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Q&A: My Dog Fell and Can't Stand Up—What Can I Do?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

As with humans, an injured back can cause extreme pain in dogs. An emergency vet visit is required if you believe your dog has injured her back.

As with humans, an injured back can cause extreme pain in dogs. An emergency vet visit is required if you believe your dog has injured her back.

What Can I Do for My Dog That Fell Off the Bed and Hurt Her Back?

"My 11-year-old Boston Terrier with a Pug tail fell off the bed onto her back. She already had such a bad limp in her back legs that they were unusable, but I know she's old. But after she fell this morning, she couldn't even stand on her front legs anymore—both front legs are extended out in a locked position, and her head is in an upward position.

Unfortunately I am not working and can't take her in to the vet, so I have her lying on the bed and have been lying with her all day. I have been keeping her hydrated, as she is panting. I have included a picture from about a month ago—the most current one I have. Can you tell me what's happening?" —Todd

Pain Following Neurological Damage in Dogs

I cannot evaluate her neurological state based on a description but you are describing a dog that is in a lot of pain, likely from an injured back. Dogs will also assume that posture when they have trouble breathing from a heart condition.

Without seeing her and examining her, no one can tell for sure.

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Aspirin for Pain

If you cannot take her to a veterinarian to be examined and put on the appropriate pain medications, you can try giving her aspirin at home—but this is far from ideal. The aspirin dose is about 10 mg per pound (1), so if she weighs about 10 pounds, you can theoretically give her one 100mg aspirin tablet—the dosage people with heart disease take. If you only have the 325mg tablets at home, you would give a fourth of a tablet.

If you go this route, only give regular aspirin, and be sure to read the label to ensure that there are no other medications added. Do not give ibuprofen or any other type of pain relievers, as they are not the same.

Agonal Breathing

Dogs will pant if they are in pain, but it is also possible that this is agonal breathing. Agonal breathing is when a dog attempts to take his final breaths. If there is any way you can get her to a veterinarian, please do so.

Source

(1) Yeary RA, Brant RJ. Aspirin dosages for the dog. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1975 Jul 1;167(1):63-4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1150495/

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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