn cruciate ligament in his knee, this means he walks with a limp often bunny hopping. Ben is too old for surgery, the recovery is likely to be 1.5 years, therefore the best alternative is to use a cruciate ligament knee brace that will support your dogs ligament, meaning Ben can take more weight on his leg.

Cruciate Ligament Dog Braces
Xena, with an Achilles tendon injury

Xena, with an Achilles tendon injury

A dogs Achilles tendon injury shows with a limp or lameness in the back leg, it can be caused by an accident or a hereditary condition usually found in particular dog breeds - typically Labrador Retrievers and Doberman Pinschers. In extreme cases, support the leg by taking the weight entirely off with a wheelchair.

Achilles Tendon Braces
Toby, with Degenerative Myelopathy

Toby, with Degenerative Myelopathy

Toby is a Cavalier King Charles with Degenerative Myelopathy. He shows signs of rear paw knuckling and unsteady walking, often weaving. Wheelchairs take the weight off your dogs back legs, allowing them to stay active and go on longer walks. A wheelchair is an excellent way to keep your dog joyful and healthy.

Dog Wheelchairs
Roxanne, with rear leg paw knuckling

Roxanne, with rear leg paw knuckling

"She has a lot of energy and enjoys her walks, but her back feet tend to bleed. She’s still able to run." Paw knuckling is when the toes curl over or your dog walks on the side of their paw, often looking unsteady on their back legs. Roxanne wears PawsUp, making her paw walk flat on the floor again. They are best for dogs with a limp, unsteady gait, wobble walk or light paw knuckling.

Best Knuckling Boots & braces

Conditions which cause Rear Leg Weakness

  • Cruciate Ligament in the knee
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Degenerative Myelopathy or other degenerative conditions
  • Achilles Tendon
  • Hock injuries
  • Pulled or torn muscles in the paw, wrist, hock or knee region
  • Weak back, especially towards the end of the spine near the tail

How to help at home

If your dog is unsteady on their rear legs due to rear leg weakness of any kind, make sure they have as much traction and grip on their back paws on slippery floors. Grip on their back paws will make them feel more confident when walking and also ensure they do not injury themselves further due to slipping on floors.

Look at socks with rubber soles or rubber boots for maximum

What age does a dog get rear leg weakness

Depending on your dogs rear leg weakness condition.

Treatment for Rear Leg Weakness

Depending on the rear leg weakness condition, here are a few of the most common conditions and treatment.

Hip Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia brace
  • Anti-slip dog socks or rubber dog boots
Cruciate Ligament
  • Cruciate ligament brace (single or double)
  • Anti-slip dog socks or rubber dog boots
Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Severe Myelopathy - use a dog wheelchair
  • Anti-slip dog socks or rubber dog boots
Achilles Tendon
  • Hock brace
  • Anti-slip dog socks or rubber dog boots
Hock Injuries
  • Mild to moderate hock injuries, use a support or hock wrap
  • Moderate to severe hock injuries - use a hock splint
  • Anti-slip dog socks or rubber dog boots

Zoomadog Questions on Dog Rear Leg Weakness

“My Shih Tzu is having trouble with his back legs. What harness would you recommend?”

We suggest looking at the Walkabout Rear End Harness for dogs. This is a very good value, good quality rear harness that you may want to consider. You will need to measure your shih-tzu to find the best size. Measure once around your dogs high.

“Hi. Just wondered which product you’d recommend for my 12 year old dog who is suffering from rear paw knuckling. She’s very unstable at times due to the knuckling and is very tired after walking very short distances. We were looking at the Maximus PawsUp Superflex or the Walkin’ bootie dog splint. Thanks”

We would advise against the Bootie Splint if you want a pair (both back paws) as they can be heavy and not that comfortable when walking. Maximus PawsUp are good but it might be best if you send in a video of your dog knuckling, we work very closely with Maximus Skates and can send them the video over and they can check they would work well for your dog. Our email is:

“Would this be suitable for a fully ruptured Achilles Tendon? Our dog is 13 yrs, too old for an operation and back hock is flat on the ground when walking? Otherwise he hopes putting strain on his other hind leg.”

Please first speak to your vet about the splint and get their recommendations on it. If surgery isn't an available option, it would seem that a splint or support is the alternative but we want to know what your vets think too before committing to a suggestion. I hope that this is understandable. Do let me know if you want to discuss further as we are here to help.

