The Case of the “Down In Back” German Shepherd dog (GSD)

This poor dog couldn’t stand up straight even if it wanted to. They crippled these dogs to create a ‘pouncing’ look. Oh well.

Question:  I have a 10 year old shepherd who is having major leg problems.  I don’t know what to do. My Lola needs help and I don’t have funds for surgery.

My husband took her a few years ago and they gave us chondroitin. It all started after she was temporarily paralyzed by Comfortis. She was one of the few % that has adverse reaction. (Doc: I looked for reports of a single case of Comfortis paralysis on the interwebs, could not find a single case, anywhere. The medicine’s molecule is not capable of an impact on the nervous system of a mammal so readers, please don’t worry.)  

Now her legs are weak. She has trouble walking/rising sometimes. They kind of drag sometimes.

Oh!! Is she like, mostly German Shepherd? If she’s a purebred: She’s got Lumbo Sacral Stenosis,
The breeders bred it into the GSD because they like the appearance of the GSD in a ‘about to lunge’ posture. At the same time they introduced genetics into GSD for a plantigrade stance, selecting for a ‘dropped hock’ so they’d hobble around on their heels. Again, so they always looked “tough” like they were about to “pounce”. Don’t think badly of these breeders because LOTS of breeds are selected for various versions and degrees of physical handicap and disfigurement. For example: English Bulldogs.

Anyway – About LS-Stenosis


Back end issues in most dogs are actually composed of five parts which eliminates ‘simple’ cure.

  1. Agility
  2. Nerve patency
  3. Strength
  4. Mechanical/structural
  5. Pain and Inflammation


Emory has a protocol useful in dogs which incorporates three medications we’ve used in dogs for ten years, except the “Emory-way” improved performance of these drugs by bringing them together.

Cbd will help


DHEA can build strength in the hind legs

Steroids are a more-effective-but-last-resort anti-inflammatory.

Surgery as an option would be preceded by MRI or CT Scan, and/or a myelogram to confirm. And, YIPES the bill!!!

The only other ‘probable’ diagnosis would be:

Which is NON surgical. And in that case, all of the above nonsurgical modalities may still effect an improvement.




Dr Erik Johnson is a Marietta, Georgia Veterinarian with a practice in small animal medicine. He graduated from University of Georgia with his Doctorate in 1991. Dr Johnson is the author of several texts on Koi and Pond Fish Health and Disease as well as numerous articles on dog and cat health topics.