“Hi – my dog can’t get up from their bed and are losing mobility quickly. Would a hip brace help him get back to action again?”

If your dog is losing mobility, is it worth considering a dog wheelchair. You haven't given much information about the loss of mobility but if your dog has two good front legs, the rear wheelchairs are amazing at restoring a dog's mobility. If there are front leg issues too, then a quad can be a great solution. You can read more here and see videos. Let me know if you'd like any more information on these.

“Need a rear leg help for my Maltese Terrier whose hind legs are paralysed. Can you please advise?”

If your dog is paralysed, please look at the rear dog wheelchairs.

“Hi - my lurcher is having cruciate ligament surgery on Monday and I would like to get him a support to help with recovery. What would you recommend?“

These are the variety of knee braces that we have. The highest level of support is the Balto Ligatek - if you were considering that probably helpful to get your vet's opinion on it for post-surgery - it works for some dogs and not for others depending on the individual situation. The Balto Jump is very popular. It sounds like the Balto Jump is a good measure as it is excellent for post surgery support but not rigid like the Ligatek. It sounds like your vet is up-to-date on the support needed and in some respects is waiting to see what happens post-operatively so would likely recommend Ligatek if appropriate.

“Hi. My dog is really struggling with arthritis and knuckling on the back paws. I’m looking for something which will hold the paw flat to prevent the knuckling. What do you recommend? Do the knuckling protection boots just provide protection or do those also help with the knuckling by helping prevent it happening? Thanks”

They're just protection. Yes, there are two approaches which are just to protect the paws or to correct. Walkin' Bootie splint is corrective, as are the PawsUp Superflex. It's a slightly longer process to get the PawsUp but they get very good feedback. The breathable WagWear are also recommended. They have the flat surface for the paw but mainly work protectively.

“Our Collie is waiting for an operation on her rear left leg to have an arthrodesis on her hock joint. Her tendon is shot so we needed something to keep her leg straight until she is operated on.”

We have a rear leg splint which is completely rigid, this will keep your dogs leg straight and immobilised. We also have an adjustable leg splint, again rigid but the angle can be changed to fit your dog.

“My 12 year old lab has severe rear leg arthritis. He has a huge swelling round his right hock and is now nearly walking on his his lower leg to bottom hock. Would this splint be suitable for him?”

Thank you for your message about your Labrador with rear leg arthritis. The Walkin' Full Adjustable Dog Splint is a rigid splint but has the benefit of being adjustable in terms of width and angle. It provides complete support to the lower leg, allowing support to arthritic joints. It is lightweight and has a rubber non-slip base. We would recommend that you build up the amount of time that it is worn over a couple of days to allow your dog to get used to it and to avoid rubbing. It should be removed at night or when your dog is resting. If you would like to provide the width of your dog's paw and also the width of his hock where he has the swelling, I can check if the splint would be able to fit his leg.

Rear Leg Weakness in Your Dog

  • Walkin Wheels Dog Wheelchair
    Original price £199.00 - Original price £570.00
    Original price
    £199.00 - £570.00
    £199.00 - £570.00
    Current price £199.00

    🟢 In stock, FAST delivery 2 working days Give us a call 01730 622544 Help your dog move again! The Walkin Wheels Dog Wheelchair is excellent if you...

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  • Orthodog Dog Hip Brace
    Original price £195.00 - Original price £195.00
    Original price
    £195.00 - £195.00
    Current price £195.00

    🟢 In stock, ready to ship Our Orthodog Hip Brace is excellent for dogs suffering from hip dysplasia, arthritis, hip pain and weakness. Pull the hip...

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  • Walkabout Rear Lift Walking Dog Harness
    Original price £49.99 - Original price £69.99
    Original price
    £49.99 - £69.99
    £49.99 - £69.99
    Current price £49.99

    🟢 In stock, ready to ship The Walkabout Rear Lift Walking Dog Harness is our most popular rear end harness helping dogs with arthritis, back and re...

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  • Balto® Jump - Cruciate Ligament Knee Dog Brace
    Original price £96.00 - Original price £125.00
    Original price
    £96.00 - £125.00
    £96.00 - £125.00
    Current price £96.00

    🟢 In stock, ready to ship Don't let a ligament injury slow your dog down! The Balto Jump Cruciate Ligament Knee Dog Brace gives your dog the extra ...

    View full details

Looking for help with your dog and rear leg weakness?

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